Hi there! I’m eager to share this review for a dystopian future M/M romance from Chris T. Kat. MENDING THE RIFT is an mpreg (male pregnancy!) tale in a society where alliances are forged by marriage and breeders are a hot commodity.
About the book:
In a future where man’s ability to reproduce is severely compromised, humanity has adapted to survive. Breeders—male and female—have become precious commodities, and they are strictly guarded and subject to limitations.
Luca Walker is a breeder. Though he knows what’s expected of him, as the youngest son of the Northern Confederacy’s Vice President, he’s held out against the pressures of an arranged marriage because he longs to marry for love, not duty. But he’s been promised to Colonel Liam Smith and there’s little he can do about it, no matter that Luca is secretly in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray.
When Luca finds himself pregnant with Marcus’s baby, Smith is furious and vows to take what is his—by force, if necessary. Now Luca must fight for his life and the life of his unborn child… as well as the love of Marcus and the happily ever after he’s always dreamed of.
Who about a little taste?
Marcus rappelled off and stepped onto the ground with a crunch of his boots. Pointing at the opening with the askew ladder, he asked, “Don’t tell me you seriously considered climbing down this way.”
Luca shrugged. “I’d have preferred spontaneous levitation, but it didn’t happen.”
He yelped when Marcus put an arm around his torso and lifted him to his feet, as if he weighed nothing. “Hey!”
Marcus silenced him with a glare, and Luca gritted his teeth while Marcus thumped dust off his clothes. “Your father is livid.”
Luca swallowed. He’d expected worried, maybe a bit mad, but livid? His father never got furious at him. Not for long, anyway. Being the baby of the family had its perks. “Why?”
“Why? Seriously, Luca, you have to ask why?” Marcus patted Luca’s behind more firmly than was strictly necessary.
Luca shifted, trying to get away from Marcus’s arm. When that didn’t help, he slapped Marcus’s hands away and stepped aside. He couldn’t think when he was so close to Marcus—when the man touched him, he sent shivers up and down his spine. He ignored the glower Marcus directed at him. “Yes, seriously. He knows I don’t want to marry Smith. I don’t want anything to do with all that shit. I want to decide what I’m going to do with my life.”
Marcus shook his head. “Smith is a good man. My brother Kyle worked for him. He said he always treated his people well. If you want I could try to get Kyle on the phone so you can talk to him. That is, if I can get a hold on him. Trust me, you’ll be in good hands.”
“You don’t get it! I don’t want to be in good hands!”
“No?” Marcus raised an eyebrow.
Luca huffed, a small smile forming on his lips. “Well, yes, of course I want to be in good hands. But I want someone to love me, and not just for my ability to become pregnant. I want… you.”
Luca’s heart thundered in his rib cage. There, he’d said it. The ball was in Marcus’s court. Sure, it had only been one night, and Marcus’s reaction afterward hadn’t been promising, but maybe he’d just been scared? Maybe he feared to lose his job? Nonetheless, there was more going on between them, and they both knew it. That one night had just been the last logical step. Luca regretted nothing.
For a moment Marcus seemed startled, and there was a softness in his eyes that was solely reserved for Luca. The softness vanished too quickly for Luca’s liking.
Instead, Luca was greeted with Marcus’s usual, scrutinizing gaze. “You don’t want me, and you better never mention this again. It was a mistake. Now get it out of your head and be a good boy.”
This is an interesting dystopian future M/M romantic suspense. Several hundred years in the future, after war ravaged Earth and what remained of civilization has adapted to lowered fertility, it seems that males begin to spontaneously develop internal female sex organs–what we would consider semihermaphroditic, as they have no external female genitalia.
Breeders, male and female alike, had been sheltered and kept from working and even being present in society when they are pregnant, but times are changing in the Northern Confereracy (which exists where Germany and Austria once did) where Luca is the youngest of ten children sired by his father and carried by his dad. All of Luca’s siblings are prolific breeders and Luca–at 22–is well past the usual age of marriage. He’s holding out for a love match and is enamored of his bodyguard, Marcus. Luca is headstrong and frustrated that he’s betrothed to Captain Liam Smith, a man he’s barely met. He runs on the eve of the wedding, only to be tracked down, again, by Marcus. In the kerfuffle, Luca learns he’s been made pregnant–against his will–and is only calmed by the knowledge that his baby is Marcus’ and not that of Capt. Smith.
While Luca, his family and Marcus, do their utmost to keep the pregnancy hidden until the 10th week so Marcus can claim Luca and petition for marriage, Capt Smith becomes enraged. No one expects the lengths he will go to to get Luca–and when this does happen, the terror and torture is bad, bad, bad. The Southern Union, under a tentative truce with the Northern Confederacy, wants to study Northern breeders, and Luca’s a perfect specimen. There’s a lot more going on than simple revenge.
Expect multiple attacks, kidnappings, delayed nuptials, a growing bond between daddy, belly, and daddy, and some yummy sexytimes. This is a book that does not spare the action, and Luca’s life is not the simple path one would imagine for the youngest son of a nation’s Vice President. Lots of political intrigue, and danger, are part of this plot. I will admit to getting a little exhausted by the constant high tension/high stakes. I really just wanted Luca and Marcus to disappear into a cave, or something, to avoid the threat of capture and cuddle.
I struggled with the dialogue, as I truly expect speech patterns and idiom to change in the span of 200 years, and it felt very much 21st Century American-English, when we were set in 23rd Century central Europe. There didn’t seem to be many advances in technology, either, besides the medical breakthroughs regarding Breeders. So, the worldbuilding, as a whole, was lacking, for me. I did like the subplot/subtext of breeder prejudice, and respected both Luca and his dad’s attempts to subvert the restrictions placed on Breeders so that they could be whole persons with occupations and aspirations, not just baby factories.
In total, it was an interesting story. I like Mpreg and this one was really about the pregnancy. We follow Luca throughout the 36 weeks of gestation, and beyond. All of that was fascinating, to me. I loved how dedicated Marcus and Luca were to each other. There are several loving relationships present in the book, which was good to read.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the author:
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.