After the death of my mother and her Bonded, I was relieved to find my own Bonds.
I was sure everything would be okay if I had them.
The fate of our people is in my hands and I know we’re better off if I’m alone.
After five years on the run, I’m caught and dragged back to face the men I ran away from.
I thought I was doing the right thing.
Now, I’m not so sure.
North, Nox, Gryphon, Atlas, and Gabe may never forgive me but one thing is for sure.
I won’t ever forgive myself.
In the prologue we learn of Oleander’s parent’s death and her subsequent power surge, we don’t know what that power is or the immediate aftermath.
We jump to the present and discover that Oleander has been running from her bonds and has been taken by a Tactical Response Team and brought to an interrogation room. There she’s implanted with a GPS tracker and given a file on her bonds. The five men she’s destined to spend her life with. An unusual thing about the file is that none of their gifts are listed. She’s buried her own gift deep inside as well as the ever present bond.
After being taken to clean up some, four of her bonds arrive. Gryphon, Gabriel and the brothers North and Nox. From the start I don’t like either of the brothers. North is a councilman and is responsible for the GPS tracker. He is the one who will set all the rules for her. Gryphon and Gabriel want to know why and are really pissed off, Nox is disgusted and thinks he’s owed something, and North, well he’s just an arse.
Next up is her enrollment at Draven University and her dorm assignment. The surprise and annoyance that she dropped out of high school, exhibited by North, actually made me giggle. The man is clueless as to the way things work outside of his world.
Her bond, Gabe is assigned to most of her classes and escorts her to breakfast daily. She’s been ostracized by the rest of the students for rejecting and running from her bonds. Plus the fact that North and Nox rule the campus, although Gabe has quite the following as well. She does make a friend though, Sage. Sage’s bond Riley prefers his other bonded Giovanna and makes sure everyone knows it.
Nox’s class is going to be bad as he lets it be known she’s worthless and he doesn’t expect her to pass. Then there’s Tactical Training, Gabe is in that class and Gryphon is an instructor but pretty much ignores her. Vivian is in charge and he begins her first day with things to evaluate where her fitness level is. To say Oli isn’t happy is an understatement. Less so when they do an obstacle course.
Then things get worse with Nox’s class where he makes sure everyone knows she’s worthless. However things do look up a bit that night.
This is one of my favorite scenes.
Sage invites me to go back to her dorm room to study, but when I check the location on my phone, it’s outside of the perimeter North gave me and there’s no way I want to deal with that asshole today. Not after his dick brother just shamed me in front of half the fucking freshman class.
I can’t think about it without feeling that special sort of rage that means my ability wants to come out to play and that can’t fucking happen. I do let myself think about it though, for like a second. Just to burn off the rage a little.
So instead, I head back to my own dorm room to… sit and fucking mope, really. In the light of day, the room looks even more bleak. Bare walls, empty cupboards, and the shittiest bed known to man. For real, I’ve slept in homeless shelters with better mattresses, and the blankets are a scratchy nightmare.
I also only have about eight dollars to my name, so buying new shit isn’t in the budget.
I unpack my bags and go through what little clothing I have left. There’s a little makeup and three pairs of shoes. Not great, shoes are kind of my life and the Tactical Team left behind a pair of leather ankle boots that were the greatest thrift shop find of my life. I refuse to admit how much that loss hurts me.
There may be tears.
Then I spend a few hours on my phone researching jobs that fit into the perimeter North gave me, but none of the hours work with his stupid curfew. Looks like earning money is out and I’m stuck in this shitty room the way it is.
Fuck my life.
Even on the run, I managed to find little pieces of art and trinkets to cute up my spaces. I had a car too. I’ll have to talk to North about it because it’s registered in my name and I don’t need to be racking up tickets for abandoning it.
Fuck, if only I could get my car back. The real problem here is the killer GPS chip. If I could get it out then I’ll be out of this place on the next bus…or, hell, I’ll hitchhike my way to the East coast. Or maybe Canada. I’d need a passport for that.
Eventually it gets dark outside and I get bored enough in my shitty little room to get ready for bed. The showers at the dorms are a special sort of hell thanks to all of the whispers and gossip, but it doesn’t take much brain function to realize that there are times of the day when this place is a ghost town and I use that to my advantage.
I’m drying off my hair in my room when my phone pings with a text.
Only Sage has my number and she’s at work right now. She’s already given me a basic rundown of what her week looks like so we can find time to study together. I steel myself for whichever one of my Bonds is starting a whole new campaign of hate against me, because I’m sure North gave them all my number, but when I check it, I find a message from my last Bond, the one who’s been missing so far.
I slump down on the bed as I read his text once, twice, eight times.
I think we should meet here first. The name is Atlas Bassinger, and I live on the other side of the country. I’m finishing out the semester and then coming to you, my college wouldn’t let me transfer mid-unit, otherwise I’d be there now. Hope you can understand that.
Oh God, I think he’s asking me for forgiveness for not dropping everything and coming to me. Me! I stare at my phone for a another second before replying, trying to find the words to tell him I’m the worst fucking option for him.
Have you spoken to the other guys? I’m sure they have plenty to say about why you don’t need to drop everything to come to me.
His reply is much faster.
I don’t give a fuck about their opinions on my Bond. I spoke to them when my bloodwork came back and they told me you ran. I’m not a dumbass like the rest of them, you ran because you had to. I know it. I’ll be there as soon as I can and if that isn’t fast enough for you, I’ll come now and start the semester over again.
My stomach drops. I drop the towel I was drying my hair with to the ground and focus entirely on my phone.
You can’t do that! I made you wait for long enough and, honestly, I’m still not too keen on sticking around.
I could cry, just fucking sob at my phone at this tiny scrap of kindness, but that might just break the dam inside me and at this point, I’m a freaking expert at compartmentalizing my own trauma. I hesitate when my phone pings again in my hand, then take a deep breath and look.
Introduce yourself, Bond. I don’t want to talk about anything but you and I. That’s what’s going to get me through the next two months.
I swallow. What’s a little honesty going to hurt? I can tell him enough that he doesn’t hate me but not enough to put either of us in danger. Also, the text messages help me to be a little more honest than I usually am, like the fact that he’s thousands of miles away means that nothing I say here really… matters I guess. All of it is future Oli’s problem and, fuck it, I really don’t want to think about her right now because with any luck, I’ll be gone before he makes it here. I’ve always been more of a live-in-the-moment person.
You have to be when you’re running for your life.
There’s nothing really to say about me. My name is Oleander Fallows, I’m nineteen, and I don’t want to be here. I was found by a TacTeam and the Council had them bring me back here. They’ve put GPS trackers in me now, so there’s no way for me to leave here. Yet.
The text had barely shown up as delivered when the phone rang. Oh God. I stare at it for a second and then, with a shaking hand, answer his call.
“Hey, what do you mean a GPS tracker?”
His voice is like warm honey, all liquid and soothing. I try to keep my own voice calm but it’s a trying situation to be in. Fuck, why did I say anything to him? What exactly was I expecting?
I clear my throat. “The Council held me down and implanted a GPS tracker under my skin while I struggled. Well, I would have struggled if the Gifted in the room hadn’t paralyzed me. It’s got some safeguard on it so I can’t just dig it out myself. Apparently, one of my other Bonds is a very important man and I’ve pissed him off enough to have my autonomy taken from me.”
There’s a beat of silence and then he says, “I’ll come now, fuck my college classes.”
My cheeks heat up. “It’s my own doing. I ran. They won’t ever let me forget that either. Fuck, I’d probably hate me too if I were them.”
He grunts and I hear him rummaging around in the background. I pray he’s not looking for, like, car keys or a laptop to buy plane tickets. “You had a reason though, right? You didn’t just leave for the fun of it.”
I scoff. “How exactly can you be so sure of that? I could be a total asshole here.”
He scoffs back at me and I imagine a wry grin on his face. I mean, I have no clue what he looks like, other than the tiny little photo on the file North had given me, but there’s something in his tone that tells me he’s full of smugness and flirting right now. “Don’t try to distract me, Bond. There’s no way you were leaving me behind, not on purpose.”
His calm and unwavering belief in me knocks me off of my feet and I slump on my bed. “That’s pretty arrogant of you to assume, I might just be a total fucking bitch. Fuck, it doesn’t matter anyway. I can’t talk about any of it, no matter how nice you are.”
He grunts down the line at me. “Okay, fuck this, I’m booking a flight right now.”
I squeeze my eyes shut. “You can’t, they’ll only hold that against me as well. Just… maybe we can just call and text sometimes? It would be nice to talk to someone who doesn’t… hate me, I guess.”
He chuckles down the phone and my knees go weak. “Yeah, I’d like to get to know my Bond. This way we can do it without all of the sex getting in the way, though I have to admit, I’m a lot happier knowing I’m not the only one missing out. I’d rather they all stay pissed at you so I can taste you first.”
Well, isn’t that just great?
Too bad exactly none of them can taste me.
Not without risking everything I ran away to keep safe.
Bree, J. Broken Bonds (The Bonds that Tie Book 1). Kindle Locations (513-576). Kindle Edition.
I fell in love with Atlas right from his first text and my opinion doesn’t change with regard to him.
Gabe on the other hand starts off as a jerk but worms his way into my heart, and Gryphon does something that has me wanting her to bond with him right away as does Atlas. North doesn’t nothing to redeem himself in my eyes and Nox should just find another bond as far as I’m concerned.
When we find out Oli’s power it shocks everyone, although we still don’t know details about her and the resistance. Yes it’s a cliff hanger but the next book isn’t that far off.
There’s fun, snark, action, laughter and tears and plenty of sexual tension.
I can’t wait for the next book, I have sooo many questions!!!
5 Contented Purrs for J!
J Bree is a dreamer, writer, mother, farmer, and cat-wrangler.
The order of priorities changes daily. She lives on a small farm in a tiny rural town in Australia that no one has ever heard of.
She spends her days dreaming about all of her book boyfriends, listening to her partner moan about how the wine grapes are growing, and being a snack bitch to her two kids.
If you want to hear more about all things Mounts Bay then join my readers group! There’s a lot of creative ways to dispose of a body in the Bay so come join the fun.