Review: His Contract by Rebecca Grace Allen (Legally Bound #1)
Note: This ARC was provided by RockStar Lit PR in exchange for an honest review.
She took what he gave, urging him closer to climax. When he came, his order for her to give him what was his sent her over the edge as well. As she shivered through her release, she tried to tell him I'm yours, but she couldn't. She was his in so many ways now, not just as his little girl, but as Lilly too, and she couldn't tell one from the other anymore.
Before Jack Archer lost his wife to cancer, she made him promise that he would fall in love again--a promise that he knew was a near impossibility. With only his job as a Harvard law professor to keep him busy while his son is away in graduate school, Jack goes through a daily cycle that has his best friend and younger brother worried. When he finally gives in and goes with them to a local bar, his gaze is caught by a young woman who bears a striking resemblance to his late wife. He tries to stop thinking about her, but it isn't just her beauty that gets to him--it's the bleakness he can't help notice that lingers in her woeful eyes.
Law school graduate and paralegal Lilly Sterling moved to Boston to be closer to her older brother and to start her life anew after a devastating break-up that leaves her a shell of her former self. When she meets an older law professor and learns that he's a Dominant, she's both excited and scared. She promised herself she would never go back to being a submissive after the way her ex treated her, but Jack Archer is different, and when he presents her with a contract that could open her to what the BDSM lifestyle truly has to offer, she doesn't immediately realize that she's not just signing over her body but her heart as well.
Books that feature couples who engage in the BDSM lifestyle have become commonplace over the past few years, and while many may credit a particular trilogy for the increased popularity of erotic romance in mainstream publishing, I must say that, in my humble opinion, it's difficult to find a book that has an actual story that isn't limited to just the sex, has a cast of characters that do more than have sex, and is presented with exceptionally good writing. Lo and behold, I do believe I've found what I was looking for with author Rebecca Grace Allen's first novel in her already addictive Legally Bound series, His Contract.
Here we have two broken people--a forty-four-year-old Harvard law professor, widower, father to a twenty-two-year-old grad student, and Dominant, Jack Archer, and a twenty-eight-year-old law school graduate who has yet to take the bar and current paralegal nursing a broken heart and a far more broken spirit, Lilly Sterling. Jack is still mourning the loss of his wife, and the only woman he ever practiced BDSM with, but his attention is snagged by Lilly the second he sees her outside a bar. There's an instant connection between them, but neither feels absolutely read to do anything about their mutual attraction.
One of the things I liked best about this love story was that the main characters took a completely different route in dealing with their attraction and their respective needs for BDSM partners. Neither of them were looking into finding replacements for the people they were involved with, and so when they do come across each other, the emotions that are evoked spark a chain reaction that neither of them could have really avoided, even if they strove to keep denying themselves what, and who, they wanted. There's a journey they take where trust and respect are earned. Along the way, they develop feelings for each other.
The bonus to the romance is the case that Lilly is researching for her law firm. It's really quite intriguing and you know that the one clue that's mentioned when she first tries to tackle the date involved in the case is the one that will crack the whole thing wide open. While being with Jack provides Lilly the opportunity to regain the confidence she once lost, it is her work on the case and the belief of Jack and those closest to her that bolsters her own belief that she is good at what she does. Lilly becoming a stronger and more put-together woman inside and outside of the playroom highlights that this was more than a story about sex.
I've read Rebecca Grace Allen's two previous novels and a short story that was part of a recent anthology, and each new work I come across makes me even more of a believer of her writing talent. But, without a shadow of a doubt, this latest series starter of hers is her best work to date. She's come up with a story that breaks your heart a couple of times but mends it each time and she's given us characters that you become emotionally invested in, wishing you could hold their hands each time they stumble. I'm unequivocally giving Legally Bound's His Contract five-plus stars because this is how erotic romance should be written. ♥
Release Date: 10 November 2015
Date Read: 10 November 2015
Learn more about Rebecca Grace Allen.