Rating: 5 stars out of 5
One troubled rugby player.
The Sin Bin will never be the same.
Gray Baird’s to-do list for the year includes starting a restaurant, claiming his submissive, and keeping his nosy friends out of his business. He has his work seriously cut out for him.
Scottie Monk prides himself on bullying his way through problems—and sometimes even people. His life is spiralling out of his control, but he refuses to break. The last thing he expects is to find peace in the confines of submission.
One man will try to tame a lion.
One man will try to heal.
And both men will have to join forces to deal with a toxic family and invasive paparazzi.
Each new story in The Sin Bin series made me sure I’d found the favorite story and couple out of all of them…and I had. Until the next one. This pattern held true with The Lion Tamer. Dahlia Donovan has taken a sad and sometimes unlikable character that’s been appearing in every previous story and slowly turned him into someone I not only connected deeply with but rooted for his happiness with everything I had. That would be Scottie Monk, a ex rugby alcoholic with anger issues up the wazoo. Nasty to friends, unreliable, he’s on a downward spiral that anyone familiar with his family would recognize. And up until the previous story, The Unexpected Santa (The Sin Bin, #5), I wasn’t sure where Dahlia Donovan was going to take or leave him.
Gray Baird, an ex Marine and transplant to the UK is both the key to Scottie’s change in path and a whole new wonderful character. Gray wants a sea change in his life and makes it. New career as a chef, new home, and slowly, ever so slowly, a whole new set of people that become his family, including the autistic twins that he befriended in The Unexpected Santa. The person he also wants to include in this new life is Scottie, but Scottie has to want to change his life, go to rehab, make his own drastic changes ..not for Gray but for himself.
This book has a gritty, realistic side (as does the entire series). Donovan doesn’t spare the ugliness that is Scottie at his worst. We see the effects alcoholism has not only on the person deep in his addiction but on all of those around him. The strains on the few friendships he has left, the growing exclusions from functions because of his behavior, and always the anger. When submission and dominance start to help Gray and Scottie, both as a initial doorway to their relationship and as a revelation for Scottie, for whom love has always been an unknown factor in life, we get it.
You can’t separate out sections of this story as all threads flow naturally together into one vivid indelible tapestry. The bdsm elements which are unbelievably hot and sexy, the raw and painful road to recovery for Scottie to sobriety, the endearing and moving continued incorporation of twins Alice and Alex into Gray’s home and life. Finally, their love and relationship along with all their friends and loved ones. I can’t believe how much I love this story.
It’s so great to see all the other couples popping up to support this couple in whatever fashion is needed. All the books and characters are so tightly intertwined that I may just start the series over reading them one right after the other.
The Lion Tamer (The Sin Bin #6) by Dahlia Donovan is one remarkable, warmhearted contemporary romance. It’s moving, and oh so memorable. I absolutely recommend it and the entire Sin Bin series.
Cover art: Claire Smith. I love the cover but it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the series.
Published February 20th 2018 by Hot Tree Publishing
Series The Sin Bin #6
1. The Wanderer – BC & Graham
2. The Caretaker – Tens & Freddie
3. The Botanist (short story) – Aled & Wyatt
4. The Royal Marine – Hamish & Akash
5 The Unexpected Santa (short story) – Gray & Scottie
6. The Lion Tamer – Gray & Scottie
7. The Haka Ever After (short story) – Tens & Freddie
8. TBD – Zeb & Silus