Lost and Bound ( Mismatched Mates #4), Eliot Grayson
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Smoking Teacup Books
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Paranormal, Shifters, Reconnecting, Knotting, Humour, Series
Purchase At: amazon
Kidnapped, imprisoned, and experimented on for two years, Jared Armitage has lost the will to live. When his captors give him to another prisoner, one who can and probably will take Jared’s life, he comes face to face with the most terrifying thing of all: hope.
Calder’s warlock captors meant to turn him into a monster, and they nearly succeeded. Starved, desperate, and filled with rage, Calder hasn’t cared about anyone in years. Until Jared. Together they have a chance at escape and Calder has someone to fight and kill for. To cherish. Someone he doesn’t want to hurt.
Life after captivity isn’t easy. Jared never wanted a mate like Calder, but he craves Calder’s intense attention, his ability to take Jared apart…and then put him back together again. Even if their mate bond is only temporary.
But Calder’s made a promise—one he’ll die before he breaks—never to hurt Jared or let him be hurt. Unexpected enemies are lurking, targeting Jared, Calder’s one weakness. Their intense bond—and maybe even love—are worth everything, and they’re both willing to fight for it…or die trying.
Lost and Bound contains dubcon and graphic violence. It also includes a monster who torments his mate by being too gentle, the werewolf who can’t stop craving him, and knotting—and a guaranteed HEA. The book has new main characters, but it is best read in series. This series does not contain mpreg.
**CONSIDER A SPOILER AND IT’S BEST TO HAVE READ BOOKS 1 & 2 PRIOR TO THIS REVIEW**
While the last book, The Alpha Experiment, was pretty much a series standalone, Lost and Bound is not. You could give it a go but you won’t get anywhere near the enjoyment you would if you knew Nate and Ian and Arik and Matthew. However, here I am 6 series books deep into the Mismatches Mates world and I’m thrilled that it continues to be such a good series. Lost and Bound is a one hell of a pun and it’s the book series readers needed now. It fits. It takes us back to into the arms of the Armitage pack, revisiting the ragtag, mismatched group that I love.
“This pack is kind of a magnet for hard-luck cases, isn’t it?” he said ruefully, and I had to laugh. “Yeah. I mean, me. Arik. You. It was your pack from the beginning, but still.”
Yes. This. ^^ Nate nails it.
I did not suspect Jared Armitage who was dead and buried as of book #1, The Alpha’s Warlock, would be coming back. But here he is, alive and…well, different. Ian and Matthew, Jared’s cousins, find it hard to believe Jared is really back. They know they buried him under the oak nearby, so what kind of fresh hell is this? Ian and Jared used to be best friends before everything went bad. Before Jared got mixed up with Nates’ arsehole father, Jonathan Hawthorne, and Hawthorne’s developing and nasty magical rebellion. Over two years, Jared supposedly dead, a burial, now this – and he has a bonded mate with him. An alpha mate. A very large alpha mate who looms over everyone, including the other alphas. And what kind of shifter is he?
There are similarities with The Alpha’s Warlock in that the bonding happens through necessity at the beginning for the mates in both books. Then there is a bit of the, ‘does he or does he not care? He did it to help me survive, not because he loves me. Maybe I’m the same. Maybe I bonded because I had to and we can get the bond magicked away’. It’s actually really awesome because of the way it ties some feelings and books and important people together.
Normally with Eliot Grayson’s books I have a stronger tie to one MC over the other. This time I loved both of these MCs equally. They were good for one another and they worked. However, I’m going to embarrass my husband by saying that Calder reminded me of him. Not that my husband is a huge paranormal being, no. What he is and always has been is my greatest cheerleader. Seriously, I swear I could murder someone and he would tell me it wasn’t my fault, I must have had perfectly sound and good reasons to do so, and that I was simply being too hard on myself about it all. At a time when Jared felt at his lowest, when he felt like he had let everyone down and needed to atone, to be a person who made a positive difference, because he felt he never had, Calder gave him the ability and emotional permission to know he was all of those things. He totally validated Jared.
(…) Or the way he’d told me he thought I was brave. That I’d paid for my mistakes. That I deserved to have a home, a family.
So Calder is this gentle but paradoxically intensely large, ferocious shifter. He’s the reason he and Jared broke out of the facility they’d been held captive in for years. Both of them have been experimented on by warlocks. Tortured, starved, and isolated. Hawthorne’s legacy lives on. Calder the longest incarcerated at (if I remember correctly) six years. It’s when Jared is placed in his cell, with the idea of their captors that Calder will kill him for a food source, that Calder realises this is his mate and he doesn’t want to hurt him. Jared gives Calder the impetus, the ability to do what he hasn’t been able to previously. In spite of all this, you read a fair way along in Lost and Bound before you have an inking as to what Calder is, and I enjoyed that. One POV really worked here, but I’d never knock back another Christmas book in the future with Calder’s perspective in it. All the Armitage mates in one book? A Kimball or two? Maybe? Yes!
Apart from Jared finding himself again, Jared discovers there’s more to being in a relationship than just taking, and more to being a man than being on top, not thinking less of someone because they’re not. Then there’s the very-new-to-Jared scenario of being a total size queen, which made me smile. Hey. You know, Calder is a BIG man… in many ways.
The trademark snark and humour of other series books are both here but not quite as ping-pong as usual, especially given who we’re talking about here – I’m looking at you Nate, Arik, Ian and Matthew. It’s spot on though because there is a more emotional aspect to this book. The shock reuniting of family. Jared not knowing if he is a werewolf anymore, if he’s even the real Jared, or a facsimile of same. Then there’s Calder having his own issues that he deals with quietly and privately. Given what he did when he was only twelve and then as long as he could he’s a good man but conflicted. The worry about whether Jared will keep the mate bond when it clearly means so much to Calder also looms. Jared’s insecurities about not being decent or worthy affect that. The realisation of what the mate bond and family and pack actually means to them both is potent.
However, there is an ongoing spleen gag that the Armitage’s, especially Jared, got behind after Arik did a physical check-up of Jared and they discovered he’d had his spleen removed. It then became a focal point for any random moment. It totally cracked me up and I loved it. I had an Invader Zim flashback too.
But that was previous-Jared. This was the new, spleen-free Jared, who didn’t want to be a treacherous, selfish dick anymore.
Heat pooled in my belly. Christ, this mating bond—or who knew, the loss of my spleen—had really done a number on me.
Pain and lightness, because I couldn’t feel my head. Had I lost it? I’d lost my spleen.
It just wouldn’t be a Mismatched Mates book without me laughing out loud and I did because Eliot Grayson is funny, and maybe I’ve never actually grown up.
There’s lots to enjoy and awww over in Lost and Bound and I did both. I definitely wrote a few awws in my notes as I clipped. I also left notes about what certain warlocks could do with themselves. I loved seeing and being with Nate and Ian and Matthew and Arik again, seeing they all had each other’s backs. And OMG! Ian cries. Arik shows he has all the right bits in his heart of hearts. Matthew reveals his depth of compassion and Nate has a lot of forgiveness and encouragement within him. They also give each other a wake-up call if required. The romance story between Jared and Calder was beautiful. Sexy. This is now one of the most beautiful lines ever. You need to have read the book, but it’s grand in its directness, meaning, and simplicity –
“I love you, Jared the werewolf.”
Those 6 words sum the romance of this book up. I love the Armitages and their mates. I enjoy being in their world of magic, pack, and shifters. Calder is now one of them, he’s an Armitage mate, and I could not be happier with the latest addition to their glorious motley crew. 5 Stars!