I'm not sure that I can adequately describe the joyous perfection that is The Bonds of Love by J.M. Snyder, but I will certainly try my best! Let me start with the blurb that originally caught my attention:
Vic Braunson has a special kind of problem—his lover, Matt DiLorenzo, somehow imbues him with enhanced superpowers every time they have sex. It’s something Vic has learned to live with in the years they’ve been together, and something he won’t let stand in the way of their relationship. Matt hates the powers, however, particularly when they put Vic in danger, but what can they do?
Gay romance with sexually-imbued superpowers? For novelty's sake alone, I knew I had to give this a read. Fortunately, I am very pleased to say this is not just a novelty read, but a wonderfully romantic and thoroughly exciting thriller that also knows when to laugh at itself. Better still, it's the kind of story that knows that characters and relationships are key, and which keeps the actual demonstration of superpowers to a subtle minimum, never allowing them to overshadow the relationship between Vic and Matt.
As for the two lovebirds, I'm not sure I've ever read a gay romance where I felt such a powerful connection to the characters. This is Romance with a capital 'R', and my heart beat a little faster every time they were together. It's all-too easy to write the words and say the right things to describe a romance, but J.M. manages to capture the emotions and put them on the page in such a way that we truly feel them. While there's the appearance of a stereotypical gay couple here, nothing could be further from the truth. Vic and Matt are equals who take turns guiding the relationship . . . and who are equally at home on top or on bottom in the bedroom.
I admit, there's definitely a kinky thrill to watching big, strong, bald-headed Vic being taken by his smaller, cuter love (especially knowing that Matt is 'seeding' him with superpowers each time), but that's not what drives the relationship. If anything, it's Vic telepathy, and the honest/open dialogue it creates between them, baring their secret thoughts and emotions to scrutiny, that keeps these two men deeply, madly, and passionately in love.
Plot-wise, it's a story that takes a little while to get to the point, but that's entirely okay - in this case, getting there is at least half the fun. The first half of the novel establishes the romance, explains the nature of Vic's superpowers, and fleshes out the community of friends, colleagues, and ex-lovers around them. We also get to see how Vic skirts the edges of celebrity, facing the same fears of exposure as a Batman or Superman, but without all the costumed tomfoolery. He's a morally responsible (if reluctant) superhero, who doesn't seek out danger, but who recognizes his responsibility to do the right then when called upon, and who is unflinchingly brave and entirely selfless when his lover's life is at stake.
What kicks the story up another notch, fully engaging our emotions and forcing us to grip the book a little bit tighter, is the reappearance of Jordan, one of Matt's old lovers. Jordan is not only bitter about their breakup, but almost manically jealous of what Matt can do for Vic. He wants his lover back - not for the sake of romance, but for the sake of the superpowers bestowed by Matt's manhood. In a way, you can't blame Jordan for wanting it all, but he's a selfish, self-centred little ass who isn't above threatening our favourite couple in order to get it.
When Jordan takes it too far, abducting Matt with the intent of raping the superpowers out of him, we get to see what Vic is made of. I'll leave you to discover the particulars of that epic battle for yourself, but I guarantee you the thought of having somebody so devoted to you, so in love with you, will literally leave you weak in the knees.
This is actually the third book in the Powers of Love series, but it's an ideal place to begin. Be warned, however, that it will make you eager to read the rest of the series as quickly as possible. If it also prompts a little sexual experimentation in hopes of finding some superpowers of your own . . . well, that's just an added bonus, and one more thing to thank J.M. for. If had a few hours alone with Matt, I'm sure I could come up with some power to force you to read it, but you'll just have to take my word for it.