Nick and his master turned mate, Todd Ruger, have settled into a comfortable relationship. Of course, Nick is still legally a slave, but when they’re alone, they are a couple the same as any other. Well, not quite like any other. As sentries, Nick and Todd are trained to deal with the paranormal and that means danger for both of them. Their new job requires Nick to go undercover as an orphan slave, one whose master has died. Usually orphan slaves are treated gently and kindly until a new master can be found, but now something is stalking them and doing so in the place that is supposed to be their sanctuary.
Nick must revert to initial slave training and, despite the fact that Todd is nearby, the ruse is difficult on both of them. But when the creature they’re tracking turns the tables and begins to hunt Nick and Todd, they’ll need all of their skills to survive. And even if they do, forces beyond their control could still destroy their unique bond.
Together Bound is second in the Sentries series and follows Marked Yours. For the sake of continuity, I think the series needs to be read in order. These books have been previously released by another publisher, so some of you might already be familiar with them. I’m also going to put out a trigger warning for non-con on this one. There’s enough on page that if this is a problem for you, then you may want to skip the book.
One of things this author isn’t afraid to do is hit the ground running. We’re barely reintroduced to Todd and Nick before we’re tossed into the thick of it. Todd is obviously hesitant to be separated from Nick for even a moment, and their devotion to one another is one of the things that stands out in Together Bound. Nick and Todd’s relationship is even more intense and involved than in the first book and they definitely share a bond that transcends their legal situation. The issues regarding Nick’s slavery that I had with the first book are still there and Nick is often portrayed as being overly reliant on Todd. Some of this is sexual, some of this a natural Dom/Sub situation, but because Nick is an actual slave, I find it unsettling. And I’m not sure why. I’ve read slave novels before and not had this kind of unease, but it’s there never the less. Still, I give credit to the author because she navigates this tricky subject relatively well and doesn’t ignore the problematic nature of it all.
The plot to Together Bound was a tad flat and while Nick and Todd were often thrown into danger, I never felt the stakes were that believable. Even Nick’s emotional trauma felt too easily resolved. And these guys seem terrible at their job. They knew what they were hunting relatively early on, but took way too long to actually deal with it. There’s also the issue of a civil war, which is just sort of tossed in at the end of the book without much development. World building is something this series lacks and it means events get dumped into the background, but never get fully established. It’s probably my biggest frustration with the series as a whole.
Nick and Todd are a sweet couple and they’re hard to not to like. Their devotion to one another is dramatic and touching. Despite the issue of slavery between them, their union is built on love. But Together Bound fails to deliver on the plot and it never developed the world building necessary to really capture my interest. I struggled to become invested in the world and care about its inhabitants. I think there are readers who will feel differently though and if you like strong MCs dealing with the paranormal, you might enjoy Together Bound.