Haven by Rebekah Weatherspoon

34745311A week-long getaway…

City girl Claudia Cade’s carefree life is plunged into chaos when a camping trip with her brother in the national forests of Northern California turns into a deadly dash for her survival.

A solitary world turned upside down…

Nature photographer Shepard Olsen has resigned himself to a quiet existence, with only his dog by his side, until a woman in need of his protection shows up on his doorstep and throws his universe into disarray.

Two lives linked by tragedy…

Claudia is desperate to heal from her traumatic loss, but can’t stop thinking about her run-in with evil….or the grizzled mountain man whose quick thinking and good aim saved her life. When she shows up on Shep’s doorstep again, she finds she isn’t the only one who can’t move on.

…saved by bliss.

The two begin an intense, passionate relationship of Dominance and submission, pleasure and pain, but with dark memories haunting them and decisions about the future rapidly approaching, Claudia can’t help but wonder…how long can they be each other’s haven?

*** WARNING: This book contains a sexual relationship between a fashionista and a cranky mountain man who are dealing with physical and emotional trauma. And a very big, cuddly dog.***

 +++ Image and blurb from Goodreads+++

Net Galley ARC received from the author herself for an honest review

 3 Beardy Man and Fluffy Dog Stars

Once again, I’ll need to open my post with honesty, I requested Haven from Net Galley without registering the series title ‘Beards and Bondage’. Whilst I do enjoy a well-appointed beard, I have never been interested in the bondage and Dom/Sub romance novels. Not even the Fifty Shades hype sparked my desire to explore this sub-genre. But as I requested the novel, and the blurb is fascinating, I decided to test the waters – and decided I enjoyed the foray but it hasn’t convinced me to explore further.

The novel has a hugely dramatic opening. Shepherd ‘Shep’ Olsen (bearded mountain man) finds Claudia Cade (witty city-bred fashionista) battered and bloody on his doorstep with her attacker close on her heels. Forced to kill the attacker, Shep rushes Claudia to the hospital, and they manage to form a bond through shared experience. Claudia is left to grieve for her brother who was killed as she escaped, and Shep must face the reoccurring nightmares of killing a man.

You would think that after Claudia returns to her Manhattan home she would never want to set foot in the mountains that had taken so much from her. But after struggling to restart her old life she is drawn back to Shep, the man she cannot stop thinking about and returns to not only say thank you but offer him a proposition. She wants to heal, and the only peace she had was in his arms in the hospital bed, and in her mind, the best way to work through the grief is numerous bouts of sex with the studly mountain man. Shep agrees so long as she agrees to his sexual preferences of Dom/Sub and bondage.

The characters were highly engaging and had wonderful character development which did not have a heavy dependence on each other – which is refreshing. Shep and Claudia had to exclusively conquer demons and acknowledge grief, as both experienced different traumas. The dual POV really helped their development, as they were either in different cities or different headspaces. Also, the dual POV allowed Shep and Claudia to have different levels of commitment and confusion to the relationship.

Shep’s caring introverted ways perfectly juxtaposed Claudia’s wise-cracking, chatty nature – which made them an intriguing couple. Even with the alluring plot and characters, the sex distanced me from the narrative. Strangely not at first, but as more of the bondage culture came into play I became more detached. I think this is all down to personal preference, whilst I didn’t find the leather straps and public exposure aspects of their relationship engaging, I still enjoyed watching their relationship bloom.

AND, how could I forget Titus, the adorable giant fluffy pooch – he was an excellent companion for Shep and comforter of Claudia.

Overall, I am happy I ventured out of my comfort zone and tried this romance sub-genre, but I will check out any other non-bondage novels by Rebekah Weatherspoon.

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