by J. Bree
Book 2 in The Bonds That Tie series
With my gift coursing through my veins, the tables have turned on the Draven Campus.
I’m no longer the Giftless reject, no longer the girl who’s fair game to the other students for daring to run away from my Bonds.
But there are bigger problems heading my way.
With destiny pushing me closer and closer to each of my Bonds, I’m fighting tooth and nail against nature to keep my distance.
But they’re fighting harder to keep me in their grasp.
When it becomes clear that the Resistance is closer than we ever thought, I don’t know who I can trust.
Can I finally take control of my gift, or will it take control of me?
Savage Bonds is the second book in J. Bree's The Bonds That Tie series. It centers on Oleander - Oli - who has to deal with the repercussions of outing one of her gifts to her bonds and the other gifted. After letting her gift out, she is finding it harder to reign it in, especially her desire to complete the bonding with her bonds. But Oli is scared that the more powerful she becomes, the more dangerous and uncontrollable she will be, so she is determined to keep her bonds at bay. They don't make it easy, and with the Resistance getting closer to them everyday, can Oli chance not being able to control her gifts?
I swear, I'm surprised I'm enjoying this series as much as I am. I find that it's really hard for authors to write a reverse harem without it coming across as just smut, or cheesy, but I got to hand it to J. Bree ... she is doing a great job writing a good reverse harem. It's a slow burn one, and I think that is the trick. Oli isn't jumping into bed with them all and we get 300+ pages of sex, but we get to see Oli actually get to know her bonds. Befriend them. Build a relationship with them. It's nice. My only complaint about the series so far, is that I feel like the world could be developed a little more. The readers are left to assume a lot - the politics, and the whole bonded system among the gifted - and it can get a little confusing. Especially how their gifts work. Spoiler warning ahead, but it seems clear in this book that for Oli, North and Nox, their gifts are like separate entities living within them, which, I assume, is not the norm. There is an animalistic nature to the bonds - the touch them and die possession, the protective nature, the comfort of her bonds scents, and the rage another woman's scent provokes - that I am not sure is typical of all gifted people, or just Oli and her bonds. Because there is obviously something different about them. And while it sucks that Oli's bond took control and completed the bond with Gryphon, it worked out for the best. She has now completed one bond, and the world hasn't ended. A sign that maybe Oli was worrying for nothing.
Also ... ATLAS ... BRUTUS!!! Honestly the highlight of the book is that nightmare Brutus. lol
All in all, I'm really enjoying this series. I really like Oli, her strength, and her soft moments with her bonds and her friends. I like that she has finally bonded with one of her bonds, and I like Gryphon. I like all the bonds really, except Nox. But I feel like there is a story there that will change my perspective. There has to be. J. Bree wouldn't write about a bond that we have to hate, right? I can't wait to read the next book! :)
North hands me a glass of water and I frown at it.
Oli: "I'd rather have a coffee."
North: "You've been unconscious for two days. You can have the coffee after you've had the water."
I feel like if I murdered this man right now, I could argue my case in court and have it be counted as justifiable. Atlas: “Take whatever the hell you want from me, take everything. You want my car too? That one might hurt a little but only if you’re shit at driving.” Oli: "Atlas, I hope you’re ready for the most uncomfortable meal you’ve ever eaten in your life because this is about to get rough.” Atlas: “I feel like we’re at a wake, except it’s just our wills to live that are dead,” I squeeze my eyes shut and take a deep breath, my head swirling with all of the emotions I won’t let myself feel but that my bond is writhing with. Jealousy, anger, wrath, blood, pain, destroy them all. Fuck, my periods are going to be next level now that my gift is back, I can freaking tell already. Gryphon: "What the hell are you thinking about? Your bond is humming right now."
I blanch and turn around on the spot, groaning and smacking a hand over my face.
Oli: "It's your fault! My bond is a whiney, horny little bitch and you're waving a goddamn red flag at it right now. Put a shirt on!" He uses his professor voice on him, that calm and professional tone that screams disciplinarian.
Nox: “Branson, let this be a lesson to you that you should never provoke monsters. Miss Fallows is just trying to work. There’s no reason for you to be harassing her, and if I find out you’ve been in here again, I’ll do a lot more than choke you.” One by one, he breezes through all of the warmup machines and then when Vivian gets an attitude at him and throws him onto the mats, we get to watch as he beats the shit out of the shifters and the other physically gifted in the class. Gabe refuses to go up against him. When one of his football teammates tries to call him out on it, he just smirks and shrugs at him.
Gabe: “My Bond will take the entire room out if we fight. I’m saving your life right now, Matt.”
Even Vivian pauses to look over to where I’m sitting on the rowing machine, and when I grin at him and throw in a wink for good measure, Gabe throws his head back to laugh at the unease on everyone's faces. If they all want to talk shit about me being a monster, then they can deal with my teeth when I rip their throats out. Metaphorically, of course. He raises an eyebrow at me and taps his form with the pen.
Vivian: “You’re coming over to get put into a specific group, aren’t you? What makes you think I’ll just pop you in where you want? I don’t do favoritism.”
I grin at him, completely unrepentant.
Oli: “We both know you do, just a little. Sawyer: “You mean to tell me I’ve been walking around all day with a Draven nightmare and I had no fucking clue? We need to find a bar, I need some shots,”
Sawyer says, his voice a little hoarse. I forgot about all of the history with these creatures and immediately I want to protect Brutus, to shield him from them all thinking bad things about him. He’s cute and little and I love him. I love him. I lift him back up onto my shoulder and he blends in with my hair, disappearing into the silvery strands.
Oli: “Don’t call him a nightmare. He’s adorable and I would kill for him.”
Even Gabe blinks at me like I’m stupid, it’s a little insulting.
Gabe: “That’s a nightmare creature, Oli. That’s literally what they’re called. I don’t care if it looks like a puppy, it will eat you if it’s commanded to.”
I pull a face at him.
Oli: “Brutus would never. You maybe, but he loves me. I know it.” Atlas: “If you burn, I burn with you. You’re not alone, Oli, not for one second. I told you before, I’m not afraid.” Gabe chuckles at me, as he grabs his boxers out of my hands and pulls them on before I’ve made the decision of whether I’m looking or not.
Gabe: “It won’t bite, Bond. I won’t either, unless you ask me to.” Kieran: “You just watched it tear a man apart, you can’t pretend that they’re docile now.”
I wave a hand back at him.
Oli: “Yeah, because Sharpe threatened North! That’s not killing someone, that’s taking out the trash.”
He shakes his head slowly and as I walk away from them, calling Brutus back over to my side, I hear Kieran mutter to Gryphon,
Kieran: “You’re in so far over your head, she’s going to eat you all alive and I’m going to enjoy the show.” I take a breath and remind my bond that men ain’t shit. He rolls his eyes and hands them to me without uttering a word, and I decide that I’m keeping him forever. Keeping my secrets, not loathing me for my gift, and sharing his food with me even when I’ve eaten enough already not to warrant it? He might be it for me. Oli: “I’ve done nothing wrong. Nothing, even when I really freaking wanted to. So if that asshole comes out with a bad attitude, you can tell him to shove it so far up his ass that he chokes on it!” Oli: “Can we kill North’s secretary? Can I kill her and hide her body, please? Are we sure we’re the good guys? Can we be bad for, like, five minutes? I don’t even need five whole minutes, I’ll have the bitch out in a spilt fucking second.” Atlas: “You could go there naked and I would still worship you… everyone else would just have to die. A sacrifice I’m prepared to make.” North: “You said ‘incident’. Oleander, this is not an incident, this is an emergency.”
I clear my throat and giggle a little hysterically.
Oli: “Po-tay-toe, Po-tah-toe, right?” Oli: “Thank you! I should really learn to take an extra set with me while out moonlighting with North. He was such a brute with my last pair, don’t let the suits fool you,”
I say with a smirk, and Sage slaps a hand over her mouth, desperately trying to keep her giggles in at the withering stare North directs my way.
Sage: “I was unprepared for what a friendship with you would look like. I’m not sure I want it.”