Bound to the Bounty Hunter by Hayson Manning

Bound to the Bounty Hunter by Hayson ManningBound to the Bounty Hunter by Hayson Manning
Series: Bound #1
Published by Entangled Publishing, LLC on July 18th 2016
Pages: 290
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Harlan Franco, Colorado's busiest bounty hunter, and security expert, lives by his rules: be in control, be detached, and never touch the asset. These rules are tested when the asset he's being paid to secretly guard is none other than his rival, sexy, unpredictable, pain in the butt, Sophie Callaghan––a woman determined to stay away from him. If she finds out he’s in her life on an assignment, he'll never get the info he needs. But those lips, those curves, that attitude, he bets he'll have her for one night where she'll play by his rules.
He didn't expect his heart to have an opinion.
Freedom loving private investigator Sophie Callaghan is on a mission. The daughter of a con-artist is not going to be used by a man again. What she doesn't need is hot, broody and controlling Harlan barging into her life and digging into her past. Her brain may say no, but her body craves this bad boy. After a night where both live their darkest desires, Sophie must fight their explosive chemistry because one wrong move could destroy her. She bets he has to stay far, far away.
As the stakes ramp up and secrets explode around them, both are determined to win the bet.
But there can only ever be one winner.

The blurb sounded promising, the entire story less so, which means I’m quite undecided about this story overall, with an equal number of push and pull factors leaving me on ground that isn’t quite steady. In short, ‘Bound to the Bounty Hunter’ left me in large part confused (in some parts, I just couldn’t get the story straight), with the action choppy and some dialogue out of sync that I couldn’t count how many times I felt as though there were multiple ends left hanging before the scene and the POV changed. The writing skirted the ridiculous with hyperboles and rom-com-ish (and never in real life) situations that made me roll my eyes, but there was a definite quirky style to it that I thought unusual and amusing.

I do think however, that ‘Bound to the Bounty Hunter’ falls prey to the convenient trap that many romance novels fall into as though it’s a formula that sells: the lack of talking and/or the constant deception that one party carries throughout most of the book until something inevitably blows up in his/her face. But somehow that doesn’t matter apparently, because the sex is hot enough to obliterate the need for communication. Without addressing the tangled mess between them – that is too conveniently replaced instead by smouldering looks, wet panties and constant hard-ons – I could only think of the growing emotional connection between Sophie and Harlan as a farce. A conversation tails off halfway when an (un)timely incident happens or when a phone rings and call it karma if you like, but these pile on like the clusterfuck you know is about to come…and it does, in a fashion that left me absolutely unsurprised because our leads simply didn’t talk it out at all.

As a result, Sophie is always obstinately going off doing her own thing, while Harlan nurses his own agenda while chasing her all over the place without really saying why. Throw in a few instances of danger, rinse and repeat and that’s pretty much what the book is about – and it’s enough to get me to tear out my hair. I wavered between wanting to shake the main characters out of their lust-induced stupor and shaking my head at Sophie’s naiveté…yet I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her being strung around by the men in her life.

Undecided as I am about the story, there’s already an intriguing hook at the end that makes me think I might just continue with this series to see how it goes.