Most omega werewolves want a mate and pups, but Lee Aung prefers an unconventional party-boy lifestyle. Yet at forty-two, he’s stopped going into heat, which means he’s expired goods—no longer a fertile, young omega that alpha wolves drool over. So Lee uses Wet Heat, a synthetic pheromone, to reel in the alpha hookups.
After losing his job at the bank, Lee can’t afford to keep up his Wet Heat habit. His solution: scam free samples by pretending to be a happily mated test subject at Wet Heat headquarters. There, Lee spends two years being interviewed by the reserved alpha scientist, Cain, who at thirty-two is unmated and—up until this point—content with that.
Cain never really felt his alpha instincts, nor took part in the usual alpha/beta/omega social dynamics. But after discovering that Lee has been lying about his unmated status for two years, Cain finally admits that for the first time, he wants to court an omega. Unfortunately, he’s picked the one omega who doesn’t want to be courted.
Lee is an aging omega wolf shifter. In his world only young, fertile omegas gain the attention of alphas. Lee has never wanted to settle down and actually mate any of the alphas, he just likes the chase. Now that he doesn’t make his own pheromones, he uses an artificial pheromone to attract the alphas.
When he loses his job he goes to the factory itself for the fake pheromones, Wet Heat, and gets samples as part of a mated couple tester. Though he never brings in his other half, he continues to fake the research for two years. When Cain, his research leader, finally finds out he’s been cheating all this time, the stuff really hits the fan.
Oh, how I wanted to like this. It was so unique and had such an opportunity to create a new shifter world, to give us this new chemical addition to spice up the traditional alpha/omega storyline, it had some very charismatic characters…
But it was just all over the place and I felt like it never found it’s footing.
First, Lee is not likable. That’s romance 101 – make your MCs (at least ultimately) likable. He’s just a whiny, bratty, slut who uses people to get what he wants. I didn’t care if he found happiness.
Second, I loved Cain but he confused me. I’d see these odd bursts of Alpha in him followed by what – is he secretly submissive? I wasn’t sure. If the story had been longer then we could have explored this further. Where it was left was just confusing.
Third, we get a little sub plot with Lee’s nephew and the maker of Wet Heat. This, too, could have really been a fascinating part of the story. It started to make a statement about stereotypes and societal expectations and the almost dystopian idea of manipulating that chemically – but then stopped before anything really happened. As a result it just drew attention away from the already rather anemic relationship storyline between Cain and Lee.
So… all in all I just can’t really say I recommend this. The romantic in me was absolutely horrified by Lee – I can’t really say if this was even an HFN based on how it ended. The shifter-story-lover in me loved the unique spin and found the possibilities in this world endless – but inchoate here.
One other thing that drives me crazy is when shifter stories have shifters who never shift. This is one of those. The alpha/omega thing was utilized excessively but never did anybody ever become a wolf.
So I give this a mixed bag of 2.75 of 5 stars but with a warning to the romantics in the room that it might be more like a 2.
Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review