Sweetly erotic romance with an engaging storyline
I was surprised to enjoy LUSTBOUND by Natasha Storm as much as I did, especially with a young, naïve female lead (yeah, yeah, sue me). Based on the blurb (specifically that “men are kept as Pets”), I originally expected a fantasy (futuristic?) story with BDSM elements. Instead, I got a rather sweetly erotic tale about two characters who yearn for more than what is permitted in their society.
Well-written with an engaging storyline and an interesting cast of characters (both primary and secondary), LUSTBOUND takes the reader into Eve’s Grotto, a matriarchal city ruled in part by magick. A NTM author, Ms. Storm does a good job of character development and incorporating intriguing aspects of magickal use.
For me, LUSTBOUND was “steamy/smexy”, but most readers would probably (and correctly) deem it to be an “erotic romance”. However, the sex scenes aren’t overly explicit or crude, and are comparable to some mainstream books such as those put out by Berkley HEAT or Harlequin SPICE. So this novella should appeal to a wide audience of romance lovers.
FWIW, I didn’t give LUSTBOUND the full 5 stars for two personal reasons. Firstly, not a huge fan of insta-love/bonding outside of PNR, I struggled a bit with the immediate emotional connection between Christine and Valentin. Secondly, I felt that the world-building was somewhat lacking and muddled. There was no explanation as to why/how the different colonies evolved into gender-ruled societies, as well as why only the women in Eve’s Grotto wielded magick. Why the raid on the Compound? Also, I initially thought “fantasy/alternate reality” but reference to the waltz made me wonder if the correct genre was futuristic/dystopian. I can only hope that more is explained in subsequent installments.
Yet, despite all this, I became invested in the story enough to continue on to the next book. So that certainly says much about Ms. Storm’s storytelling, yes? I highly recommend LUSTBOUND for those who enjoy a tale of seemingly star-crossed lovers in an alternate reality setting, with the added bonus of magick. Just be prepared to have Book #2 handy!
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COMMENTS: LUSTBOUND is the first installment of the “Eve’s Grotto” serial (not series). The reader is introduced to the world of Eve’s Grotto and the various characters but just when the story (and romance) really gets going, the book ends. And the ending is not so much a cliffhanger in the traditional sense as it is simply a well-timed end of “Part 1”.
I point this out because those who know me are fully aware that I generally avoid serials for this very reason. Plus, I don’t have the patience or memory space to wait for the next installment. However, I knew that the next book, SINBOUND, was already out and that the third book would follow shortly (*crosses fingers*).* My thanks to the author for providing a copy for an objective review.