Bound by Honor

Bound by Honor - S.E. Jakes One of my top favorite genres is military romantic suspense, especially when it involves characters who are part of elite ops. While Bound by Honor doesn’t depict scenes involving elite ops military missions per se, the story revolves around two men whose personas have been shaped by serving the Army special forces. I thought SE Jakes characterized previous Delta Operative Damon and current Army Ranger Tanner extremely well.

As the synopsis indicates, the catalyst that brings these two men together is a promise concerning Damon that Tanner made to his friend and teammate, Jesse at the time of his death in the field during a military mission. Damon and Tanner shoulder tremendous guilt concerning Jesse’s death for different reasons, and are grieving his loss. In addition, neither of them have been able to find love and happiness because they have been unable to deal with personal issues that were festering long before Jesse was killed.

Damon and his best friend LC (who is like a brother) own and operate a BDSM club for gay men. They pride themselves on offering a safe haven for their patrons. Damon is known as a very strong dominate and is respected within the community. However, since losing Jesse a year earlier he has barely functioned and has leaned on LC for support and guidance. Then Tanner walks into the club and turns Damon’s world on end.

I have to admit, I had trouble liking Damon at first, his treatment of Tanner was cruel and I did struggle through a couple of the early scenes in the book. However, as the plot progressed and more of Damon’s history and personality is revealed he does redeem himself and proves to be a good guy who is very complex and lugging around considerable personal baggage which he has been unable to deal with for a variety of reasons.

Tanner is a tough military man destined for the elite Delta Force, while readers don’t see him in action there was enough background information provided to reveal when called to duty his is focused and mission ready. He thrives on the grueling physical challenges required to attain his goal of making a Delta Force team. Tanner believes himself as a strong dominant in regard to his sexual relationships with other men.

As a reader, I saw both these men as strong alpha males and they both have to work to break through emotional barriers as their relationship progresses and solidifies. This is SE Jakes debut novel and I found the way Damon and Tanner slowly work through their issues, each recognizing the other’s needs, then helping each other extremely touching. There are numerous graphic m/m erotic scenes including bondage and submission in this story, but for Damon and Tanner their sexual encounters assisted their communication and understanding of one another which leads to trust.

There is a subplot in this story concerning LC, who I also really liked. LC meets Paulo an undercover detective who is an extremely appealing character. They have a relationship of sorts and I’m hoping readers will see more of Paulo in the next book in SE Jakes’ series Bound by Law.

Bound by Honor was at times an emotional read for me, I found the two men involved in the relationship to be so complicated and conflicted and it was satisfying to see Tanner and Damon attain relationship fulfillment and love after travelling such a bumpy road. I will say, the ending of the story wasn’t entirely conventional, but IMHO it was fitting considering the characters involved in the relationship. I enjoyed Bound by Honor very much and will look forward to reading more of SE Jakes work.