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.
Let's talk about magic...
I'm just going to explain myself a little bit here because otherwise I probably won't be making a whole lot of sense to a whole lot of people and I want to talk about magic for a couple of reasons...
One because we're living in troubled times right now and I think we need to find the good and the magic that's in this world where and when we can and because I found some magic right here in a book called 'Alpha Heat' so here's where I get to tell my story of how I came to find some magic...
A few years ago my husband and I took our son and his partner out to dinner because it was our son's birthday and it's a thing that we do in our family where the birthday person gets to pick the restaurant that they want to have dinner at thankfully the birthday dinners at McDonald's are long gone. This restaurant is quite well known locally and even on a bit of a national level as well...ok, so you get my point here right...it's a really nice restaurant. Anyways, we all enjoyed an incredible meal and at the end of it I said to our son, "how was your dinner?" and he looked at us and said "James must be magic because he took everything that I never thought I liked and turned it into the most amazing meal." so having shared this little slice of my life I now feel compelled to say...
"Leta Blake must be magic because she took everything that I thought I never wanted to read and turned it into the most amazing story that I loved...and maybe Michael Ferraiuolo helped a bit as well but I'll talk about that a bit more later.
So here I am back in a world that includes MPREG, knotting, fisting and more, but I read 'Slow Heat' and I didn't even bat an eye once I got into it,I was all in and I enjoyed the hell out of that story. I also admit that i got it because I was asked if I wanted to review the second book, 'Alpha Heat' on audio and I saw that the narrator was once again Michael Ferraiuolo so I said 'hell yeah' and once again I was all in I mean it's not like this was going to be my first MPREG story right? What I didn't expect was the fact that while it wasn't the first one for me...it was by far the better of the two. Not that 'Slow Heat' wasn't good...I gave it 4 stars so I think we can put that idea to rest but in my mind 'Alpha Heat' totally kicked it up a notch because...
While we've still got MPREG, knotting, fisting (off page thank you very much Ms. Blake) we've also got two MCs that honestly when I met them in the first story I wasn't feeling any warm fuzzies. You know the old saying take them or leave them...well if you'd asked me before I listened to 'Alpha Heat' I would have said ok, leave them. But having made the commitment to give this a fair and honest review I'd essentially taken that option off of the table for myself.
So now that I've had that lovely little ramble let's talk about the story and why I wasn't suppose to want to read this, much less enjoy it...first off there's Urho and Xan. We met both of these characters in 'Slow Heat' if you read that then you can probably jump ahead a little bit here but if not than just know that Urho is a doctor and trust me when I say for the purposes of this story that's a very good thing and while he's friends with both Jason and Vale (read 'Slow Heat) he originated as Vale's friend, while Xan was Jason's best friend and roommate at college and continues in this story as Jason's best friend.
Throughout the course of 'Slow Heat' I just never warmed up to either of these men and that was fine with me they were secondary characters but all that has changed here, because in this story they're the main characters...well them and Caleb...Xan's asexual and aromantic Omega and here's where I'm going to reinforce what the author has already said 'there is no cheating in this story.'
So what else wasn't I suppose to enjoy in this one well...one of the characters has a bit of a kink for rough sex and humiliation and all I can say is holy crap this is SO NOT MY THING! more so than anything else but I was determined to see this one through and in spite of this I was really getting into this story plus I was starting to really, really like Urho and Xan and then we met Caleb and damn, Caleb fascinates me. I'll be the first to admit for a lot of the story I ran hot and cold on whether or not I liked him but I was always fascinated by him so continuing became a non-issue I was in it for the long haul.
Now what else didn't I like...well, there was Xan's father and let me just say if you've read or listened to the audio book, I can't imagine that I'm alone on that one. Next we have Xan's cousin, Janice and while I can't exactly say that I didn't like Janice, I can very truthfully say that I didn't like his behavior and I think this is as good a time as any the segue into what I did like about this story...
So let's carry on with Janice because like Caleb I think there's so much more to Janice than meets the eye. Honestly I'm hoping that Janice will find himself some redemption in another story and Caleb I honestly can't imagine that there isn't just so much more to Caleb than what we've seen here.
In general there are so few stories with characters who are asexual/aromantic that I'm fairly comfortable saying that this is maybe the second or possibly third book that I've read with an asexual/aromantic character who has a fairly important role in the story and for myself I liked the way that the author handled this. I never felt that Caleb was being ignored or that his importance to Xan was ever diminished but at the same time the author didn't take things too far the other way making it feel like Xan was being patronizing or condescending when it came to Caleb. To say that I found Caleb to be a unique and fascinating character is probably understating things a little but we'll go with that.
It's also been a while since I've read a book that left me wanting more about as many secondary characters as this one has...there's Janice, Caleb, Wren (or Ren, I'm not sure how that was spelt) and Xan's brother Ray. While I wasn't exactly a smitten kitten when it came to Xan's father his brother Ray was an entirely different story. I feel like I'm leaving someone out in all of this but I think you get my point which is that the author has created a number of characters that have depth and dimension creating characters that compelled me to want to know more about them.
There were a couple of births that happened during this story and once again Ms. Blake's balancing act of giving just the right amount of detail was spot on for me and I wasn't even a little bit squicked out about them.
Ok at this point I'm going to talk about the narrator because damn, this reviews getting long...I mean seriously I'm cutting into your reading time here and that's just sad and wrong so I'm going to just say a couple more things and then I'll shut up, I promise...
First about the narrator...Michael Ferraiuolo...I mean really do I need to say more? The man is a consummate professional when it comes to audio books he not only gets the job done but he does it with flare bringing life and depth to the characters and the story.
and last but not least in a time when we need all the magic moments we can get thank you, Leta Blake and Michael Ferraiuolo for giving me over 15 hours of magic.
*************************An audio book of 'Alpha Heat' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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