Bound by Secrets by Tracey Jane Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For the first third of BOUND BY SECRETS, I was increasingly certain that this would be my favorite of the CAULD ANE series to date. Brodie and Payton’s love story has been highly anticipated since the beginning of the series and I had high hopes and expectations for their romance.
Tracey Jane Jackson did a stellar job of creating the background story for Brodie and Payton’s love story. She started from the moment Brodie and Payton first met ten years ago. Brodie knew instantly that he’d met his forever mate (truth be told his body had sensed it the moment she was born), but since Payton had not yet reached 25, she had no idea. She knew only that she had a huge schoolgirl crush on the much older prince, but assumed he’d never return the sentiment. In order to make life a little more livable until Payton was of age, Brodie volunteered for a five-year stint with the military.
We then fast-forward three years to see that though Brodie has kept himself away, he makes every effort to ensure Payton’s safety and security without her knowledge. Skip ahead two more years: Brodie returns and barrels his way back into Payton’s life, declaring her his mate and quickly overwhelming Payton with his overbearing and gruff personality. As much as Payton would like to believe Brodie really is her mate, she has too many doubts and concerns to run into his arms. She spends the next 4 plus years butting heads with Brodie until Red Fang almost kills her.
Here is where I wish the background part of the story had stopped and we’d begun in real time. Instead of hearing that Payton decided to stop pushing Brodie away, I wanted to experience it. As a reader, we go from the two fighting each other at every turn to being in love and we don’t really get to see the change or the emotions behind it as they allow themselves to trust each other and believe in what they have. I understand it was supposed to be a catching-up of sorts, but the most crucial part of the story to me is where they fall in love and I felt like I missed it. Yes, Payton had always had feelings for Brodie. Yes, Brodie knew from the moment he met Payton that she would be his mate. But in the other two books we got to experience the part where Samantha and Kade and Pepper and Connall fell in love and in this book where I’d been waiting so long to see Payton and Brodie do the same, I missed it. It was glossed over and was just a fact of the story.
The rest of the book was basically Payton and Brodie’s mating as well as the action and suspense that always follows the Cauld Ane (with people trying to hurt the royal family and their mates). The story was interesting and flowed well (though I’ll admit even with the refresher we received at the beginning I still found myself a little confused with so many bad guys from the previous books to remember and keep track of). I enjoyed the story but I was never able to quite embrace the story the way I had the prior two because I wasn’t a part of Brodie and Payton’s love story. Also, all of the Cauld Ane stories have been very clean sexually, which I can appreciate—though this one might have gone a tad too far in that direction for my taste. It was VERY behind closed doors and fade to black and I wouldn’t have minded a touch more heat to their relationship— especially since the word mating can’t be avoided given their paranormal nature. I need something to bring me back to the steamy mood after a word like mating. *Shudder* I rated BOUND BY SECRETS 3.5 stars for the above reasons and rounded up because I think it was the potential of what I knew Brodie and Payton could have had that led me to demand so much.
There are several mentions of Max and Niall (members of the famous band Fallen Crown) and their possible love matches in BOUND BY SECRETS. I’m never one to pass up a good rock star romance so I’ll be very interested to read their story in the next books in the series. Although I do wonder what will happen since it seems that all the bad guys have been sent off to Pohnpei—but I’m sure Ms. Jackson has a way around that!
**Copy provided by the author/publisher for an honest review.
**Reviewed by preppea on I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews and The Romance Reviews.
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