Author: A.M. Arthur
Publisher: Briggs-King Books
Genre: Fantasy – Paranormal
He didn’t want an alpha to save him, but fate had other ideas…
Braun Etting was raised to know his place as an omega by his alpha father’s cruel words and fast fists, and he expects nothing but violence from the alpha who may one day mate him. His older brother Kell mated a cruel alpha who abuses him daily, and Braun is terrified of that seemingly inevitable future. When Braun’s father dies in a car crash, leaving Braun an orphan, he’s sent to a halfway house for omegas. But on his fourth night there, he witnesses a horrifying crime that sends him fleeing to the streets alone—and edging into his first heat.
Tarek Bloom is settled in his workaholic, single lifestyle, even if it is somewhat embarrassing to be a twenty-eight year-old unmated alpha. He enjoys his job as a constable, helping people and solving problems, so he isn’t prepared for his life to flip upside-down when he walks into his beta friend Dex’s apartment to help with “a problem.”
The problem turns out to be an unmated, nearly in-heat omega orphan who Dex and his husband rescued off the street last night. The even bigger problem is that Tarek feels the mating bond for this terrified omega immediately—and he’s pretty sure the omega feels it, too. But Braun hates alphas as a general rule, and no way is he giving in to the bond. All mating leads to is violence and suffering, so no thank you. But Tarek’s gentle kindness slips under Braun’s emotional shields, and Braun begins to want. To dream. All Braun has ever known is violent alphas, but Tarek is determined to make Braun trust him—and to trust in the idea of their happily ever after.
NOTE: This is a non-shifter Omegaverse story with alpha/omega/beta dynamics, heats, knotting, and mpreg. In this world, omegas are second-class citizens with few civil rights and almost no protections under the law. Trigger warnings for physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. 67,000 words.
This is my first reading of anything considered “omegaverse” and in case I am not the last person familiar with the genre, this paranormal world is where men have the characteristics of wolves with alpha, beta and omega, but do not shift into wolves. Omegas are able to get pregnant when they are in their heat and only alphas and omegas can procreate. Betas can adopt, but alphas are the preferred child to have, at least for one of the offspring. Omegas have limited rights, can be mated off to whomever their parents choose and if they are without parents, they are put in a halfway house, like an orphanage – and it’s about as great as those! It is an interesting take on the shifter genre.
For fans of A.M. Arthur, this series is definitely different from her other books for the setting, but the strong characters with troubled pasts, wishes to make a better world, or at least their corner of it, are the connections the author has with her other work. There is definitely a suspension of disbelief, particularly for the idea of male bodies adjusting to allow a womb to be created, and a bit of sadness that is seems girls do not exist at all, but then again, that is the point of fantasy, to explore something outside the norm, right? Braun is our omega, who had a very abusive alpha father and Tarek, who is an alpha and does what he can to not be a stereotype as he does want to help make a better world and the story is told from both of their points of view.
The part of Braun being in heat and the description of what he went through was a bit more detailed than I needed. However, I was able to see the value of it when Braun spoke later about the difference when you choose and are in control of choosing to be someone one compared to when you just need sex for relief. Aside from that, Braun was sometime challenging to like because he started off too scared to talk to anyone, then part way through he did not seem to have the sense of when to talk and when to observe, but he is also young and very inexperienced at life.
I really liked the supporting characters of betas Dex and Serge, who are married to each other and both are suggested to have interesting back stories. Although I’m not sure if that will be explored in a future story, I do hope they continue as supporting characters in the series. They have that practical, think things through kind of sensibility while also being passionate about what they believe in – a good balance to headstrong alphas and sometimes headstrong omegas!
The book has a happy ending, for the most part, for the main characters, but also manages to end on a bit of a plot cliffhanger for a relative to one of the main characters. On the plus side, and perhaps because of that, the sequel is expected to be out not long after this book! If you like the shifter and paranormal worlds, if you are familiar and a fan of omegaverse, with liberal amounts of sex scenes, you will likely enjoy this story.