The BookLikes companion to The Romance Evangelist (mharvey816.mh2.org).
Reviewer for Seductive Musings, Night Owl Reviews, and Romancing Rakes For the Love of Romance.
I live for the HEA/HFN and am decidedly pro-epilogue.
A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.
I quite enjoyed WICKED WEEKEND, the first book in Gillian Archer’s Pleasure Code series, so I was glad to see the series would continue with Sawyer, the snarky and infamous rope bondage expert who was the good friend of Jamie, the hero in that first book. Best of all, UP IN KNOTS is a full-length book (unlike the previous novella) so I was excited at the prospect of reading a fully realized romance from start to finish.
UP IN KNOTS begins with our introduction to Kyla, a former nationally ranked gymnast who now teaches tumbling to young children along with her younger sister, while continuing to mourn the loss of the only man who had been both her true love and perfect Dom. It’s been two long years since Adam fell to his death from a construction scaffold, and Kyla has finally decided it’s time to seek out another Dom for the kink she’s missed since then. She’s always had a crush on Sawyer - the most famous rope top in Vegas - but never thought she’d ever meet him, let alone get a chance to be his sub. But when they meet by chance at the local kink con, it seems like her perfect opportunity to embrace a new kink and a new life, if she can just leave the past behind.
We already saw in WICKED WEEKEND just how well known Sawyer is in the Vegas kink community, and how dismissive he is of any emotional commitments. When Kyla arrives alone for his Rope Bondage for Couples class, it seems obvious that she should be his subject for instruction purposes. The immediate attraction between them makes it only natural that Sawyer would want to spend a bit more time getting to enjoy her, if only for the night. When their first D/s scene results in an emotional reaction from Kyla, Sawyer decides that he’s the best one to help her back into the lifestyle, and then find someone good for her to be with once she’s healed. But as time passes and they grow closer, he refuses to admit that the person who is best for her is him, even if it ends up breaking both their hearts.
Ninety-nine percent of UP IN KNOTS was an intensely exquisite read for me, as Sawyer pushed Kyla’s kink limits, while Kyla pushed right back on Sawyer’s commitment limits. She had lost her first great love, to be sure, but what Sawyer gave her was exactly what she needed to heal from her loss and become open to love again. Yet even as Kyla continued to hold nothing back in her pursuit of new happiness, Sawyer continued to pull away even as he knew that Kyla was someone he didn’t really want to ever let go. There was a pivotal scene in UP IN KNOTS where Sawyer had planned to hand Kyla over to Grayden, his good friend and fellow Dom. As the intimate scene between the three of them played out, Sawyer’s possessiveness over Kyla overtook his original intent, resulting in anger and confusion for all. But it was only when Sawyer’s carelessness with his own safety landed him in the hospital that Kyla finally found her own moment of clarity. It was then that she not only came to terms with Adam’s death but also her feelings for Sawyer and knew what she had to do for her own self-preservation. Her next action set up what I anticipated would be the perfect romantic ending for Sawyer and Kyla, one where they would openly admit that they loved each other and have their HEA/HFN at last.
The ending is where I felt let down by UP IN KNOTS. If you don’t want to know how it ends, don’t click the spoiler button.
(Spoiler is available at The Romance Evangelist.)
I don’t expect every romance to end with a marriage proposal (or god forbid, a baby epilogue) but after 200+ pages of what seemed like a beautiful romance between two broken souls, I guess I expected more of an ending than what I got. I’m still glad I read UP IN KNOTS, though, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a hefty dose of kink with their erotic romance. I also hope there will be another Pleasure Code book and that we’ll get to see more of Sawyer and Kyla then.