Author: Z. Allora
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Pages/Word Count: 257 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Josh has loved Robin since the day they met, although he never dared to follow his heart. After the two are kicked out of their house, a night of despair turns into a night of discovery, forever changing them both. One taste of his dream leaves Josh hungry for more, but Robin’s fear of abandonment forces him to pull back, denying them both.
Their fortunes changed. Josh and Robin are now in the limelight with legendary megaband The Dark Angels, but Robin is still the scared little boy inside the rock star who isn’t convinced he won’t be left behind. He clings tightly to the word “brother” because stepbrothers can’t leave, right?
There’s only one way for Josh to prove to Robin, now and forever, that the love tying them together can never be broken.
Review: Please excuse my rambling bits for a minute.
I think Oscar Wilde might’ve had something to say about the relationship Z. Allora built between stepbrothers Josh and Robin Strider in Tied Together. Okay, I know, weird? But bear with me for a second. In The Picture of Dorian Gray, Wilde revealed quite a lot about himself, enough that the book was then used against him in court. There is a passage in the book, however, when Lord Henry begins to work his wiles on Gray that reads, “We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification… Resist it and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.”
Why this particular passage makes sense in relationship to Tied Together is because of the forbidden nature of the bond between Robin and Josh. Or at least as forbidden as the world would love to make it. Raised as brothers, Robin and Josh are closer than any two people could possibly be, closer than brothers, truth be told. There is a deeper connection between these two that goes beyond familial ties, and it’s this bond Z. Allora explores throughout the story. Allied against an alcoholic and homophobic father/stepfather, the two boys become each other’s anchor. Getting kicked out of the house, struggling to survive and ready to resort to desperate means turns out to be one of the best things that could’ve happened to them because it brings a guardian angel into their lives, but the security and support they receive from their Uncle Leo only seems to pronounce Robin’s struggle over his feelings for Josh.
Their rise to fame with The Dark Angels doesn’t help Robin overcome his anxiety. In fact, quite the opposite is true—living in a media fishbowl only makes his situation worse, as sycophants and yellow journalism insist upon objectifying and reinforcing a twincest slant to their relationship in spite of the fact he and Josh aren’t twins, let alone related by blood. That, contrasted against the love and lust between them causes a friction that gives the book an emotional edge and gives some weight to its sexy-heavy plot.
Z. Allora loves the erotica, and I love it when the erotic content of a novel serves a purpose, in this case it highlighting the physical need Robin and Josh have for each, but also the emotional need Robin has to submit and to belong to Josh. It’s their baser attraction that causes so many of the issues in their relationship because every time Josh believes they’re about to move forward, Robin’s fears and anxieties cause him to pull away, if not outright run. The sex in Tied Together is not only playful and sweet but is also presented as a deeper contrast within the moments Robin and Josh desperately need to feel that connection with each other, so while the sex is there in abundance, it also serves to underscore what Robin attempts so hard to deny.
At times fun-loving and lighthearted, at others, a meaningful look at what the world would like to call immoral, Tied Together is another sizzling installment in The Dark Angels series that unapologetically will increase your heart rate in all the right ways.
You can buy Tied Together (The Dark Angels: Book Two) here: