Title: Ties that Bind Author: Neeny Boucher Series: Complicated Love (Book #2)
*Recommended for audiences over the age of 18*
Forced to return to her hated hometown to work, Christina Martin, lawyer and ex resident bad girl, finds herself questioning her life choices. Reunited with her former husband, Nicholas Riley, their tenuous and complicated relationship is tested when secrets from the past and present are revealed. Riley, a man with explosive secrets and penchant for psychological games, faces the dilemma of keeping the woman he loves through lies by omission or potentially losing her with the truth. This isn’t just their second chance for happiness, it’s their last chance and there may be some things that love can’t conquer at all. Equal parts helped and hindered by a colorful cast of supporting characters, ‘Ties that Bind’, Book Two in the Complicated Love Series, continues the dysfunctional relationship of Riley and Dina introduced in ‘Lost in Flight’. Warning: This book is not about bondage. I have nothing against books about bondage. Heck, I’ve been known to read a few works myself, but it’s just this book isn’t one of them. Unless, of course, you’re referring to the tangible and intangible bonds of human relationships, ties that bind and ties that can be broken. Then, this book is definitely about that. ‘Ties that Bind’ is not a standalone and forms part of a series. It is highly recommended that you read Book One, ‘Lost in Flight’ before this one. Also, this series is full of quirky, socially awkward, and badly behaved characters, underpinned with dark humor. It is not a traditional romance and there is no guarantee of happy ever afters.
I want to. If I were you, I’d run.”
4.5 Star Review by Lisa Kane
At the end of Lost in Flight, Riley was leaving to work offline for 6 or 7 weeks. He had set it up so that Christina ("Dina") was going to stay working in her hometown and would be able to spend time with her sister Gabby (who suffered a serious injury). She was furious for being played, but he could deal with that. Through a series of flashbacks we see the demise of their previous relationship and how their volatility almost destroyed what they had. I say almost because neither one of them has really moved on from the other. Riley came the closest with a woman named Bianca in New York. He was set to propose to her, but a chance sighting of Dina changed that. He went back to their apartment, packed his things, told her it wasn't going to work, and admitted to himself he couldn't fully commit to anyone else as long as Dina was in his heart.
He would be staying in New York and not moving to Seattle. His life with Bianca would be peaceful and sedate. And it would have been a slow death, where he gave up pieces of himself over time until there was nothing left.
But Riley has secrets, dangerous secrets that can destroy what he is trying to build once again with Dina. He is ingrained in her family's music business and some of her family members know some of what he is hiding. But they aren't talking...While he is off line this time, he sends Dina small gifts; reminders of things from their past, and she feels his love. But this time, something is wrong and he extends his time away without communicating with her.
There are some heartbreaking moments in this book, especially in the last half. Riley is in a dark place and is determined to take Dina down with him. But not before he lets her hear some ugly horrible truths, knowing these may push her away. How can Dina cope with what she learns and how can she forgive him?
He wondered if they had got a chance, whether they would choose one another? He and Dina had found each other, but because of him they were destined to roam the earth avoiding one another for the rest of their lives. They belonged together, but couldn't be together, and this was on him.
Neeny Boucher is a talented, prolific writer. It is not easy to write from present to past tense but she nails it without confusing the reader. Being able to see both POV's is such an important element in this story, especially Riley. He is complex and tortured and self destructive. But the reader is always aware of his love for Dina even though it borders on the obsessive. Without giving away too much of the plot, many suffer from Riley's problem and they not only are affected but those around them have their lives uprooted time and again. Riley will have to first admit and then accept his affliction before he can be any good for Dina. Dina frustrated me at times, she is quick to judge and runs when the going gets tough. But will she run back to Riley this time?
"Wow, Dina," he breathed. "This is perfect."
"It's Kintsugi," she explained. "The Japanese are of broken pieces."
She'd given him a small lacquered bowl with gold inlay along its cracks. Andy had told her the philosophy and she thought it a fitting representation of her and Riley.
"It's the method of incorporating the history into an object," she added, running a finger along the golden cracks. "If it gets broken, they don't try to hide it. They repair it and make it beautiful. I thought it appropriate for us."
Neeny Boucher is a nom de plume because my real name sounds like a 19th Century suffragette. Originally, I'm from New Zealand and am a long-time supporter of the All Blacks. Currently, I am living in Europe and a trailing spouse, following my husband all over the world for his work. This not only gives me the opportunity to write, but also, experience the world and indulge in one of my favourite past-times: people watching. My own employment history is varied and ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous. All of those experiences and encounters, however, have allowed me to collect amazing stories, which now form the basis of my writings. I have always loved the weird, the outcast and those on the margins of society because they see the world in a different way. These are the people my characters are based around. I have a BA Hons (English and Pacific Studies) and a PhD in Sociology/Indigenous Studies. Presently, I am working on the Complicated Love Series. Book One, Lost in Flight, was released in 2013. Book Two, Ties that Bind, is scheduled for release in 2014.