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.
I fell completely in love with Xan and Urho, who are both amazing, complex characters.
Xan is so filled with self-loathing and he has completely given up hope on ever being happy or deserving of happiness even. It was heartrending to read. I wasn’t prepared to feel such depth of emotion for a fictional character, but only a rock would fail to be moved by Xan’s troubles.
Urho was a perfect match for Xan.
I loved their connection and Urho’s acceptance and understanding of who Xan truly is. The first moments where Urho gets a glimpse of Xan’s true self, and his struggle to accept his own reaction to that truth were so intense! Loved that.
At first glance, Urho appears to be quite conservative and rigid in his thinking, but he bends and even breaks the rules when he needs to in order to be able to help others. He’s modest and brave and oh…be still, my beating heart! Just such a lovable, strong & silent type hero.
Xan throws Urho for a loop, because he doesn’t fit their society’s established gender roles and so Urho is required to rethink some of his long-held beliefs.
I was a bit apprehensive about how Caleb would fit in. But I needn’t have worried. He’s such an extraordinary individual. The bond between Xan, Urho and Caleb is not a romantic one, but it is a deeply loving one, just the same. They’re a family unit. The author totally makes it work.
This book also stands out to me because of the astonishing amount of detail that went into the world-building. The author raises some fascinating points about gender identity, sexual orientation and the danger of entwining politics and religion. There’s also a great set of secondary characters that surround the MC’s, friends we know already from Slow Heat as well as new characters that I hope to see again in future books.
Michael Ferraiuolo is a brilliant performer. Simple as that. How he manages to do so many different voices and match them so perfectly to the characters, I’ll never understand. I’m so glad that he did this sequel to Slow Heat as well, because it was absolutely wonderful to hear Jason and Vale’s voices again too. I must confess that I’m something of a Xan and Urho fangirl and I was so excited and curious to hear their story in audio! It was everything I hoped for and more.
I loved hearing Michael Ferraiuolo’s interpretation of their voices and interactions. The nuance and emotion which he brought to these fictional characters took the entire book to a whole new level.
And it was already pretty amazing. I’m awestruck.
Number of stars out of 5: 5