REVIEW: 'Alpha Heat' by Leta Blake
Title: Alpha Heat
Series: Heat of Love #2
Author: Leta Blake
Published: May 11, 2018
Publisher: Self-Published/Leta Blake Books Cover Artist: Dar Albert/Wicked Smart Designs
Genre: Fantasy; Erotic Romance
Length: 424 Pages
Tags: Gay; Asexual; M/M; M/M/M; Menage; May/December; Forbidden Love; M-Preg; HEA; CW: Bullying, Physical Abuse
About Alpha Heat
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. Resigned to his miserable future, Xan contracts with Caleb, an asexual, aromantic omega with special requirements of his own. Their friendship is a comfort, but Xan craves the love and sexual dominance of another alpha.
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 Caleb’s acceptance and support, 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.
4 HEART READ
Sometimes a book is so smooth we don’t know what sucked us in. This is true of Alpha Heat, the current installment of Leta Blake’s Heat of Love series, as well as Slow Heat, her original novel. And while Alpha Heat can be read as a standalone, Slow Heat is very good with characters who are central to Alpha Heat. I’d recommend you read them both in order. Their plots drew me in and wouldn’t let go.
Ms. Blake has created a world of non-shifters who permuted from the humans we know. This new species is basically human, but has no females, only omegas, betas, and alphas. Because Omega males have narrow hips, their births are dangerous – mirroring most of women’s history on our planet. This leads to some nice social commentary on the role pregnancy plays in holding Omegas (and by extension, women) from reaching full potential in areas where Alphas (men) succeed.
In Blake’s Omegaverse, Alphas who prefer to bottom are held in contempt. Betas are ignored, and Omegas have few rights. The rigidity of roles mirrors the ways in which we currently pigeon-hole humans, lessening everyone’s options. Plus, Blake introduces us to “Erosagape” a biological love bond which can’t be fought. This nicely parallels human pheromones, which seem to play a bigger part in attraction than we imagine.
Blake creates three powerful main characters, whose unique challenges link each other like puzzle pieces.
Anyone who has a partner knows it’s tough to live with another person. It takes a skilled writer to make the case for choosing to live with two individuals rather than simply one. Blake creates three powerful main characters, whose unique challenges link each other like puzzle pieces.
For Xan to realize his preference to bottom doesn’t determine his worth, he needs Urho, a strong and gentle, but older alpha. Urho, whose Eroscape died in childbirth lost his sense of purpose and regains it through protecting his mates. Caleb, an asexual Omega, contracts with Xan so both can avoid sex outside of heat, when biology calls. This frees Caleb to channel creativity into his preferred path, and gives both a chance to be parents. Caleb sees Urho as the perfect complement, giving Xan what he’s lacked with Caleb. Can the three find a unity, bucking every statute, every precedent their culture demands?
I love the way the characters’ growth drives Alpha Heat’s plot. Each guy meets his demons head on by maturing past society’s traditions.
For example, Blake indicates, “Xan’s bruised cheek pulled at something inside Urho, like a fishing hook to some part of his soul, tug, tug, tugging until he wanted to rip it free or…do something else. He yearned to act-to be tender or violent, he wasn’t sure. But he definitely wanted to behave in a way that was forbidden.” Lovely imagery. But to be truly mature, all three must move past knee-jerk defiance, in order to become comfortable in his own skin.
And one scene had me doubled over with laughter, as a doctor runs between three competing emergencies. What professional hasn’t had the day when everything hit at once? I recalled my own version, which made the scenes even funnier.
I love the way the characters’ growth drives 'Alpha Heat’'s plot. Each guy meets his demons head on by maturing past society’s traditions.
Finally, some of Blake’s sentences made me sit back and reflect. “’It’s a delight and absurdity, love. In some ways, I think you should be grateful you don’t have one,’” Xan’s pater jokes. Or how about this? ”’Our children will grow up knowing true love comes in all packages. That there are different kinds of love and friendship,’” Caleb tells his mates.
As a disclaimer, I’m an old feminist, who feels some M-Preg portrayals negate the biological and cultural difficulties for both males and females in our current landscape. Instead, Blake added to the conversation with Alpha Heat. I was wowed by the respect Blake engendered for her three flawed main characters. That admitted, if you’re a fan of this genre, you might inflate my 4.5 heart rating to 5!
A copy of Alpha Heat was provided to Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter, by Signal Boost Promotions, at no cost and with no expectations in return. We offer our fair and honest opinion on behalf of our readers.
Meet the Author
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake's educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.
For more from Leta be sure and visit her website!