Amber Allure, November 13, 2011
Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here
In deep space, testosterone levels rise with deadly consequences, but the rewards far outweigh the risks. In order to keep the crews from going insane, the ship’s counselor must meet each crewman’s sexual needs, no matter what.
When Jax Jupiter finds himself without a job, he takes the only one for which he’s qualified: ship’s counselor. But the last time he worked a deep-space flight, he’d almost been killed by a crazed spacer. Taking this job is against all his better judgment, but he’s trapped. He just hopes he isn’t making a deadly mistake.
Logan Forge has been the captain of the Vieux Carre for nearly five years, and each year it gets harder to keep control. As captain, he’s allowed normal hormone levels, but he must, like the other crewmembers, use the counselor to maintain his levels. But Logan has a secret—he didn’t use the counselor on the last flight and he doesn’t plan on it this time either.
Until Logan meets Jax and all his resolve is shattered. The more he watches Jax and the crewmembers, the more Logan wants Jax. But Jax has learned Logan’s secret, and if Jax tells the Corp it’s the end of Logan’s career.
And just like the last time, someone wants Jax dead.
And Logan is the prime suspect.
Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Sci-Fi, Space, Spaceship, Porn, Toys, Cross-Dressing, Voyeurism
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 3 out of 3
Reviewed by Lis:
Lyn Lorenz’s book Duty Bound is a story where the sci-fi theme is used to create unusual sexual situations in space. It reminded me a bit of Evangeline Anderson’s Broken Boundaries in which the characters have to have sex to fly a ship. As many of you know, I’m not much into the very darker side of romance (only if it’s written very well) and don’t really like books that are created for the sake of writing rape/whore fantasies. So when I first got the request for this book, I thought: nope. No way. However, I’ve always liked books by this author and this author knows how to write. So I got curious and requested it. While it didn’t rock my world, it wasn’t a bad story either.
So then, what is it about?
Duty Bound is set in space where Jax Jupiter is just fired from his job as lab assistant due to budget cuts. He finds himself out of a job and out of money when he’s offered the position of ship’s councilor. Now, a counselor is not what you think it means.
In this world deep space crews are affected by deep space sickness. It more or less causes their hormones to flare and behavior to become erratic. Woman can’t man ships, because they are affected by the radiation levels, that is if they ever want to have kids. So after trial and error ships were manned by all gay crews and the position of councilor was created to keep the crew sane by letting off steam in the form of sex. So yes, the ship’s councilor is basically an escort who serves the entire crew and monitors their behavior. I wouldn’t exactly say they are whores, because there is more to it than just the act of sex and councilors are extensively trained (curious to see how that works), but they aren’t what you’d expect from councilors.
In any case, Jax is offered a lot of money to do this and he finds that he has no other choice than to take the job. Once aboard the ship he meets the crew and their captain and there is an immediate attraction between Jax and Captain Logan Forge.
There isn’t much else to this plot. There is no elaborate mystery. No adventure. No real conflict. In this it’s a character driven story as it focusses only on Jax and Logan and the crew through Jax’s councilor sessions. In this I was a bit disappointed. There is no real climax (pun intended) to this story and it ends when I think it should be just starting. As I have no idea if this book is going to have a sequel, I was a bit let down.
Both Jax and Logan are very much different from each other. Jax is more or less surviving by any means necessary. He doesn’t like his job, but he doesn’t hate it either. What he really wants is to belong to someone, to feel desire for a special someone, but he feels that his job has killed that.
Jax also has had a very bad experience the last time he was a councilor on a ship and this has left his mark on him in the form of panic attacks.
Logan is the stern, tough as nails captain of the ship who very much likes his independence. He doesn’t like to give up control, not even to the ship’s councilor. He’s also sneaky and a voyeur. He doesn’t need to visit the councilor as long as there’s a camera installed.
As you can guess, there is a lot of smexing in this story. None of the scenes are non-con or rape. While Jax doesn’t like his job, he knows what he’s getting into. He is not exactly a victim, nor does he act like one. What niggled me though: none of his encounters with the crew are seen or experienced through his eyes, though what you see through Logan’s makes him a willing participant. So he’s not a crying, broken character, but you don’t know how he feels about the encounters either.
All the sessions are very different and some of them are really hot. What bugged me, though, was the part where there is no real scene between Jax and Logan. There is just a short one with the promise of more in the future.
While I did like this story, I found it a bit sloppy. There are a few inconsistencies, for instance the scene where Jax ‘prepares’ himself because he’s ‘on the clock’ then later in a meeting with the captain and the crew declares that they can only come to his office when they have an appointment and sets down some other rules. That felt a bit contradictory to me.
As mentioned earlier, this story felt incomplete. It ended when it was only really beginning. That makes that the focus is not so much on the relationship between Logan and Jax as it on the sessions Jax has and Logan’s viewing of them.
So, what to make of this story
Duty Bound is an enjoyable story, but it’s more or less porn-without- a-plot. The plot that is presented is very meager and underdeveloped. We get some background, some world building, some character development, but only enough to whet our appetite. While nice to read, I would have preferred a more developed story with fleshed out characters.