Slow Heat

Slow Heat - Leta Blake Review originally posted at Sinfully.

4.5 Stars

I’ll admit to not having read the description of this book carefully until I actually started it and thinking I was going into a shifter book. This is not a shifter story, but a story set in the unspecified future after the Great Death of us humans. The world the book is set in consists of only men of three different genders – alpha, beta and omega - whose DNA has been spliced with wolf DNA. They are human, but exhibit some wolf-like behaviors and traits. I’m glad I wasn’t scared off by this as it is not my usual genre and there was so much new to me here, it was my first omegaverse non-shifter mpreg story and I absolutely loved it! Slow Heat is definitely a slow build as 19 year old “baby alpha” Jason does his best to convince Vale, his 35 year old Erosgape – a destined biological and spiritual mate – that despite the age difference and the likelihood of a childless future, they should be together.

Even though meeting his Erosgape omega would be predetermined, Jason is a romantic and he can’t help imagining the day they meet and how wonderful it will be, how he will be devoted, impregnate him and they will live happily ever after. When it happens, Jason’s mind is set the moment he scents his unorthodox mate. The beautiful, perfect omega is going to be his. He may be younger than he expected to be when the moment happens, but he is determined to be the strong alpha his omega needs from the start. On the other hand, if it was as easy as destiny, Vale would likely give in to his biological drive as an omega, but there are negotiations, contracts and strict government regulation of reproduction and sex that stand in the way. He has lived a long time on his own, almost giving up on finding his mate, and is not sure he can give that independence up now, no less saddle this near child with a lifetime of regret. He believes once Jason learns of what he has done in the past and its impact on their future, Jason will opt out of contracting with him and seek a surrogate who will provide him with the children he deserves, regardless of the lifetime of pain it will cause both of them.

You’ll recognize all the issues raised in the socio-political climate as they parallel our own issues with reproductive rights, gender equality and LGBT rights. A history with a sharp decline in birth rates has raised the stakes for conservative religious groups and groups seeking greater rights and independence for omegas, while the government holds childbirth high above all other rights or freedoms. This background is a large part of the story as it colors everything going on with the MCs and the secondary characters.

Jason and Vale’s future is not guaranteed; they need to go through vetting as if it were an arranged marriage. Until the lawyers and families meet, protocol requires there to be nothing but old-fashioned courting. I adored Jason’s wooing of the reluctant Vale. His earnestness, intelligence and vulnerability quickly chip away at Vale’s walls.

While this is a future world, it’s as if the Great Death wiped out not only people, but many records and technological advances. Scientists study what records they have of the old-world female species and the animals that have been lost. There was gene splicing of wolf into human DNA, but there are no cell phones or computers in sight. They use actual landline telephones to communicate. Being a newbie to this sort of genre I don’t have much to compare it to, but I loved the world building and the fact that this future society was still a bit of a throwback to an older time.

Told in alternating points of view, the story really centers on Jason and Vale working out the differences to get to their contracting, committing themselves to a future together. Yes there was the courting I mentioned, but the biological imperative was not denied for long and they sex is filthy hot. Jason and Vale smolder from the moment they lay eyes on each other and that translated into every connection they make, whether it’s phone sex, voyeurism or actual full on mating. I did wish there was more time for Jason and Vale together as a couple since there were plenty of future obstacles referred to, both as a couple and from the outside, and I really wish we would have gotten more than just a glimpse of that.

There were fantastic, complex secondary characters who all had their own issues to work through, from Jason’s fathers and his best friend, to the family of friends Vale created for himself. I adored Jason’s best friend Xan, whose gender identity doesn’t match the one he was born into. I am desperately hoping Leta Blake gives us his story as his predicament in particular was heartbreaking.

My first foray into this genre was definitely a success. If you would like to test out mpreg as I did, I would absolutely recommend this story. Like the other books I’ve read by Leta Blake, I got the complex story and characters I love, with some pretty hot sex and sweet romance; the genre change was just a bonus. I really hope this isn’t going to be the only book we get in this world as there was such a wonderful set up for more, not just where we leave off with Jason and Vale, but with the many secondary characters who deserve to have their story told.