Alpha Heat by Leta Blake

Heat of Love, #2
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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.

This book was as good as the first; in fact, it’s surpassed the first in my mind because I found the story-building complexity and build-up of the relationships in this one to be even more interesting than the first. We do get the characters from the first book around in this one as well, so there isn’t a complete shift/cut-off.

We're not dealing with fated-to-be-mated pairs this time, but three people who don't fit into their traditional roles. While the first was interesting, funny, and had a lot of sexy times, this one delivers even more heart than it does heat (although it does the former incredibly well.)

Xan shows a person who does not fit into the role type he was born into (Alpha), which is a big, confusing no-no in the future society where all alive are men who are supposed to be born to fit their parts. From an abusive father to finding an abusive man to feel his self-hatred, he was written as tragically convincing. My heart ached for him, and the author does an admirable job of bringing a similar struggle that can be compared to transgenderism.

Pairing him with his “omega”, who is also a societal outcast, made it more layered and complicated. Urho hasn’t accepted that he is anything except traditional at first, but he’s forced to accept his feelings and widen his mental scope as this story progresses and his protective instincts take over. Beautiful stuff, so well done and fascinating. Much more goes on with this story other than simply romance and attraction.

Having Jason and Vale on the side was a delight. None of the story is told through their point of views this time, but they show how endearing their relationship has stayed, a new stage in their relationship, and needed humor to complement the otherwise serious story. I missed Jason’s parents, but we hear about them off-page and it was amusing to hear about them fussing over Vale.

This book starts four years after the events of the last book. While the dynamics of Jason's family is missing, we get a brutality from Xan's father and a completely different dysfunctional side effect of his parents being soulmates. There is a violent man at the beginning of this one and the abuse scene is hard to read, but it's raw and real and plays an important point in the story.

The ending is especially beautiful and potent. Urho’s true mate died long ago and he’s led a lonely life. All three of them finding each other is powerful and worth re-reading. It is not actually a m/m/m story, it’s hard to describe, but they all have different feelings for each other that work perfectly well to make a 5-star romance.

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