Seb really doesn’t want anything to do with shifters. His best friend, Jared, bonded with one and the whole bonding thing makes Seb way uncomfortable. He has zero interest in having a shifter bite him as he feels that being bonded would take away some of his free will, but since Jared is now pack, Seb is also by extension. When Seb is injured due to antics from a rival pack, the pack doctor, Tim, is right there to tend to his wounds.
Tim is calm for a wolf shifter and he likes to be in control and that’s the perfect demeanor for a doctor. But Tim also wants someone for himself and while a bond isn’t guaranteed, Seb pushes all of his buttons and brings out all of his protective instincts. Seb is certainly attracted to Tim, but he’s determined not to get romantically involved with a shifter.
When Seb is truly thought to be in danger, Tim and Seb start out faking a relationship to throw the rival pack off track. However, their relationship doesn’t remain fake for long as the attraction is intense, but Seb still won’t commit. Tim is already lost in Seb and it’s going to take everything he has to show Seb that what they have together can be the real deal.
Bitten by Design follows Bitten by Mistake and the worlds in the books are so interconnected it would work best to read them in order. This book not only features Seb and Tim, who were introduced in the first book, but also the ongoing pack rivalry between the two area packs. The aftermath of book one left Nathan still alive and with the rival pack displeased, Seb is the next best target as Nathan and Jared are off limits. When Seb is spooked by shifters outside his door and is injured, Tim is eager to take care of him in any way Seb will let him.
The attraction between Tim and Seb is the main focus here. Tim is a natural caretaker and everything about Seb calls to Tim, especially his scent. Jacobs does a good job here with the attraction and showing Tim all growly at the thought of Seb being in danger and, well, just the thought of Seb in general. Seb clearly wasn’t falling as easily, or so he liked to keep telling himself, as the very idea of being bonded to a shifter just is not for him.
I found the pace to be a bit slow overall. There is a lot of exposition about a whole lot of things, but at the halfway mark I looked back and thought that not much had happened. The overall story arc picks up from the first book and this part of the story just wasn’t that strong for me. There is still great tension with the rival pack from the previous book, but it seemed that they always had the last word and Tim’s pack had to cater to the other pack’s Alpha for a good portion of this book and the one before to keep the peace, even if they didn’t agree.
Also, I would have preferred more on the characters themselves. Tim is presented as quite a mystery and we don’t learn all that much about him. He came off as being older than Seb, but his age or his rate of aging for being a shifter is never identified. Some more details would have enabled the characters to be a bit more visual. The intimate scenes between Tim and Seb are heated and that’s where the book excels. Beyond the attraction, however, I wasn’t given a clear picture of what else these guys had going for them in the long run and even though it was based on them being potential mates, I needed just a bit more from the relationship.
For all of the build-up and the supposed danger that was lurking, the peak of the story and the final resolution left me underwhelmed, as did Seb’s seemingly quick change of heart. Additionally, as in the previous book, there is little shifting during the majority of the story with mostly mentions of teeth and claws coupled with the pack’s exceptional hearing and sense of smell.
It took me longer to read this book than I would have expected and although I had a few issues, at the end I still liked the world Jacobs has created here. There are more stories to tell with pack members that have my interest. If you liked the first in this series, you would want to continue on here or start at the beginning for a lighter shifter story.