Review: Bound by Brenda Rothert

by Brenda Rothert

4.5 stars

This was an emotional read. It started out very emotional, but thankfully it ended happily for the main characters.

Bound is a story about Kate, an emotionally scarred young woman who suffered a miscarriage, and Ryke, the professional hockey player whose wife died in a car accident.

There's so much that goes on with Kate and Ryke's stories though than meets the eye.

Kate was so prepared to be a single mother when her then-boyfriend bailed on her and the baby. After initially wishing she weren't pregnant, she soon embraced the idea of becoming a mother and was excited to finally have her baby in her arms. Unfortunately, her baby died in her womb. Fortunately for her she had a very supportive mother, but still she held her grief deep in her heart.
The moment I pulled the covers up to my neck was the only honest moment in my day anymore. It was when I could let go of the fake smile, stop pretending I was excited about graduation and just let the sadness exist without worrying about anyone seeing it.

Ryke was sincerely in love with his beautiful wife. However, their marriage had become rocky because she became incredibly suspicious of his activities while traveling during the game season. He couldn't go to a bar with his happily married teammates without them having an argument about it afterwards. She also tended to be aloof to his teammates and co-workers, even towards Ryke's mother and brother. In spite of all that, Ryke grieved her death... although he later admitted that a large part of his depression was due to guilt about their marriage and his feelings towards it at the end.
Grief was a hell of a thing. Sometimes you climbed the walls and others you couldn't get out of bed. Just when you thought you might be pulling through, something would punch you in the gut and you'd be flat on your back again. I'd gone through it with Maggie.
It wasn't because I was lost without her; I just felt an overwhelming guilt that our short, rocky marriage was the only one she'd ever have.

The two of them met in a group counseling session for people who are battling depression due to the death of a loved one. On first sight, Ryke was immediately taken by Kate. Kate on the other hand had frozen against intimacy and relationships. She was afraid, above all others, to be pregnant again.
Fully-clothed hand-holding in a parking garage was the equivalent of dirty sex for me now.
I was the definition of undersexed, like a starving dieter staring at a box of doughnuts.

Ryke was doing better with regards to moving on, and eventually it is him who begins to help Kate move on from her fears as well. Not that he knew how. He just knows he wants Kate to be able to open up her heart again, more specifically for him.
She was like me: too wounded to be blindly optimistic anymore. But I'd seen a spark in her a couple of times and I wanted to see it again.

The story starts to get exciting and sweet when Ryke offers Kate a job to be his PA. Not liking being a burden to her mother, Kate accepted the job offer, the generous pay... and eventually, the invitation to live in Ryke's house.

You can just imagine how their "working" arrangement is working out for them both! Two people who are highly attracted to each other, trying to maintain professionalism in between kisses and baring each other's souls. Yeah, yeah, it is unprofessoional... but it set them up perfectly towards building a romantic relationship. They already understood each other because of their experiences with grief; and the more they learned more about each other, the more they saw what they liked; and the quicker they started to fall in love.
"Death is our fucked-up camaraderie," I said quietly.
Ryke surprised me with a wide smile. "We've got more in common than that, Kate. And I think that's the first time I've heard you say fuck." 
"Don't be. I liked it." 

What I really liked about this story is that this isn't another case of hero running away from heroine because he was afraid of commitment. No, it was actually the other way around! Ryke was the one who was upfront about falling in love with Kate. It was so refreshing to read, and I really loved it!

I was annoyed by Kate more than once. I get her fears and her reasons, but my goodness... when someone like Ryke gives up weekend nights to play scrabble with your family, go camping with your friends, offer you lodgings, and expressly say he is attracted to you... what else are you looking for girl??? He is generous, kind, and obviously cares about Kate. I wanted to pinch our girl so hard for giving Ryke a hard time!
"I can't keep my eyes off you, Kate," he said softly. "I make you coffee every morning because the best part of my day is those few minutes with you. I'm not fucking good at this stuff, but I'm trying."

See? See that, see that? *swoon*

Oh Ryke, Ryke, Ryyyyyyke... how I wish there are more guys like you around! This guy is vulnerable and unsure of himself sometimes. I just wanted to hug him and say, "you're on the right track hun! it's the girl who's got a coconut for a head!"


My only complaint was the ending. Not that it was written badly, but it did come so abruptly. I don't know if others felt that way too, but it seemed to me like I missed one or two chapters. There was a wham-bam-scare near the end that quickly solved Kate and Ryke's relationship problems. I'm not opposed to that event happening at all, I just wish it didn't appear that abruptly.

All in all, I really like Bound. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes NA. Oh, and smart heroes who don't pussyfoot it when faced with the prospect of falling in love! You'll like Ryke, I'm sure of it!

Thank you to Brenda Rothert for giving me a copy for my honest review!



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