Soul Bonds by Lynn Lorenz – review

Rating: 5/10 ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ Title: Soul Bonds
Author: Lynn Lorenz
Genre: Paranormal/contemporary fantasy
URL:Loose ID
Price:US $5.99
Other Information/warnings: violence, graphic m/m, bad language
Summary [from the publisher]:
Mitchell Collins is the king of denial. Five years after the death of his lover, Steve, he finds himself in a gay bar, wondering why he’s even there. He has a rule he won’t break: Don’t take anyone home.,
Sammi’s trying to survive on the streets of Houston. It’s not easy for someone with no money, no identity, and no friends.
When Mitch meets Sammi, all thoughts of “safe” go flying out the window. He takes him home for the best sex of his life, not knowing that Sammi’s a sex slave on the run from a man who’ll do anything to get him back.
But Sammi and Mitch are soul bonds, And nothing, not even Donovan himself, is going to keep them apart.

My review:People either like stories about soul mates or they don’t. I don’t mind them but I want them set up properly. Here, there’s zero set up. We’re told Mitchell and Sammi are soul mates, we see the effect of it (permanent horniness, telepathic and empathic linking) but there is absolutely no explanation as to why they are and what this bond is about. They meet, fuck, fall in love virtually instantly. No conflict whatsoever in that. The tension is from the nasty people throwing stingers in the path of true love, however implausible that love may be.

So, strike one as far as I’m concerned, but it won’t bother the kind of people this book appeals to because of the 160 odd pages, about 130 are either sex, thinking about sex or talking about sex. The plot is pretty thin and nothing you won’t have seen before – sex slave escapes, sex slaves finds true love, true love saves sex slave from the clutches of the evil slaver. It’s formulaic, and again, you either like that kind of thing or you don’t. I do, but I want more plot. I was surprised that the obligatory inappropriate public sex scene had the consequences that it did, and the whole ‘Mitchell faces the wrath of the slaver’ side of the story was the best fleshed out of the plot threads. But the Mitchell and Sammi love story is just a vehicle for sex.

The main characters are okay, but not memorable. Sammi is a paint by numbers feckless, impulsive youth, and Mitchell’s sad back story is dismissed in half a page because once he fucks Sammi, the dead lover is only mentioned in passing. Minor characters such as the thug Moretti and Otis, the short order cook, fare much better and bring some much needed colour to the story. The best friend, Brian, who’s the most interesting and decent character in the book, offers some tantalising hints of what could have been a real relationship conflict but it goes nowhere, sadly. He’s front and centre in Mitchell trying to recover his smashed up life, and that part of the story felt vivid and realistic. I couldn’t help thinking he would make a much better partner for Mitchell than Sammi, and wondered if that was exactly what the author wanted us to think. I’d definitely read more about Brian, even if he’s the world’s silliest PI (taking an unauthorised gun to a police shakedown didn’t strike me as smart.)

If the plot had maintained the suspense the author creates with Mitchell’s descent into chaos, it would have been a much better book, I think. The pacing is all over the place. Too many of the scenes are padding, and bring the story to a screaming halt – I mean, do we need a blow by blow of Sammi’s visit to a STD clinic when there’s no further significance to the questioning? And a pube shaving scene might appeal to those with that kink, but it feels bolted on.

So, you don’t want to read this for the plot or the love story, but the sex. It’s decently written, though I’ve decided that I really don’t like Loose ID’s editing because it allows way too much padding in the writing. If you want a story to stir your loins, this could be it.

This wasn’t my cup of tea, but I didn’t hate it, and since it’s unabashed erotica, I would say that it’s not a bad example of the genre. 5/10 for me personally, almost certainly higher if you like lots of sex in your love stories.