Kaleb Holten’s father’s debt to an underground group The Association has just been called in, and the man can’t pay the loan. Instead of turning over his wealth, he releases his son and Kaleb finds himself thrown into a world where a class of men see themselves as untouchable. Going so far as to call themselves gods.
After the Great Economic Collapse there are no laws that cannot be broken. And Kaleb is forced into a ten-year sentence of servitude where he will have no say, no rights, no value and yet be coveted and protected as if he were a priceless treasure.
Leo Roan, has slipped the noose the Association bound him with by breaking his addiction to ambrosia and Kaleb Holten was supposed to be his last assignment as a doxie Master. But something about the boy begins weaving a new net that will not only ensnare him but the conscious darkness inside, that craves pain, agony, suffering, and death.
I totally devoured the first three books in this series over the Memorial Day weekend. Once I started I could not put it down. I don’t know the author personally but I have read some of her other books and have always found she wraps powerful messages of acceptance and purpose in her deeply thought out stories.
With book one, we are introduced to Kaleb Holten and Leo Roan. Kaleb just turned of legal age and will find out the hard way that children do pay for their father’s sins. As the payoff for a debt his father made with the Association, his world is about to change, but maybe not for the worse. Kaleb held deep secrets regarding his sexual preference but after watching how his father treated his transgender sister, and the isolation he felt when he realized his father was spying on him, Kaleb was trapped not only in his own home but in his own body as well. With this arrangement, Leo will be able to open the door and allow Kaleb the freedom to explore his sexual side, but he won’t be free to do anything else because Kaleb is a doxie.
Leo has been with the Association since the Great Economic Collapse but he wants free of that along with his addiction to ambrosia. Leo has many secrets that will be uncovered in this series but the one I can give you now without spoiling the book is he needs the ambrosia to live and stay strong enough to fight against the ones who want to take down the Association. Ambrosia can be produced in a certain flower or in doxie’s when they are pushed to their limits with pain.
Book one for me was about understanding how far Kaleb’s dedication to his family and the love for his sister will take him. Not thinking about himself, he takes steps to protect his family, even his father who easily turned him over to Leo and we soon will learn if this was a good move or the final step in Kaleb’s life.
Leo has been sent on a mission to find a missing doxie. And after weeks at Leo’s side, Kaleb is suddenly alone. Free of the cruelty the Chimera, he should be rejoicing. But instead, he becomes aware of a void in his heart, he never knew was there until Leo wasn’t there to fill it. When Leo returns Kaleb is faced with the choice of disobeying Leo—forcing him to take ambrosia—or risk losing him forever.
With a single flower, Leo is back under the control of the Association. And what kind of punishment is suitable for a doxie who disobeys his Master, even though it saves his life? Leo has a list of ideas, starting with Kaleb’s first visit to a Gathering.
At the Gathering of the gods, doxies, and mortal men, Kaleb first lays eyes on Aaron. The beautiful doxie is presented by the god Sol. There he will be fed the ambrosia, Awakened to his journey of immortality, and then serve his god, Sol, for all to see. Only the horror of Aaron’s treatment by Sol makes Kaleb realize monsters come in many forms.
By now we have seen the relationship between Leo and Kaleb begin to form. They are not the usual doxie/trainer, there is something odd about these two. Kaleb hates pain, but that isn’t normal for a doxie who should have been trained to love and desire the pain that will take them to a euphoric state. Leo not only loves to dish out the pain, he knows it is vital for Kaleb to experience it. Even with these huge differences, there is a bond there, growing stronger every day.
I was impressed with how this part of the plot was written because no matter what Leo does, it is clear there is a purpose and meaning behind it. Can each moment of pain he inflicts on Kaleb be for the purpose of protecting Kaleb from the other Gods who won’t care about him? So many secrets are still left to be uncovered but one thing is for sure, Leo knows what he has to do in order to claim Kaleb after the year of training is over.
Kaleb is being told now he is nothing but furniture, he has no choices, and his pain is a gift to Leo. A doxie must be broken down and rebuilt if they are going to survive the life with Gods. Kaleb is struggling with his thoughts and feelings, his shame over releasing his body to the pain is wrong, or is it? What is happening with his sister now that Zen is involved and filling Sonny with the truths of this new world they have found themselves in? Can he survive in this crazy life he has found himself in? More secrets unfold in this book. We learn about the monster that lives in Leo, the reason for Kaleb’s birth and we watch as Kaleb begins to realize that his purpose in life is to be himself, even when that means he doesn’t fit in.
At the Gathering, Kaleb has an awakening to what a doxie really is meant to do and there is no way he will be able to fulfill that job, but he is there for at least ten years according to the deal his father made. Aaron makes his first appearance in the story and Kaleb is drawn to him more than even he expected. There is something about this new doxie that makes Kaleb want to love him yet makes him even more insecure about his role with Leo.
Bound Gods: Book 3 Betrayed
The stakes are rising.
As the god-son closes in leaving more bodies in its wake, treason and betrayal against the Association is unveiled. An inquiry for the Goddesses has been called, threatening everything Leo holds dear.
And the Chimera is not about to let go without a fight.
Despite the dangers lurking in the shadows, Leo wants his doxie Kaleb to think of only one thing. Him. His training. His purpose. And embrace the reality of what he is and not be ashamed of his attraction to Aaron, the doxie tossed aside by Sol.
Attraction is one thing. Bringing the boy to their bed is something else entirely. Kaleb can’t possibly want anyone but Leo. A lie Kaleb will pay dearly for. Penance Leo will be more than happy to deliver.
I know this plot twist could make some readers angry. The majority of us have grown to love the team of Kaleb and Leo and to make such a dramatic shift with them was not easy to accept at first. With this being the longest book in the series so far, I found myself not only accepting this twist, but understanding the importance of it as I continued to read each page.
Let me see if I can explain without giving any spoilers. Basically the crap has hit the fan, someone is betraying the Association and helping the enemy take over the Gods. The Goddesses are demanding a meeting and the Gods could soon lose everything, which means Leo would lose Kaleb. The God Son is attacking more doxies so everyone has been moved to one location. This might be great protection from the God Son, but it isn’t looking so good for Kaleb and Aaron.
Leo, Kaleb and Aaron all have a dual personality in a way. Each crave and desire things that they can’t get from a two person relationship. Leo needs to control the Chimera inside of him and the only way to do that is to let the monster out and be brutal. He knows Kaleb can’t deal with the beast so he has to protect him while making sure Aaron and Kaleb are protected from not only the God Son but the trader within the Association.
Kaleb needs to learn to accept the role of being a powerful doxie that he was born to be. Since everything about his future was kept a secret, he is having to learn this quickly and has become overwhelmed. His job is to freely give himself to the Gods, to no have feelings or want a choice about his own life. This is impossible for him because he follows his heart and loyalty and is willing to sacrifice himself in more dangerous ways for those he wants to protect.
Aaron is the balance for both Leo and Kaleb. While Aaron desires what the Chimera has to offer, he relies on the love and tenderness that Kaleb gives to him. Aaron can also teach Kaleb to accept the need for pain that comes from being a doxie and learn to love this part of himself that Kaleb has fought so hard against. While helping Leo with the beast, he is also helping Kaleb release the shame and guilt, at the same time of rebuilding his own self-worth after being attacked by the God Son and being thrown away by the Gods.
All three men have needs that can’t be filled from a two person relationship as it is. Aaron brings the missing pieces for each of them while also finding a place for himself. They are going to need this threesome balance if they will survive the next step in the plot. With the realization of who was betraying the Association things have just gotten more bitter and dangerous for the Gods.
I can hardly wait to get the next book in this series. I am so drawn to this story and the twists that we are getting in this series. The writing is complex, the plot takes the reader down some dark streets but I have always found it clear that we have characters whose souls are begging to be loved and accepted for who they are. Three people living in a society of expectations and rules and when they look in the mirror the insecurities scream at them with the promise of failure and disappointment. I love seeing their strength as a person merge with each other, creating a team that will be hard to fight against when this next phase of the story comes out.