Author: Leta Blake
A lustful young alpha meets his match in an older omega with a past.
Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-thirties, he’s long since given up hope that he’ll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He’s fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.
When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can’t be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.
But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha–as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn’t sure it’s worth it. But Jason isn’t giving up his destined mate without a fight.
This is a standalone gay romance novel, 118,000 words, with a strong happy ending, as well as a well-crafted, non-shifter omegaverse, with alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. Content warning for pregnancy loss and aftermath.
Jason, a young alpha majoring in Biology, was not expecting to run into his erosgape (destined mate) in the middle of his campus library. He HAD planned to finish school and then have a romantic start with his mate in an arranged meeting between young alphas and omegas. But when life throws a beautiful surprise at Jason, he accepts it happily. But he might be the only one. Vale, an older omega, had believed he would never meet his mate. Between his income as a professor and his inheritance from his parents, Vale had his life planned out. Being accosted by a nineteen year old student, who turned out to be his destined mate, was not a great surprise. Between that and unfortunate events in Vale’s past, the relationship between these two soulmates won’t be easy.
What an amazing experience this well-crafted story was! From the complex world to the well-rounded characters and the slow build of a loving relationship, this book was unforgettable. I adore this kind of romance novel, the kind with real consequences and problems where the sweet new love is tempered, but not overwhelmed, by tragedy and genuine difficulty. This was a phenomenally original and delightful book.
This story is set well after an apocalyptic disaster only called the Great Death which killed all human women and resulted in the man-made genders of omega, beta, and alpha to continue procreation. Though years of war and reform have led to more rights for omegas, these men are still forced to surrender all of their possessions to their alpha mates and they still have to fight for reproductive rights. Generally, my main problem with A/B/O books is this culture that encourages alphas to be oppressively and violently controlling, to the point where it is seen as fine when an alpha abuses his supposedly beloved omega. And this is what is accepted by the culture in this book. BUT unlike some books, this one looked that kind of thinking dead in the eye and said, “Oh, no, that’s bad. Things shouldn’t be like that.” For example, Jason is often advised by alphas outside of his family (and even within his family) to just take control of Vale’s life and assets as his own. To tell Vale what to do and make decisions based on what is right for his life, not Vale’s. Jason, the dear boy, did not listen and instead chose to respect his mate’s choices. Jason’s character was so well balanced that, while he did sometimes take charge of situations and boss Vale around (particularly in bed), he never came across as controlling. This dynamic was delightful and I’m glad the author chose to confront this issue head on.
And that was just the world! All of the characters were interesting and wonderfully developed. Jason was so kind, smart, and considerate that you just had to love him. Along with this, he was a charming combination of youthful uncertainty and alpha confidence. This charm definitely won over Vale, who was very independent and understandably grumpy about the new uncertainties in his life. These two had such great chemistry, and their relationship developed gradually and believably. And the secondary characters, from their friends to Jason’s parents, were also complex characters with multiple dimensions who changed and grew as the story progressed.
I’m obviously a fan of this book, but there are some things that people might not like. Vale and Jason’s relationship takes a while to develop, and this is a long book. Also, there is a graphic miscarriage in this book and Vale talks in some detail about being assaulted. And it is worth noting that this is not the average mPreg book, though I can’t say more without spoilers. Personally, I thought the hard details added depth to the book and I am a big fan of big books but I can see why some people might be bothered.
All this said, I highly recommend this book especially if you enjoy realistically gritty books that have a bright and happy end. I know I’ll be looking into this author’s other works!