Damages Incurred is the fourth book in J.R. Gray’s Bound series. The books are designed to be read in order as they continue on and connect to each other. This review may then contain spoilers for earlier books in the series.
Jesse has realized the web of deceit his wife has spun as George comes to collect what is his. However, it’s not as easy to slip back into a life with George in that moment as Jesse still struggles with wanting to be with George completely and adjusting to George calling all the shots in their relationship. Their relationship is further tested immediately as Elliot has completely disappeared. George is consumed with guilt that he has failed Elliot and the search for him further unsettles George and Jesse’s life.
Zac is determined to find Elliot and has made it his new mission. But, he’s still recovering from his last mission with injuries that he doesn’t fully remember getting. Zac is also having flashbacks and memories of a time that he can’t remember and while he is strong, even he can only take so much.
On top of all of this, Rafael’s past shows up. There is certainly trouble brewing there and Rafael struggles with telling George the truth and adding to his worries. The priority is Elliott and all of them have to keep it together no matter the circumstances as time could be running out for Elliot.
This book, and then by nature this series, went heavily into nighttime drama mode in the best of ways. In just a few chapters we reconnect with all of the characters from Daniel and Rafael, to George and Jesse, to Kennedy, Zac, and Elliot. The series started out with Daniel and Rafael as the focal point, but has evolved to carrying many storylines and Gray keeps all of the plots spinning.
The storylines all connect to each other in both subtle and not so subtle ways. This book also starts going a bit deeper into the characters’ pasts. There is internal conflict combined with on page action that balances each other out well. Many of the characters have darker personality traits and Gray is just beginning to peel back the many layers for some of them.
George and Jesse remain a focal point here and their dynamics remain intriguing. Jesse remains in conflict with himself between wanting to be everything George needs and also wanting to be seen as an equal. Their exchanges are well written as all of this plays out with George trying not to be amused with Jesse’s brattiness. Jesse is also trying to get George to open up and finally manages to just merely crack the surface of George’s tough exterior.
Zac took off as a character for me in this book as well. He’s completely fascinating and his commitment to finding Elliot opened up a side of him we hadn’t been allowed to see in the past. While we are given more clues regarding his job and his past, many on page characters appear to know much more about different facets of him than we are privy to. The ending sets up Zac possibly getting pushed to the breaking point and the fallout promises to be spectacular.
Another area that remains true to this series is the BDSM aspect that runs through it. From exhibitionism, to a consensual and heart pounding stalking game, to being invited behind closed doors, the scenes continue to fit the characters, advance the story, and remain riveting.
There were a few areas that did stop the flow of the story for me at certain points and one was a travel scene where I couldn’t get the timeline to work out. We are given access to many characters’ points of view, which is nothing sort of amazing, but a few times the viewpoint slid off and I had to reorient to whose head we were in mid scene. Also, Jesse constantly referring to any emotion he has as feeling like a “girl,” continually caused the story to pause for me. Also, I can also appreciate not wanting to give the full back story of characters upfront and drawing it out is an art form all in itself that Gray primarily handles well. But after three prior books, I could have used a bit more to advance some of the characters as there are still so many secrets in so many areas.
The Bound books have completely evolved over the course of the series and the characters, writing style, and intrigue have evolved right along with it. With sharp, witty dialogue, intense and intriguing characters, well paced action, and an ending that’s far from finished, it’s certainly exciting to know there is much more to come.