by J. Bree
Book 6 in The Bonds That Tie series
The gods live among us.
I thought that the death of the man who tortured me, broke me, and then hunted me to the ends of the Earth would be the end of our fight; but it’s only the beginning.
After thousands of years of being apart, our god bonds are reunited once again; and they’re not ready to go down without a fight.
They’ve woken up hungry.
All of the research in the world couldn’t have prepared us for what’s to come, enemies and wars fought over millennia. Now we’re being forced to act, but this time, we have the advantage.
This time, we’re Bonded.
Are we strong enough to survive the gods and their plans? Will we ever live in the peaceful world we’ve fought so hard for, or is history doomed to repeat itself?
Yes, another very delayed review on a book I've read months ago, but oh well! It's here! Unbroken Bonds was one of the books I couldn't wait to read, and while I was sad it was delayed, I totally understood. If you didn't know, J. Bree needed gallbladder surgery, and had to slightly delay her release. If you have never had a gallbladder attack - you are lucky, and hope you never have it. Gallbladder attacks are one of those things I swear hurts more than labour. So the fact she only delayed it by a little over a month - she did great, and let me tell you, it is worth the wait.
I will admit, I was a little confused at the first of this book, because the way the last book ended, I think I assumed that Oli was captured, and everything went to shit. So when this book began, and the fight continued, I was confused. That is literally the only issue I had with this book. THE ONLY ISSUE! It was exciting, it tied it's loose ends, it was romantic and sexy as hell, and it ended exactly how I was hoping for it to end. J. Bree has done an amazing job writing a reverse harem series that doesn't rely on the sex, but is fully sustained with its interesting plot and character development. I haven't had a whole lot of luck with reverse harems - the only one I really enjoyed until this one was Ruthless Boys by Caroline Peckham and Susanna Valenti - but J. Bree has convinced me to keep reading this genre - and it now one of my automatic buy authors.
Because I don't want to spoil this epic conclusion to The Bonds That Tie, I'm being vague, but I want you to enjoy this series as much as I have. This series is one of my best reads of the 2022 year honestly, and I can't wait to see more from J. Bree (and get around to reading her already released books).
The Gods have Woken
The Eternal lives within Oleander Fallows.
The Crux lives within North Draven.
The Corvus lives within Nox Draven.
The Soothsayer lives within Gryphon Shore.
The Draconis lives within Gabriel Ardern.
The Cleaver lives within Atlas Bassinger. The Soothsayer: “I would never harm you. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. You’re mine. Nothing changes that.” A very inappropriate giggle tries to burst out of my lips at the very idea of someone calling North and Nox ‘shadow boys’. I know that if I look at either one of them right now, I will lose the fight and dissolve into a fit of laughter. I mean, what could go wrong?
North: “A variety of things, Bonded. Don’t tempt fate,”
North drawls at me when I’m stupid enough to say it within his earshot. Gabe is sitting on the other side of Atlas, nursing a small glass with an antacid in it. His face is still looking a little green as he sips away at the mixture. When I give him a questioning look, he grimaces at me.
Gabe: “The dragon ate too many of the Resistance, and apparently, that doesn't agree with my stomach.”
Memory: I can see the rampant need in him to fix me and wipe away the damage, but I have already started to accept that this lifetime of ours is over. Just another chapter in a book that doesn't seem to have a happy ending… or even just an ending in sight.
Memory: The Corvus: “We’re not all going to get out of here alive. If you need to take our souls to live, do it. We will return to you again in another cycle,”
the Corvus says, but I shake my head.
The Eternal: “There is no use being here unless we're together. There is no me without you.” I’m tired. More tired than I ever wanted to admit to my Bonded. So tired that I hope I don't wake with the next cycle or maybe ever again. Maybe I need to give up, to know that the small pockets of joy that I have found with my Bonded are all we’ll ever get, to go to my final resting place at peace, to know that at least I got to meet each of them. If only for a few moments in a thousand lifetimes, I got to know those who complete my soul. North: I’m never going to lose Oleander again. Do you call her the Eternal as well?
It answers me quickly enough, clearly listening in on this conversation, though it hadn't made itself known to me.
The Crux: My bonded is Eternal, always. As much as I love his bond and the way it had worshiped me last night, I love this man more. Is it weird to pick favorites?
Gryphon: “As long as I'm your favorite, no,”
Gryphon mumbles again under his breath, pulling me back into a kiss as his hands frame my face gently. He cups the side of my face and presses a gentle kiss to my lips, murmuring against me,
Gryphon: “The one feeling that the god-bond woke up with, that stayed with it for the entire time he was in control of my body, was the overwhelming need to protect you, covet you and worship you… to destroy anything that might harm you or upset you. It's a relief to know that if I'm going to have something like that living inside of me and sharing control of my body, at least we're on the same page about that.” Atlas: "Everything will be fine, Sweetness. Stop frowning. He wouldn't want you fussing over him like this, not when he's not awake to enjoy it.”
I scoff a little and then follow him out of the door, dragging my feet a bit. He opens his mouth, but then Sawyer’s voice calls through the house,
Sawyer: “Just let her in, dickhead! She's the closest thing Sage has to a sister. Plus, we're all alive thanks to Oli and her Bonded Group. You're not going to get very far by pissing off North Draven’s Bonded, and rumor has it, Nox has finally decided to cozy up with her. I, personally, would rather fling myself off the roof of this place than go toe-to-toe with either one of the Death Dealers.”
A goofy grin spreads over my mouth at the mention of the rest of my Bonded Group. Atlas scoffs at me, leaning down to murmur, not so quietly,
Atlas: “He knows my god-bond’s called the Cleaver, right? He has more than just the shadows to contend with now.” Sage: “You know we've been sending him to see a therapist, right? The same one North wants to force you to go see. I think you just did more for that guy with a two-minute baring of your own trauma than the therapist has done in weeks of speaking with him. Maybe that should be your major when you head back to Draven.”
Sage lifts her cup up to her lips, hiding a smirk behind it.
Sage: “You know, if the world doesn't end or anything.” That's a little bit sweet from him, and I duck my head. Naturally, Gabe and Atlas both notice.
Atlas: “It’s Nox, isn't it?”
Atlas says in a wary voice.
Atlas: “That's definitely a Nox smile.” Oli: “Do you think we'll ever get used to the way they speak? What are we going to do once we’ve gotten rid of all the threats and we just have these angry, murderous god-bonds living inside us? What are we going to use to distract them?”
We turn down the small path towards our house, which is further away from the rest of the Sanctuary and its inhabitants, and Atlas slides his palm down my back until he gets a handful of my ass.
Atlas: “I think we can distract them in other ways.”
I scoff back at him.
Oli: “So a giant orgy, twenty-four-seven, to stop them from ending the world? That doesn't sound exhausting at all.”
Gabe’s chuckles turn into full-blown belly laughs.
Gabe: “I’m willing to give it a go if you are, Bonded. I think that sort of makes us superheroes in this situation.”
Oli: “Right. So selfless,”
I throw back at him, shaking my head at both of them. All of the fun and games fizzle right out of me, but before I can get too far into my own head about overstepping, Nox calls out,
Nox: “Black, you need to start Transporting these back to North's offices. Lock them in the safe there as you go. No, not that one. Use your eyes, they’re clearly in piles! You need to take them in order, starting with that one. That one, Black! Prove to me that you have a functioning brain here.” When Sawyer makes the sound of disgust at my loving, I amp it up even more.
Sawyer: “Sage told me she saw that thing eat like a hundred people in the Wastelands, and you're sitting there telling it how much you lovey-wovey it? That's fucking creepy, Fallows. Honestly. You should tone it down a little.”
I shake my head at him and talk to August as though he hasn't spoken.
Oli: “Should we get the others out? Should we play with the snake for a little while and let it test out the room too? It’s been such a long time.”
Sawyer: “Draven, if you get the snake out for her, I swear on my Bond’s life, I will be out of this room so fucking fast, none of you will even know which direction I left in,”
Sawyer says in a panicked tone, a tremble to his voice that makes me cackle like a witch. Kieran: “Is that one going to let go anytime soon? I don't feel totally comfortable speaking about any of this with that one in the room as well. What’s to stop it from getting pissed off at something I say and coming after me?”
The Corvus tilts my head in the curious way they all do.
The Corvus: “We're always here. We're always listening. You have never had a conversation without my hearing it.”
Kieran: “Well, that's fucking creepy,”
Kieran says before turning back to North. North rubs a hand over his eyes with a pained sigh.
North: “It’s not funny. I still want to go down there and murder him. Fuck it, put some pants on Nox. We’re tearing his head off of his shoulders at the very least.”
To my horror, Nox actually moves me away from his chest as though he’s on board with this stupid plan.
Oli: “Don’t you dare! If you get out of this bed right now, Draven, the only murder that is going to take place is your own. Don’t smirk at me. I’m dead fucking serious right now.” Atlas shoots Nox a dirty look from the other side of the bed.
Atlas: “If you’re sleeping in here, then don’t be an asshole and drag Oli around everywhere. Learn to share.”
Nox just stares back at him.
Nox: “No.” Oli: “I don't wish them dead just because they don't like me. That really would make me a monster.”
He smirks at me again, lifting our linked hands to kiss the back of my hand sweetly.
Gryphon: “That's all right, the rest of us will be the monster for you. Gryphon: “Who would’ve thought that the girl who hated the treadmill would be correcting other people’s stances?”
She scoffs at me and groans a little under her breath.
Oli: “I still hate the treadmill, and you were an asshole to me. The real reason I'm here today is because Vivian was a true gentleman.”
Black looks over at her like she's crazy, and Rockelle jabs a thumb over his shoulder.
Rockelle: “That Vivian? Because that Vivian's a way bigger asshole than Shore has ever been, that's for sure.”
Oli props a fist on her hip as she pulls herself into her own fighting stance.
Oli: “You better not be talking smack about Vivian right now, Rockelle. I will piss in your Cheerios so fucking fast.” North: “Don't be an asshole about this.”
I glance up at Nox as his lip curls and he shrugs.
Nox: “I’m not going to apologize for not feeling bad about that dickhead being dead.”
North: “I’m not asking you to. I’m just saying Gryphon can't help feeling a certain way about his father being dead. Don't be a dick about it.”
Nox: “I’m never a dick.”
That’s the biggest lie I’ve ever heard in my life. Gryphon: Don't worry about me. I'm more worried about you right now.
Oli: You should be worried about me, because when I get there, I am going to tear the souls out of every single living creature in that place that has ever wished harm upon our community or my Bonded. I'm going to commit acts of crime on such a scale that it will rock everyone to the core. You should probably prepare your men for that, and this isn't even my bond speaking.
A hand slowly wraps around the top of my arm and draws me up until I'm standing with my side pressed against Nox’s as he sends through the mind connection,
Nox: Burn it all to the ground, Oleander. Burn it, and let's be done with it. Oli: If that's what you think is best. Just promise me that no one is going to try and stab you in the middle of the night for suggesting such a thing. That will definitely make my bond cranky.
I smile at her.
North: As if anyone could get past all of us. As if anyone would try, Bonded.
She shrugs and then leans up on her tippy-toes to kiss me, a simple press of our lips together. But the moment she touches me, my control snaps. My arms band around her waist as I deepen the kiss, ignoring the groans behind me.
Atlas: “We’re out in the open! You’re the one who calls the rest of us out for that,”
Atlas snaps, and I find myself acting completely out of character when I do nothing more than lift a finger up to him, flipping him off. Oli: “Do you really think she doesn't know? Or that she's just convinced herself that she does? I can't imagine not knowing.”
Gryphon shakes his head again, rolling his forehead against the soft flesh of my thigh as he groans at the firm tension of my fingers as I scratch.
Gryphon: “You know what this feels like because you have felt a true Bond between us. How else are they getting everyone into the wrong Bonded Groups? Unless they really have been manipulating people's minds… Except that none of these people know what a Bonded Group really feels like. They get butterflies at the idea that someone belongs to them, and they think that's it, that's enough. They haven't felt what it's like to look at someone and have their entire world shifted on its axis so that that person is the center of it. They don't know what it feels like to look out and see your heart living and breathing outside of your own body. They don't understand what I felt when I saw you.” Oli: "What are we going to do with our days if Gryphon isn't having to train people all day? If Nox and North aren't doing tactical planning and research and we're not having to house people running away from conflict… What are we going to do?”
Gabe carefully sets down his tools and then takes the drywall off of me, putting it down at our feet as well. Then he frames my face with his hands, gently leaning down to me. I’m sure we look like an absolute mess covered in dust and debris from the building site, but neither of us care as my breath catches in my throat and he stares me dead in the eye.
Gabe: “I think what we’ll do is spend a few years doing absolutely nothing except spending time with each other without any obligations. Then we might travel, see the world, and do all of the things that we're supposed to do. Then I think that nothing sounds better to me than a million kids.” Oli: “A Draven baby,”
I murmur, and Gabe grins at me, pure sunshine and happiness.
Gabe: “I don't care who goes first, Bonded. I know that I'll be able to convince you to have just one more with me.”
I shake my head at him again, picking up the drywall and getting it back into place, happy for the distraction to calm my racing heart. We work quietly for a moment before I find myself having a whole new mental crisis.
Oli: “What if I do only want one? What if the thought of more than one is terrifying to me and that's it?”
Gabe: “Then just have one. Like I said, it's going to end up a Draven, we all know it. To be honest, Bonded, if that's what you want too, then that's okay with me. I'm more than happy playing football with our kid no matter what last name it has or what color hair. Though to be honest, I think white would be pretty cute.”
I blush again and mumble under my breath,
Oli: “My hair was originally black, you know, as black as the Dravens’, so there's a pretty good chance it's going to be black, no matter what.”
Gabe shrugs again, picking up his hammer.
Gabe: “It doesn't bother me either way, and I already know it doesn't bother anyone else either… except for maybe North. Have fun having this conversation with him someday.”
I hope that day is very far away. There's never an expectation of being with either of them alone anymore because they find it easy enough to share me between them, and the only thing stopping us from taking advantage of the empty building is the fact that it is a school for young children, and I refuse to be inappropriate in such a way. Atlas rallies hard to convince me otherwise.
Oli: “I can't stand up in front of an entire community at a meeting, acting like I'm so pious and good, if I've been railed by the two of you in one of their kids' classrooms. It's just wrong!” Sawyer: “Considering how fucking perfectly they’ve archived all of their paper shit, they really did not give a fuck about labeling files or setting up any sort of indexing matrices. Honestly, I feel like showing up at your house and punching Atlas in his smug, rich-boy face in the hopes that his dickhead ancestors feel it. But I also like my soul where it is, so that's probably not the best idea,” North: “Will you ever take anything seriously? How are you not fucking terrified?”
I hear footsteps, and then more hands are on me, these ones on my wrist as though Nox is taking my pulse. They already know that I'm alive, clearly.
Nox: “Just because devotion looks like two different things doesn't mean they're any different. You covet her power and want to protect her so much that she never has to use it. I enjoy watching her eat god-bonds alive.” Gryphon helps me sit up, his fingers stroking over my neck as he checks in with me again.
Gryphon: “We had to take out the Shields ourselves to let the rest of our personnel in, but I'm pretty sure Gabe just ate them. Quick, effective—”
Nox interrupts with a scrunch of his nose.
Nox: “He's going to be a mess once we get him home after all of this.” North: “I will put you over my knee and have you screaming if you can’t switch that brain off yourself, Bonded. Everyone is fine. Everything is fine. The only thing we have left to worry about now is how many times I can make you come tonight before I have to share you, so focus on me.” The way that they bicker with one another over small things and discuss big plans for the community. How they organize their time together and share their ambitions with one another, and the way that they're a family, just as vibrant and amazing and loving as the one whose ashes I scattered this morning. It might be completely different, but in a lot of ways, it's exactly the same. I found my home. I've fought for it, I've bled for it, and now I get to enjoy it. My Bonded and I deserve it.