Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new dystopian-Omegaverse M/M romance from Leta Blake. I’m doing a mini-theme week for the next few days all about trios of love. Yep, menage-y fun. ALPHA HEAT is the second book in the Slow Heat series. It’s set in a post-female world where males of three genders have a highly-ordered society. I loved SLOW HEAT, the first book in the series and plan to share a review for that soon.
In the meantime, drop down to catch my review and enter the book giveaway!
About the book
A desperate young alpha. An older alpha with a hero complex. A forbidden love that can’t be denied.
Young Xan Heelies knows he can never have what he truly wants: a passionate romance and happy-ever-after with another alpha. It’s not only forbidden by the prevailing faith of the land, but such acts are illegal.
Urho Chase is a middle-aged alpha with a heartbreaking past. Careful, controlled, and steadfast, his friends dub him old-fashioned and staid. When Urho discovers a dangerous side to Xan’s life that he never imagined, his world is rocked and he’s consumed by desire. The carefully sewn seams that held him together after the loss of his omega and son come apart—and so does he.
But to love each other and make a life together, Xan and Urho risk utter ruin. With the acceptance and support of Caleb, Xan’s asexual and aromantic omega and dear friend, they must find the strength to embrace danger and build the family they deserve.
This gay romance novel by Leta Blake is the second in the Slow Heat universe. It’s 130,000 words, with a strong happy ending and a well-crafted, non-shifter Omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. No cheating. Content warning for brief sexual violence.
This book, set in a post-female “omegaverse” world is filled with males of three genders: alpha, beta and omega. Alphas are the most dominant, and have the most rights and privileges in society. They are the only gender allowed to officially mate omegas, who are genetically-altered males that have a uterus. Thus, alphas breed with omegas, and the omegas give birth to alphas, betas or omegas. Betas are relegated to service jobs in society. Omegas become the property/responsibility of their alpha husbands–and they go through heat every several months or so. Heat is a painful experience for an omega, and the clawing need to reproduce is only assuaged by knotting coitus with an alpha. And, while betas and omegas can receive an alpha, it’s forbidden by law and religion for an alpha to be “unmanned,” or mated, like an omega.
Okay, so Xan Heelies was a secondary character in the first book. He’s an alpha, though small, and the only alpha son of a wealthy bonded pair. He’s known his whole life he’s wanted to be an omega–and he’d convinced his childhood best friend, Jason, another alpha, to breed him as an omega when they were in university together. This was before Jason found his Erosgape (pronounced Er-os-gah-pay) or heartmate. It’s a visceral connection that occurs between some lucky alpha and omega pairs. Xan knows he won’t find and Erosgape for himself–not as he’s “unmanned.” Xan is practically shunned by his controlling Father–who keeps Xan from his compassionate pater, the omega who birthed him. Xan still has deep feelings for Jason, and resents Jason’s Erosgape partner, Vale. However, when Jason and Vale have important news to relate, Xan is there, and again runs into Urho, a widowed alpha and one of Vale’s closest friends.
Urho is older, a veteran of the Great Wars, and still mourns the loss of his Erosgape love, Riki, after nearly twenty years. Riki died in childbirth, a fate many omegas experience. Since then, Urho has worked as a medic to all, but omegas in particular, helping wed and unwed omegas with challenging heats and deliveries. Xan finds Urho to be very appealing, but he knows the stoic alpha would never service him like an omega.
In fact, Xan has a contracted omega, one he is bound to, but doesn’t have amorous love for–and Caleb his partner prefers this. Caleb is another societal anomaly; though physically stunning, Caleb is aromantic and asexual; he only wants an alpha to help him through his heats, and prefers only good company and compassion all the rest of the time. Caleb wants Xan to have a discreet lover who can fulfill his needs, but Xan only finds a brute alpha who physically abuses Xan (while mating him) for being unmanned.
Xan, unfortunately, meets Urho one night after being abused by his tormentor/lover, and Urho’s confused by the situation, and his reaction to Xan. Urho had always found Xan intriguing, but he’s unsettled by the unexpected arousal. There’s a lot of complication surrounding Xan’s situation: if he’s reported to be unmanned, he’ll be jailed, or worse. He’d lose his money and his family standing would suffer. Due to the whisperings around their town, Xan’s Father has decided Xan and Caleb should move to another town near the coast to oversee the opening of a new branch of their company. Xan knows it’s further banishment, but he can’t refuse. Caleb;s not happy to move, but getting away from their town means less of a chance that Xan’s risky behavior will be discovered. The hell of it is, well, Urho was just beginning to come around on the idea of servicing Xan, a deal that Caleb was brokering to help Xan escape his abuser…and Xan was sure he could find happiness with Urho, and Caleb, at his side.
This is lush world, with intricate boundaries and deeply connected characters. The constraints of society are real, and the consequences are potentially dire. But Xan can’t help who he is, any more than Caleb can. They have a strong love, even if it’s not romantic. Urho isn’t sure how he’ll fit in, but Caleb’s blessing is sure, and Xan is such a willing lover. They have other complications too, like Jason and Vale needing Urho’s medical assistance, and a deadly flu epidemic wreaking havoc. Xan and Caleb’s new home in a remote village soon becomes a refuge for their friends, even as it harbors an interloper with designs on Caleb. I don’t want to reveal too many spoilers, but the climax is intense. There are urgent medical issues occurring at a time when it seems no help is available. Xan, who has long thought himself useless, becomes a hero to many and recognizes his true worth, and his true loves: Caleb and Urho. It’s not a typical menage, as Caleb has very little sexual intimacy with either Xan or Urho, but he’s important in ways none of them had predicted.
This story, with all it’s rules and complications, has an ending that is unequivocally happy. There are babies and commitments and the bad guys get their just desserts. And, I think we have hope of more books to look forward to in this series. Xan’s elder beta brother needs love, as does his cad of a cousin. I love how all the characters in this book felt like real people, and how palpable their love, or their grief, felt. I’ve read omegaverse and mpreg stories before, but this is the first series where I’ve really craved the next book. For a post-female world, this felt strangely accessible. It was beautiful watching Xan outgrow his self-loathing, and embody the strong alpha his lovers knew him to be.
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a copy of SLOW HEAT!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Authors:
Leta Blake is the author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.