Title: Tie ‘Em Up, Hold ‘Em Down
Author: Carolina Valdez
Publisher: JMS Books
Length: 76 Pages
Category: Contemporary, BDSM
At a Glance: I had my moments where I enjoyed the story, but overall I ended up disappointed.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: They knew it was dangerous to be gay in the all-male, macho world of firefighting, but when Dane Garrison and Robert “Bear” Barrington are stranded in a shack and forced to sleep together to keep warm, the barriers to expressing their love and satisfying their hidden lust for each other break down. Terrified for them both of being outed, Bear shuts Dane out of his life after their brief time together, as if their passion had never existed.
Dane, however, wants this man in his life forever. More aggressive and secure, he fights against Bear’s resistance to their relationship.
How Dane will win, or if he will win, will seal their fate forever …
Review: This book was originally published in 2008—it has a new cover, but internally has not been significantly changed since then.
I got the feeling this book was trying too hard. It tries to be a romance, which it does quite well, and maybe should have stopped there. It tries to be a fire/crime novel, which would have worked with more input and time spent investigating by the main characters. It tries to be an erotic novel, but better wording than “man juices” would have had to be used to get me hot and bothered. It tries to be a statement for gay marriage, but the men never tie the knot. It tries to be a BDSM novel, but outside one encounter, there is no kinky play whatsoever (and the two lesbians in the hot tub was just gratuitous and unnecessary).
See? It tries to be too many things—not really accomplishing any of them well. I really liked her characters. There was a wealth to work with between Bear (a closeted firefighter) and Dane (a semi-open fire inspector). A good tried-but-true plot with mysterious fires being set in their district. Throw in that they are Search and Rescue, and that they have amazing canine companions, and it should be a winner hands down. Two hot fire guys, two playful but smart canine companions, what’s not to love?
The story is a bit disjointed; it’s like the author starts to get on a role with one pathway and all of sudden feels like oh, I could put this in there, and too many resultant diverging paths don’t make a cohesive story. Taken as a whole, it is a romance with some good sex scenes, if you can get past some of the crude wording. It’s short, which is why it would have been better to stick to one storyline and let it play out. As a result, the ending is abrupt and the epilogue, while giving us a glimpse of what could happen between the two MCs, doesn’t show us what has happened between them, leaving me dissatisfied.
On the whole, I had my moments where I enjoyed the story, but overall I ended up disappointed and, unfortunately, you might want to take a pass on this one. If the story were longer and some of the threads woven tighter, then it could be a hit, but as it stands, it doesn’t deliver as a satisfying story.
You can buy Tie ‘Em Up, Hold ‘Em Down here: