now and thenRating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella

Fifteen years ago, Robbie and Ivan parted ways. Even though they were marked as soul mates, they knew it couldn’t work between them. Ivan’s family was all in law enforcement, and Robbie’s was from the wrong side of the tracks. They walked away before they destroyed each other. But chance has brought them together again. Now that the coliseum has finally opened and the first big football game is taking place, they are both there to be a part of the excitement. They never expected to see each other again, and their first reaction is surprise.

The instant Robbie sees Ivan in the crowd, he tries to run. Ivan isn’t having any of that. He tracks Robbie down, and their bond flares to life. They know they shouldn’t get together, but they can’t help themselves. They still love each other even though all this time has passed. And the bond draws them together even more. Ivan’s friends and Robbie’s brothers all try to talk some sense into the two men.

Ivan and Robbie spend the night together even though they both expect to walk away again in the morning. The reasons they parted before are still strong in their minds, even though they are both different than they were when they were younger. Once again they part. But neither of them gets very far before the bond, and their love, draws them together again. Now they have to decide if they are really going to try to make a relationship work, even knowing it won’t be easy.

Oh, this one was really good! Set in a contemporary world, humans have mates. And they know that they’ve met their mates when the soul mark appears on their skin, matching the one that appears on their mate. It isn’t exactly supernatural in nature—it is explained that there is a part of the human brain that needs and seeks out a mate. I thought this was a really interesting twist on the whole “fated mates” idea. It was clever and original, tying in just a bit of a paranormal flavor with the world as we know it.

Ivan and Robbie met when they were young, nineteen and twenty, but were only together for a couple of years before they walked away from each other. We don’t meet them then, so this is all related after the fact. But the instant they meet again…wow. Talk about chemistry. Even missing some of the backstory between these two, their connection is powerful. It made the book for me. Without such a potent connection, this story could have easily fallen flat. But these two characters—together and as individuals—drive the story.

The mate bond is a sacred thing—it means guaranteed true love. What I liked was that the hard work needed to make a relationship work wasn’t glossed over. In fact, it was pointed out a couple of times that just because you were mates, didn’t mean everything was easy. Robbie and Ivan are the perfect illustration of that. That being said, I did feel like I was missing out just a bit on why Ivan and Robbie walked away from each other in the first place. I would have liked to see just a little bit more explanation and backstory to get a clearer picture of what happened all those years ago. There were just a few small places where I felt a bit better explanation would have helped me better understand the story.

There was nothing extraneous going on here; it was simply a story of two men meeting again, renewing that amazingly intense connection, and falling in love all over again. The writing was fantastic, and gave me a really good picture of both the characters and the setting. I was there in the moment with Ivan and Robbie the whole time. Yes, there were a couple of moments where I felt like I was missing something, but they were fleeting and easily forgotten as I was pulled into the story again. I can absolutely recommend this book.

The even better news is that this is the first in a series, and there were some hints as to which characters we will see in future books. I, for one, will certainly be picking up the next one. I can’t wait to see what Okati has in store for us next with this series.

Note: This story is now available directly from Totally Bound and will be released officially on May 23rd.

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