Rating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

The world’s supernaturals are locked in conflict over whether to expose their existence to humans. The vampires are in support of a controlled coming out, while the shifters are resistant to letting humans know there are supernatural creatures living in their world. A big vote is coming up and tensions are running high. In the midst of all this, vampire Sinclair Davis has received permission to study at a predominately shifter university. They have the only Ph.D. program of its kind and Sinclair is eager to be part of the exchange program. His parents are wary; vampires and werewolves have notoriously bad relations going back years and their peace is fragile. Not to mention that Sinclair is still a Living vampire, not a Turned one, making him vulnerable to injury and death. But Sinclair is determined and ultimately prevails in attending the school.

Things aren’t all smooth when he arrives at college, however, as Sinclair’s shifter housemates are very clear they are not happy he is there and are making life lonely and miserable. When Sinclair meets pack alpha, Mitchel Edgehill, things are even worse. Mitchel is definitely not pleased to have a vampire living among his wolf pack, and his own family history has made him particularly wary of vampires.

Though things start out rocky, eventually Sinclair befriends the other wolves, Mitchel in particular. The men find an attraction growing between them, and Mitchel and Sinclair realize they have fallen for each other and want to become mates. But with so much tension between the wolves and vampires, not everyone is happy about their relationship. And when a fragile peace is interrupted by a violent attack, the men may not both make it out alive.

This story caught my attention because I am a fan of vampire/shifter pairings (you can see my Favorites list here), as well as enemies to lovers stories. Forbidden Bond works really well showcasing both of those themes. The story actually has a bit of a Romeo and Juliet vibe to it. We have two factions, the vampires and werewolves, with historic animosity and a barely contained peace. Both Mitchel and Sinclair are the children of prominent families in their supernatural community. And there are those on the outside who do not want to see their mating. The story plays on this theme nicely, setting the men up as adversaries at first (or at least Mitchel sees Sinclair that way), but ultimately with the men falling for each other despite the fact that tensions are high between the wolves and the vampires.

Colgin does a nice job with the world building here and the story has a creative twist on vampires, in particular. I can’t remember ever reading a story that distinguishes between vampires that are Living versus Turned. In this world, when vampires have children, they are born as Living vampires and are then Turned generally as they reach adulthood (in Sinclair’s case, he has chosen to wait longer than most to be turned). It adds a new take on vampires, as well as providing some suspense when Sinclair is threatened, as he doesn’t have the full strength or abilities of a Turned vampire. The conflict between the shifters and vampires was interesting and Colgin establishes the history well. We are kept apprised of what is happening in the larger world by introductions to each chapter through the words of a journalist capturing the goings on. There is some excitement toward the end when the conflict escalates (as well as a kidnapping and some graphic torture of bad guys), and I think overall the world building here is engaging. I will note, I found the timeline somewhat confusing here, though. The book opens with a Prologue that describes the historic vote coming in two weeks. But the vote itself doesn’t seem to happen in the course of the story and we know the timeline is weeks (or even months) from the start of the book. This seems like a pivotal issue and I found it not clearly explained what was happening.

Mitchel and Sinclair are sweet together and I enjoyed them as a couple. As I said, things start our rocky, particularly for Mitchel as he is very resistant to Sinclair living in the midst of his pack. I enjoyed watching their friendship grow and there are some nice scenes as the men work through their conflict and get to know one another. I do feel like things jump quite quickly from what felt like a solid friendship forming to the men being very committed to one another. I had trouble really connecting with the strength of their feelings given that not much of the romantic side is really explored on page before they are already having deep feelings for one another. I wanted more of that relationship development to really feel the intensity and urgency as they first confronted others with news of their relationship, as well as when Sinclair is threatened.

This story starts the They Bite series and two more books are projected to be coming out next year. I am not clear if they will also feature Sinclair and Mitchel or if they will include new main characters. The main story arc does resolve here, but this world allows for lots of story options. I am definitely intrigued by what I have seen so far and am very much looking for more books in the series.

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