"Brilliant writing, superb characters and a riveting story!"
Reviewed by Monique Daoust
Posted September 27, 2014
Erotic | Romance Erotica Sensual
Liv Delcour is hosting a party for the youth centre where
she works, several friends are present, including her
sister V and Noah Bakker, an investor in the Den, the
club which V co-owns. V asks Noah to drive Liv home; she
doesn't want Liv to take the bus; the others all climb
aboard an SUV. While on their way, a truck rams the SUV;
it's a horrendous accident, everyone is hurt and some
might not make it.
The driver of the truck died and then his identity is
revealed: Remington Harcourt who, the previous year while
still a councilman, had launched a vendetta against the
sex industry, including the Den. The Den is an exclusive
BDSM club; Noah and V think the accident was more another
Noah and Liv had flirted during the evening, but Noah
still has not recovered from the suicide of his
girlfriend and submissive 4 years ago and he is not
looking for any kind of relationship. As for Liv, she
considers herself out of his league, he's a lawyer and
she's poor; furthermore she has no idea what kind of club
the Den is.
SHATTERED BONDS is book seven of the Wicked Play
and Ms. Aicher is such a fantastic writer that, even
though I had not read the first six books, after the first
chapter I was completely absorbed by the gripping story,
the wonderful characters and their lives. It was not at
all what I expected: SHATTERED BONDS is a book about
tolerance, acceptance of self and others, healing,
friendship, and love; it's about sex inasmuch as
sexuality is a part of being human. It's a wondrous
journey accompanying Liv and Noah, as well as their
friends, as they all re-evaluate their priorities.
SHATTERED BONDS is definitely one of the best books I
have read this year: a supremely interesting story,
tremendously well written, fascinating characters, and
the sex scenes are sensual, authentic, and moving; words
fail me. I very highly recommend it, whether to readers
of Erotica or not; it's an exceptional book! I have only
one regret: it's not having read the six previous
Will the doors of The Den close forever?
When the lives and friendships of The Den owners are
into chaos, Noah Bakker steps in to deal with the fallout.
He hasn't had a sub or participated in a Scene since
changed his life four years ago. But as an investor in the
exclusive BDSM club, he can't walk away from the lifestyle
completely. As he works to keep the club running, he finds
himself drawn to Liv Delcour, the seemingly naive sister
one of the other owners.
Liv didn't know about the naughty things her friends were
to behind closed doors, but when their secrets become
headline news, she's more curious than shocked. As she
with Noah to keep the media at bay, she finds that his
dominant strength is more than a little arousing. Soon
they're exploring their mutual desires in the most wicked
Liv isn't sure if she can completely submit to Noah the
she thinks he wants her toâ€”and Noah isn't sure he can
withstand the pain of falling in loveâ€¦
New to the Den? Start at the beginning with Bonds of
â€śGoodbye.â€ť Vivian Delcour leaned in and hugged her older
sister. â€śThanks again for everything, V.â€ť
Vanessa eased back, her long black hair shining beneath the
overhead lights. â€śStop thanking me already. You know Iâ€™d do
anything for you, Liv.â€ť
Liv. The nickname that came from being Vâ€™s little sister.
Little V had morphed into Liv before she was six and had
stuck with her ever since. Not that she minded. Liv fit her
better than Vivian, and being Vanessaâ€™s little sister
didnâ€™t bother her. â€śDitto.â€ť
She glanced around the private room off the main area of
the restaurant at the twelve people sheâ€™d recently had the
pleasure of meeting but felt like sheâ€™d known for years.
They were friends of her sisterâ€™s whoâ€™d jumped in to assist
with the end-of-summer carnival that had benefited the
youth center Liv managed. That was two months ago, and she
was still amazed at how much theyâ€™d done simply because her
sister had asked.
This evening out, attending the Glaciersâ€™s game and this
after-party, was her way of thanking them. â€śI donâ€™t know
why youâ€™ve never introduced me to these friends before.â€ť
Her sister shrugged and glanced away, her gaze landing on
her boyfriend, Holden Hauke, a professional hockey player
for the Minnesota Glaciers and another relationship her
sister had kept from her until recently. â€śI guess thereâ€™s
never been a reason to.â€ť
â€śWell, theyâ€™re all great.â€ť She leaned in, letting her hurt
go. Secrets werenâ€™t new with Vanessa, and she was honestly
happy that her sister had finally let some people into her
life. â€śI canâ€™t believe you never told me you knew Cici
Norton,â€ť she whispered, subtly eyeing the beautiful, petite
blonde with only a touch of awe. â€śSports and TV stars? Who
else do you know?â€ť
Vanessa leveled a pointed look at Liv. â€śQuinn and Marcus
are keeping a low profile.â€ť
â€śI get that,â€ť Liv reassured her. â€śI wonâ€™t say anything.â€ť
â€śI know. But it wasnâ€™t my secret to give away.â€ť
She understood that and didnâ€™t hold it against her sister
â€śYou sure you got a ride home?â€ť Vanessa reached out to take
Holdenâ€™s hand as he walked up to them. The stocky right
winger had become like a brother to Liv when heâ€™d spent so
much time volunteering at the youth center over the summer.
â€śYeah.â€ť She scanned the room, found Noah Bakker on the
other side and nodded toward the tall, stoic man with dark
hair that curled slightly around his shirt collar. â€śNoahâ€™s
been my gracious chauffeur tonight. He said heâ€™d take me
â€śLet us know when youâ€™re ready to look for a new car,â€ť
Her old beater, Bessie, had died for good last week. V had
been nagging her for years to let her buy Liv a new car,
but there was some pride involved in rejecting the handout.
Sheâ€™d make do with the bus until she could find a decent
replacement that fit her budget.
â€śTake care,â€ť she told Holden as she pulled him in for a
hug. Sometimes it was easier to ignore a topic than respond
to it. â€śAnd thanks for everything. The kids love following
â€śIâ€™ll stop in soon.â€ť
The youth center kids were all rabid Glaciersâ€™s fans after
meeting most of the team at the carnival. She had her
fingers crossed that the Glaciersâ€™s organization came
through on their promise to donate tickets so the kids
could come to a game this season.
â€śYou guys taking off?â€ť Marcus asked Holden and Vanessa as
he walked up, Quinn at his side.
â€śYeah. Iâ€™ve got another game tomorrow,â€ť Holden answered.
â€śWeâ€™ll walk out with you.â€ť He glanced down at Quinn and
winked. Marcus towered over his girlfriend, a contrast as
striking as his inky-black hair to her trademark pale,
almost white mane. â€śBlake needs to eat.â€ť
Quinn rolled her stunning blue eyes. â€śMore like I need to
feed him. Soon.â€ť She pressed a palm over a breast and
flinched. Their son was twelve weeks old, and five hours
away evidently pushed the feeding schedule.
They said their last goodbyes, and Liv dutifully took her
sisterâ€™s warning to stay away from Noah, as if she needed
it. The man hadnâ€™t shown an ounce of interest in her
outside of polite courtesy since heâ€™d started volunteering
twice a week at the youth center back in July. His help
with the older kidsâ€™ homework was a much-needed service,
and she had no intention of screwing it up by making an
unwanted pass at him.
â€śMind if I join you?â€ť she asked the remaining three women
who were seated at a table while the men huddled around a
flat screen a few feet away, arguing over basketball stats.
â€śPlease.â€ť Cali waved toward an empty chair. The blond woman
was nicely dressed, and the pink sweater set that showed
off the delicate silver choker she always wore didnâ€™t seem
out of place on her, even for a hockey game. â€śWe were just
discussing the benefits of becoming hockey fans.â€ť
Liv laughed and agreed with them as she took a seat.
â€śSo howâ€™s the center doing?â€ť Kendra asked. Of the three
women, Kendra had been the most reserved and hardest to get
to know. It was the patience she showed with the kids at
the center that had won Liv over instantly, and she had no
guilt tapping into Kendraâ€™s background as a school
counselor for advice.
â€śGood. Things slow down quite a bit during the school
â€śWhich is the opposite for me,â€ť Kendra said with a light
laugh. The engagement ring on her finger flashed in the
light, and Liv glanced over at Deklan, the womanâ€™s fiancĂ©.
The man gave off an intimidating air with his buzz cut and
abrupt manner, but his expression softened every time he
looked at Kendra.
Allie leaned in. â€śYou still have my cards, right?â€ť
â€śYes.â€ť Liv smiled her thanks. â€śAnd Iâ€™ve handed a few out.â€ť
Sheâ€™d been touched when the sharp lawyer had provided
business cards for Liv to share with families who could use
pro bono legal help.
â€śHmm.â€ť Allie flicked her curly hair back and crossed her
arms over her chest with a frown. â€śNo oneâ€™s contacted me
â€śMost of the people in that area have a hard time trusting
anything thatâ€™s free.â€ť
She pursed her lips before nodding. â€śMaybe I should come to
the center and meet them. Show them my offer is sincere.â€ť
The generosity of these new friends continued to stun Liv,
but she wasnâ€™t about to pass up any offers for help when it
came to the center. â€śThatâ€™d be great. We can talk next week
to arrange a time when youâ€™re free.â€ť
The small party wound down about an hour later. She put on
a smile and kept her irritation from showing when she
discovered V had taken care of the tab before sheâ€™d left.
Knowing her sister, she would refuse any attempts to pay
her back, just like Holden had refused payment for the game
This was something sheâ€™d wanted to do for everyone, and it
had been stripped away from her with their good intentionsâ€”
not that any of the others knew. Midnight had passed a
while ago and she was tired, so it was just as well that
the evening was ending.
â€śWe had a great time,â€ť Cali said as they all made their way
to their cars. â€śThanks for doing this.â€ť
â€śAre you kidding me?â€ť Liv tucked her hands into her coat
pockets to protect them from the chilly October air. â€śThis
is nothing compared to everything you guys have donated to
the center. Itâ€™s the least I could do.â€ť
Allie leaned around Cali, a lock of hair blowing across her
face. â€śWe should definitely have a girlâ€™s night at the
â€śHey,â€ť Tyler said, wedging himself between the women.
â€śArenâ€™t two men enough for you?â€ť
Liv laughed along with everyone else. When sheâ€™d first
learned that Allie, Seth and Tyler were a trio, theyâ€™d all
tensed, like theyâ€™d expected a negative reaction. Her
Womanâ€™s Studies degree had wiped out any prejudices she
might have had, including all things sexual. Besides, their
happiness was obvious. In fact, all the couples appeared
very committed to each other. Given her own familyâ€™s
example of disastrous relationships, the envy for what they
had only pricked her a bit.
â€śMore than enough,â€ť Allie assured him, sealing her words
with a smacking kiss.
â€śThis way, happy girls.â€ť Jake directed the slightly drunk
trio of women toward an oversized black SUV. â€śThanks again,
Liv.â€ť He waved toward her and opened the car door, tugging
his girlfriend, Cali, in for a kiss as she neared him.
â€śWeâ€™ll take the back,â€ť Allie said, shoving Cali ahead of
her and pulling Kendra in behind.
Liv shook her head, laughing again. â€śTheyâ€™re good friends,â€ť
she said to Noah, ignoring the second nip of envy. She had
a lot of social friends, but none she could claim as
confidants. She glanced at Noah, whoâ€™d been silent at her
side since theyâ€™d left the restaurant.
Seth waved before he swung into the driverâ€™s seat of the
SUV. She waited for Noah to say more but, like usual, he
was conservative with his words.
â€śâ€™Night, you two.â€ť
She turned and waved to Rock and Carter. â€śIâ€™ll call you
this week with the questions I have.â€ť Rock had been a
godsend with the centerâ€™s website. She was still learning
the tricks to maintaining it herself, but heâ€™d been patient
with her questions.
Rock nodded, and Noah opened the door of his luxury car for
her. She adjusted her seat belt and shivered as Noah got
in. Winter was definitely coming.
â€śThank you for driving me tonight,â€ť she said, stealing a
glance at Noah as he backed the car out and followed the
SUV into the street.
â€śNot a problem.â€ť He kept his eyes on the road, one hand on
the wheel, the other notched on the armrest.
She inhaled, catching a hint of his rich cologne. It
smelled as expensive as the suits he wore and the car he
drove. He might be out of her league, but she had to give
her sister props for the gorgeous company she kept. Liv
found the dark control of this man more appealing than the
arrogance that came with most of the athletes Vanessa
The streetlights flickered over his face to highlight his
strong profile. He had an elegant nose tempered by a square
jaw and a high forehead beneath hair that had just enough
curl to defy the styled cut. Would the soft curls wrap
around my fingers if I touched them?
Right. She closed her eyes and released a slow breath. That
train of thought would get her nowhere.
The light was changing to green when she looked up, trying
to think of something to talk about besides the youth
center. Theyâ€™d exhausted that topic on the drive to the ice
arena. What else did she know about the man?
â€śSo what kind of law do you practice?â€ť she asked.
â€śCorporate and small business. Contracts mostly.â€ť
That might have been the longest sentence heâ€™d said to her.
â€śWhat does thatâ€” Oh my God!â€ť she exclaimed as a dark green
pickup blasted into the intersection. The truck smashed
into the side of the SUV to the tune of a metal-bending
crash that rocked the interior of Noahâ€™s car.
Noah slammed on the brakes. Her hands flew up to brace
herself as she jerked forward only to be jolted back by the
seat belt. Despite that, her focus remained on the scene
unfolding before her. It was like watching a slow-motion
camera on hyper-speed.
The collision propelled the SUV sideways through the
intersection with a continued peal of tires and smoke that
seemed to accelerate instead of slow. Horns blared, other
vehicles swerved to avoid them, car parts exploded into the
air and there was nothing she could do.
Her breath caught when the vehicle carrying her friends
buckled around a light pole on the other side of the
street. The truck was embedded into the near side, the
front end collapsed halfway to the cab, sandwiching the big
SUV into half its original width.
Smoke simmered up from the wreckage, the windows were all
smashed or cracked and one taillight flashed in an odd
pattern as the world came to a halt.
â€śF**k.â€ť Noahâ€™s sharp curse penetrated the sudden silence,
but the awful wrench of metal crunching against metal
continued to ring in her ears.
â€śOh my God,â€ť she whispered again, disbelief warring with
reality. Slowly, she processed the small things. Her heart
raced, her shoulder hurt, her hands shook and her brain
couldnâ€™t seem to accept what sheâ€™d just witnessed.
A gust of cold air hit her face, and she turned to see
Noahâ€™s door hanging open. The man sprinted across the
street, phone in hand. Rock and Carter were right behind
him by the time he reached the accident.
Rockâ€™s shouts echoed through the night as he peered into
the damaged windows and started giving orders. The men
scoured the SUV, indistinct calls going between them.
Carter jerked at the back hatch, unable to get it open, and
Rock disappeared behind the far side of the vehicle.
Liv sucked in a breath that filled her with the stench of
gasoline, antifreeze and burned rubber. Even from a
distance, the crash looked deadly. A visible smear of blood
around a spider-web crack in the back window of the SUV had
bile rising in her throat. An unnecessary warning of what
they would find inside.
She winced at the twinge in her neck when she turned to
unclip her seat belt. It didnâ€™t compare to the thunder of
fear and dread that clenched her heart. With another
wavering inhale, Liv shoved her door open and vaulted into
the night to help.
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