Ttile: DAMAGES INCURRED
Author: J.R. Gray
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Release Date: 7th July 2015
This is the fourth installment in the ‘Bound’ series, which I would classify as a contemporary M/M erotic romance, containing skilfully and tastefully written BDSM.
This was a long-awaited book for me, as I am a huge admirer of the entire series.
Thankfully, it proved to be more than worth the wait.
In my mind, the fourth book in this series stands out a little from the others.
Firstly, it is slightly darker and goes in a little deeper; a mini-study in the psychology of guilt, failure and internal confusion. In addition, it contains a faster-paced action. The plot is engaging and the events flow smoothly. There is also more head hopping this time and I really enjoyed this rich multiple POV perspective, provided in the third person narrative.
There is also a bit less sex than I expected. It is not exactly a criticism and fair enough, the characters are kept pretty busy trying to find and save Elliot and dealing with their own rapidly accumulating problems. Although I must confess I am a little resentful J.R. Gray did not allow a Zac and Jared encounter, when the air is clearly sizzling around them – a wonderful combination of animosity laced with enormous sexual tension.
The best shiver-inducing sex scene in the book undoubtedly happens between Rafael and Daniel during their stalking role-play in the club. I loved the whole concept, damn sexy!
I was positively intrigued by Eric, a newly introduced character, who could potentially shake things up a little and constitute a serious threat to Jessie and George’s relationship in the future.
I loved and simultaneously hated the ending; cliffhanging, on-the-edge-of-your-seat kind of finale. I am quite sure the Author had tons of wicked fun writing it, being a self-confessed sadist. However, I must grudgingly admit – it does make for a great setup for the next story.
There are three major factors I find particularly appealing about Gray’s writing in general.
The first one is the ability to develop multi-dimensional and compelling characters. Gray seems to be drawn, like myself, to what is broken, deeply flawed or permanently bruised; we share a fascination for the themes of mental trauma, psychological scarring and guilt. This results in Grey creating a set of tantalisingly complex characters with darker personality traits, struggling with unresolved past emotional issues influencing their present. There is plenty of heart-wringing angst, shadowiness and imperfection featuring in Gray’s books and that is precisely the way I like it. No trace of overbearingly mushy naivety, characteristic of so many romances.
The second aspect is the ability to write BDSM erotica in an aesthetic and refined manner but also, and more importantly, in a way that is authentic and believable for the reader. I could not possibly count all the books I have read, written by authors with obvious no real life BDSM experience, that made me squirm, wince or even burst out laughing at the awkwardness and phoniness when I was supposed to feel highly aroused and erotically inflamed. Many books sound downright ridiculous when meant to be sensual and titillating, due to the lack of factual accuracy or true understanding of the subject. That is NEVER the case with Gray. It all rings true and my God, it is bloody hot!
The third thing I find appealing is Gray’s style of writing. Natural, concise and precise, void of unnecessary words with a hint of humour.
In essence, J.R. Gray delivered yet again for me. I give this book a 4.5 rating. Legally Bound, the first book in the series, remains thus far my favourite with Damages Incurred not far behind. It is an excellent, witty, gripping and moreish read. I will be impatiently anticipating the next installment in the ‘Bound’ series (and hopping next time Zac will get to have plenty of sex….)