Audiobook Review: Slow Heat (Heat of Love #1) by Leta Blake

A lustful young alpha meets his match in an older omega with a past.

Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-30s, he's long since given up hope that he'll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He's fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.

When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can't be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.

But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha - as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn't sure it's worth it. But Jason isn't giving up his destined mate without a fight.

This is a stand-alone gay romance novel, 118,000 words, with a strong HFN ending, as well as a well-crafted, non-shifter omegaverse, with alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. Content warning for pregnancy loss and aftermath.

Listening Length: 14 hours and 7 minutes
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo

It is definitely not a secret that I love me some ABO and this right here? Probably one of the best in depth reflections on this dynamic, delving into its origins and complicated culture, as well as the intricate rules and laws that aid the genetic drive and instinct that fuel the coming together of an alpha and an omega.

Here, in this post apocalyptic society, the human race has survived a long ago referenced “Great Death”. Females are extinct, but through many years of gene manipulation and evolution, the creation of different male subtypes have yielded a situation where only the alpha/omega pairing can reproduce. Thus, any and all social obligations are geared towards that top priority where, unless detrimental to one’s health, inhibiting conception or interfering with pregnancy is illegal. To help along the procreation urge, alphas and omegas look for their one true mate - their “Erosgape” - a primal instinctual imprinting that is the ultimate and most coveted life goal.

Jason is a young alpha who greatly romanticizes his future. He’s only ever thought about finding his “Erosgape”, and Jason cannot wait to meet this man so they can live happily ever after. He just has to be patient in finishing his education so he can attend the social events that facilitate such. However, when Jason suddenly and surprisingly comes across older omega Vale on campus, what Jason thinks is a done deal with his “Erosgape” is anything but. Being 16 years older, Vale long ago gave up his wish of finding his alpha and settling down and having kids. His life has not been easy and past circumstances have basically rendered Vale infertile and thus, the story mainly revolves around whether he and Jason will officially sign a contract to seal their bond.

I readily admit that most of the time I don’t quite mesh with Blake’s stories. What should be slam dunks, often leave me wanting or frustrated. Not this time around. Now, I know I have ABO beer goggles on, but I’ll reiterate again that this is probably one of the best I’ve come across (not counting my love for a particular fanfic pairing) at being thorough in relationship progression and keeping it angstily interesting and fueled by boatloads of UST. I was impressed about the exploration of this AU that highly prizes the relationship between an alpha and his omega and all the nuances that can come into play. Once imprinted, and definitely once consummated, neither will ever find another that can give them what they need. The uncontrollable alpha drive, coupled with the omega desire to be claimed, marked, and protected is what makes this push pull so compelling and fascinating.

Narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo, I’ve definitely found me a new narrator to enjoy. To me, he was a complete win, often reminding me of both Tremblay and Russo all in one. Ferraiuolo perfectly conveyed the longing and desire and painful insecurities of these two men. It simply was just a wonderful listen, and I hardly noticed that this was 14+ hrs long. Almost. Lol.

However, never fear that through all this contemplation and conflict is a really great story about two mismatched individuals who would be very hard pressed to work on paper, let alone real life. Jason and Vale are given the pheromone nudge to find their win with each other, and I enjoyed both MC’s immensely despite some niggles that other reviews have already probably commented on. This satisfied all my ABO buttons, where the good ones always make me squirm but titillate me nonetheless with dominance and submission, heat fueled yumminess, and of course KNOTTING. Luckily the sequel has just been recently released featuring supporting cast members Xan and Uhruo. I’m torn between diving right in or waiting for hopefully Ferraiuolo’s narration, but for sure, I won’t be saying no to reading more!

Thank you to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review.

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