Bound By Nature by Cooper Davis
The mind may forget, but the heart remembers…
A Forces of Nature novel.
It doesn’t take Hayden Garrett’s college degree to figure out why Officer Josh Peterson is the last man alive he wants to face. Not because of the council’s harebrained idea to broker peace between their clans.
It’s the sweaty palms that prove Hayden never got over his embarrassing attraction to his alpha rival. Mate with him? Nothing fills Hayden with more desire—or dread. Josh doesn’t have a gay hair in his fur. At least not one he owns up to.
Despite Josh’s reputation for being a connoisseur of female flesh, he’s always cared about Hayden. In a different world, they might have been friends. Now, face to face after five years, the bitterness in Hayden’s eyes fills Josh with regret for what could have been—should have been.
As Hayden and Josh journey through rituals—and intimacies—that will knit their souls for life, passion and anger flares, revealing a powerful secret. The truth about a long-ago sharing of hearts, bodies and souls that ended in tragedy…
[Oh look, more naked chests! …………………..]
I was really excited to read this novella by Davis since I enjoyed her previous book quite a bit. Although it seems werewolf books are becoming generic and predictable, there is something about Davis’ writing and the emotion to the relationships that I was willing to suspend disbelief and dive into the characters and plot offered. Unfortunately while the actual writing is decent, the plot has so many holes that I found myself throwing the book several times. This is especially frustrating because I like parts of the book. I guessed the big secret/ending very early on and as the book progressed I got more apprehensive that I would be right – and very much wanted to be wrong. Sadly the plot takes a decent and intriguing idea and turns it into the most clichéd, ridiculous ending. So much that while I like the author still, I can’t recommend this at all.
The story is told in two parts from both Hayden and Josh’s point of view. The book opens with a prologue that establishes the two alpha wolves and their prickly relationship. Hayden is very attracted to the straight Josh and feels that Josh mocks that unwitting attraction. The two finally agree to spend the night of the full moon together over Christmas break and this has consequences that end up ruining both mens’ lives until they can find their way back to each other. If the plot hadn’t taken the easiest, most ludacris way of resolving this, the concept is actually interesting with a clever reveal.
From the opening prologue the story jumps from the present time to the night in question, gradually giving the reader more clues about that momentous night. The reader slowly learns that the two shared a passionate kiss, but later were involved in a horrific accident that led to Josh testifying that Hayden was drunk driving and sent to jail for vehicular manslaughter. Now five years later after that horrible night, including two years Hayden spent in jail, Josh wants to claim the broken man as his mate. The story slowly builds as Josh struggles to slowly give out clues at a snail’s pace since Hayden doesn’t remember that night at all. There are many more issues involved of course and here the story starts to jump the shark in a big way and never recovers.
The plot has significant holes from the beginning but most of these could be ignored if the ending isn’t so ridiculous. The first is that the story continually calls Hayden a Dartmouth graduate yet he went to jail before he could finish his degree. Then Hayden supposedly was heavily intoxicated yet there is no blood alcohol analysis of this and later events show Hayden hadn’t drunk at all so this conviction stretches belief already. Furthermore Hayden sustained a severe head injury in the events of the night (trying not to give too many details away) and his later miraculous memory recovery is impossible. He could have remembered any number of details up to his injury, but he also suddenly remembers every single detail from the time he was unconscious and almost dead from a head injury that put him in a 6 week coma.
Additional problems include the fact that Josh sends Hayden to prison to protect him. Not only does this completely jump the shark but it makes absolutely no sense. There was no other way to protect the man? He couldn’t leave the state, the country? What about the werewolf packs that supposedly are large and powerful? Why couldn’t they tell the police? Not to mention the severe mental and emotional damage that is done to Hayden as a result of going to prison and thinking he killed someone, none of that is even considered or resolved. Instead as soon as Hayden remembers, he feels sorry for Josh, forgives him, and is desperately in love with the man, instantly healing all the issues and problems the time apart had caused. I’m willing to suspend disbelief and go with a story that has some stupid moments – even when the boyfriend does things for the “good” of the other person – but the lengths involved in this are unbelievable. The lack of any reasonable response to this, anger, pain, betrayal, is all ignored and if anything, Hayden is blamed for not realizing what was going on sooner and getting together with Josh.
What makes the story even more frustrating is that without the clichéd and obvious aspects, the story could have been really interesting. The characters are decently fleshed out and there is a strong emotional and romantic connection that allows for young love but still common sense in getting to know one another. The clever way of offering a few details from the past and then the future keeps the tension and suspense high. The reader is left trying to guess what happened and why alongside Hayden while the confused and not too bright Josh laments his poor choices. Even this could be forgiven if the choices hadn’t been so incredibly stupid and then instantly forgiven. I guessed the cause early on and kept hoping I was wrong and the story wouldn’t take the most obvious and easy road.
Sadly due to the ending, I wanted to throw my ebook several times. I was shocked at how the characters fell apart as more and more plot holes were revealed. The ending is romantic and sweet but makes no sense considering everything these two men had been through and done to each other, they simply ignored it all and moved on. Admirable in some ways but I just couldn’t believe it anymore and thus the book totally lost me. I’d say reader reaction is going to vary as I’d still rate this one with a decent rating because up until those problems, I was fully invested and interested in the book. Yet I totally hated the ending and the book itself fell apart. If readers can buy into going to any lengths to save the one you love, no matter the costs to that person or yourself such as jail, then perhaps they’ll really like this offering. If the story had explained or forgiven the actions due to youth, immaturity, poor choices, or anything, then perhaps I could have too. Unfortunately I was left with two men who didn’t seem to learn anything and were magically healed with the power of true love. As much as I want to read the fantasy, I just couldn’t buy into it here. You decide though.
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2 thoughts on “Bound by Nature by Cooper Davis”
Oh, too bad the story started to fall apart! I can tell you’re enthusiastic about the author so I’ll keep the backlist in mind, but I’m going to take your advice and steer clear of this one. Published at Samhain? I wonder why it wasn’t a stronger story.
I did like the author and honestly I -wanted- to like the book. Even though I figured out the ending and thought “omg please dont be right” I kept reading and hope it would take a turn.
I’m kind of surprised no one at Samhain caught all the problems with this one. Doesn’t make me feel confident about the publisher.