Please welcome Chris McHart and
Mate Me, Hate Me,
Date Me, Love Me
When his father, King Harold, forces Prince Gerome to mate a complete stranger in order to save his unborn child, he complies with a heavy heart and says goodbye to all his dreams of finding love. Gerome’s hurt and treats his mate the way he’s been taught all his life: through power and submission. But with Luis, it doesn’t work.
When Luis is mated off to a stranger, his world ends. He was a carefree student one day and the next a vampire prince demands his submission. He can’t run, but he can hide and hate in silence. So he withdraws until only a shell remains.
Neither of the men has any chance of finding love together until a friend intervenes. Can Gerome forget what he’s been taught all his life, and is it possible for Luis to forget what’s happened to him? Will they ever find their own happy ending? Or can love blossom where only hate exists?
Luis’ mother turned to him and took his hand with her cold one. Her beautiful blue eyes sought his, and she visibly took a deep breath. “I have to tell you something. Please hear me out before you say anything.”
Luis swallowed hard. What would come now? His hands were clammy, but he could only wipe one on his jeans as his mother still held the other. Luis stared at her face and tried to figure out what was wrong. Something bad happened. Something really bad. Blood pulsed in his ears while he waited for his mother or father to speak again.
“The Vampire King from Munich visited us yesterday. He had a proposal for us. His son, Gerome, needs a mate. He’s seen the picture of you at the coven meeting from a few months ago and thinks you’d be a good match. The prince is going to take over the crown soon, and he needs a mate by his side. You, to be specific.” His mother paused and tightened her hold on his hand. “I agreed. A mating to the prince will bring a lot of power to our coven. And the king paid us a good deal of money for the match.”
“You what?” Luis yelled, trying to pull his hand back, but his mother held him tightly. He jumped up from his seat and tried to yank away from his mother’s grasp. What the fuck were they thinking? They had to be kidding. He was not going to mate some guy he never met. They were totally crazy. Nuts.
His mother didn’t relent, firmly keeping his hand in her grip.
“Let me go! I won’t mate someone you picked! What do you think you’re doing?” His voice cracked, but his mother didn’t even flinch.
“Calm down. You knew this was coming. Everyone gets mated. It’s the way things are done,” his mother said calmly, even though her fingers still dug into Luis’ hand. It hurt, but he couldn’t focus on that now. He needed to get away before they married him off. His mind raced, turning over possibilities. He couldn’t simply mate someone. What if he ran away and hid? Would one of his friends help him to lay low? If the king wanted him as a mate for his son, would hiding help at all? Or would they find him?
Get the book:
I read the first book in this series, Alex's Surprise, when it was first offered as a free read from the M/M Romance Group's yearly event. Unfortunately, the cliffhanger ending ticked me off so much that I didn't have any intention of reading its sequel. I thought the cliffhanger was in poor taste and against the spirit of the event. So Saving Alex wasn't on my TBR.
Then this third book in the series became available for review, and having been assured that it did not contain any cliffhangers, I did request and receive a free copy of this book for review from Pride Promotions, as part of the blogtour.
My review forthwith:
I actually quite liked the characters: Gerome, the Vampire Prince from the first book who knocks up Alex and is now forced to take a mate he doesn't know or want if he wants to ensure Alex safety, and Luis, the mostly-human mate, who finds himself sold to the Vampire King by his mother, without having a say in any of the arrangements. I may have shed a couple of tears for him, at his helplessness, at his fear, and at his loneliness. I had no love whatsoever for his mother, who sells him for her own gain, but also felt regret for his father once the circumstances became clearer.
Obviously, Gerome and Luis are not off to a good start, especially after Gerome treats Luis like a possession (which he learned from his father, the King), and basically ruins any chance they might have had for an amicable relationship. In response, Luis, cowered and afraid, retreats into himself, stays in his room, and spends his days watching TV, scared to sleep without one eye open in case Gerome decides to hurt him.
There is a scene fairly early on that is definitely more dubious consent than actual agreement, as the mating between Gerome and Luis requires that they have sex. Now, remember they've never met before, and less than an hour after laying eyes on each other, they are expected to consummate this mating, so the King will send his men to find Alex, who's still pregnant, about to pop and in dire straits. The King cares nothing about that, though - he just seemed to very much enjoy himself forcing his son to do his bidding. As if he had to prove to Gerome that he was stronger than him. Nasty guy, that one.
I was thoroughly enraged by this point, and became even angrier when Gerome, in a complete and utter dick move, shows the cruel and uncaring side of himself to Luis immediately after the consummation.
And then he does it again, for a stupid reason, and because he thinks treating his mate as anything other than a submissive thing he owns is weakness in his father's eyes. It's no wonder that Luis retreats. The Old Laws of the Vampire society are archaic and cruel, and Gerome apparently isn't man enough to even entertain the thought of questioning them.
Months pass without the two men seeing each other - Luis is hiding in his room, Gerome is hiding in his work. Both are supremely unhappy and downright miserable. Until someone not bound by vampire rules has some strong words for Gerome, and he finally begins to use the brain he was given.
I liked the characterizations and how the author allowed the MCs' personalities to slowly emerge over time - Gerome pulls his head out of his ass and realizes what he's done, then sets upon righting the wrongs, and Luis carefully, with baby steps, begins to trust his vampire mate not to hurt him, and they both start to blossom into the men they're meant to be.
I thought that the themes the author used are easily translated into our own societies of today, and how old, archaic laws need(ed) to be changed so all people can live their lives within certain human rights, so arranged marriages, forced marriages, and treating your mate as a possession you own are eradicated.
The more I read on, the more Gerome grew on me, and it became clear that he wasn't like his father, that he actually did care, but didn't see a way out. And it was also clear that Luis is actually the stronger of the two, perhaps not physically, but certainly emotionally and mentally. He managed to share his strength of conviction with Gerome, and made him stronger in return.
I also liked Sam, Alex's partner/husband, who helps Gerome pulls his head from his ass, and D, one of the King's trackers, who becomes Luis' bodyguard and friend. Even Gerome's absent siblings had a part in the changes that take place within the story line.
While I liked the plot and the story flow, I wasn't as enamored with the writing. It's somewhat stilted and doesn't flow well. Some things are repetitive, and the author uses more telling than showing in her writing. I would have liked to connect more with the characters, experience their emotions for myself through their actions instead of being told how they feel. In some instances, the personalities are also a little inconsistent in how they develop, though I was able to explain most of that with the tentative truce the two form - two steps forward, one step back.
There's a grand scene at the end that I quite liked, and while there is a long period of time without any physical contact between the two MCs, they do make up for it at the end.
Not a bad read, and perhaps something to be enjoyed on a nice summer day swinging in your backyard hammock. The title of this book basically tells the progression of the relationship between Gerome and Luis.
This book can certainly be read as a stand-alone, though I think it would be better if you're somewhat familiar with the first book. Since it's available for free on Goodreads (as long as you're a member of the M/M Romance group), I do recommend reading that first so you understand the circumstances for the forced mating, and Gerome's single-mindedness in agreeing to it. While this book doesn't cover all of what appears to be book 2, it does coincide with those events to some degree.
About the author:
Chris McHart lives in Germany, with her husband, slave, Dom, partner in crime, and muse (all in one person, not even she’s that kinky!). She loves her husband, men in kilts and Scotch Whisky. Her idea of a perfect evening is to curl up with her laptop and write (the other options are not suitable to post in public).
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