Jin Rayne is having trouble adjusting to the new life he’s supposed to love. Instead of adapting to being the mate of tribe leader Logan Church, Jin can’t get past the fact that his lover was straight before they met. He’s discovered the joy in belonging to Logan but fears his new life could disappear at a moment’s notice, despite Logan’s insistence that they are forever, end of story.
Jin wants to trust Logan, but that desire will be put to the test both by a rival tribe leader and by a startling revelation about Jin’s existence. At stake is Jin’s life and his place in the tribe. If he’s going to survive to see Logan again, he’ll have to release his fear and freely accept the bond, for only then can he truly trust.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I think Mary Calmes is a guilty pleasure. I read her books and can point out the flaws, of which there are many, yet there is an engaging voice and sheer outrageousness to the characters and actions that delivers an entertaining and fun read regardless. Calmes is the kind of reader that fans love even if the story has issues and I can appreciate that because there is something about the characters that draws you in. I easily read Trusted Bond in one sitting and although it sets up the same situation over and over again – Jin in trouble, again as everyone wants him – the story remains entertaining.
In this sequel to Change of Heart, Jin and his mate Logan are back. Jin is the star of this story as his special status makes him a repeated target. I’d suggest you read the first book before tackling the sequel or re-read the first book if you want to understand it all. You can pick this one up for the sheer guilty pleasure and not care about the various interconnecting storylines and then it won’t matter. I’d read CoH over a year ago and while I could remember some details, Trusted Bond throws out tons of names, details, positions, and situations that seem foreign without any context. I was pretty lost in how the majority of these people and their jobs/positions connected to Jin and his family but after a while I just gave up and didn’t care.
The world building feeds into this confusion since it’s so haphazard. The rules and theories of the werepanther world change to meet whatever tension and drama is needed. This is what happened in the first book and continues here with rules mentioned and then ignored later with no consequences. It keeps the tension high as the overly political were packs have tons of rules, regulations, laws, and protocol that all work to keep Jin from Logan, or so it seems. So the reader is never quite sure what will happen since really anything can. It’s a very sloppy way of creating tension with messy world building at best. Additionally, many of the characters offer information via dialogue that makes no sense. The information is important for the reader but the characters would already know it, so their saying it is a clumsy way of conveying that information to the reader.
The action tends to be very frantic and exaggerated with the characters even more so. Jin is once again the special were panther with abilities never seen in one like him before. He’s the super special flower, the only one in existence that’s like him and well if you’ve read Calmes books before you know how exaggerated and perfect her characters tend to be. Jin is no better but he has warmth and charm that makes you want to forgive his obvious characterization and root for him anyway. His chemistry with Logan is smoking hot and their sex scenes are delightful, sexy, and plentiful. He is too perfect though and he only becomes more so in this book with even more power, even more special abilities, and even more people vying to save or kill him.
The frantic action keeps the story hopping though as Jin manages to be beaten, kidnapped, and/or both no less than three times in a row. There is some relationship drama with Logan as Logan’s gay for you love freaks Jin out. Jin comes to put more trust and faith in Logan and their love by the end of the story and the two have a special, one of a kind connection. Their relationship works even though Logan never really gets out of his rather flat, two dimensional box. The story is all about Jin though so that’s ok. I wish Domin and Koren would get their own book because that’s a couple that nearly steals all the attention when they’re on page.
Really the engaging writing and easy to read entertainment make this a fun guilty pleasure. It has a lot of problems though so for those readers that are bothered by messy world building, clumsy information dumps, perfect characters, and obvious scenarios may have problems with this. It’s not perfect at all and will appeal more to those readers that can ignore the faults because they enjoy the writing anyway. If you’re that reader – you’ll likely adore this. If you’re not, I wouldn’t recommend this.