Author: R.D. Hero
Title: Wet Heat
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Rating: Two Petals
On the Author's Website:
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.
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Wet Heat was a very odd book. I liked it, I think, but it was definitely strange. Lee is an omega wolf, which means he's supposed to be weak and needy. That's okay because alpha wolves are programmed to do everything in their power to help the omega wolves in whatever way they need. That means if Lee is standing at the side of the road looking forlornly at a line of cabs, an alpha wolf that Lee has never met before in his life will ensure Lee gets a cab and will pay for it too. It sounds kind of ridiculous as I'm writing it, but Hero made it feel realistic in the story. Her characters were easily the best part and their belief in the way the system works helped make me believe it.
I did have a number of issues with the story. Foremost was the total lack of world building. Hero delves into the dynamic between alpha and omega over and over again as if hammering home a point, yet never fully explains what type of creatures these people are. They are human in shape, yet they're called wolves. There was no indication that they change shape, and I couldn't tell if the entire world was comprised of these creatures or whether regular humans lived with them too. It was a bit confusing, to be honest, and threw me out of the story a few times when I got distracted trying to figure it out.
The abruptness of the romance also threw me. You have one guy, an alpha, who appears to be Ace and another guy, Lee, who wants nothing more than to play the field and have fun. That's why Lee goes to so much effort to get wet heat. Yet, the second these two men meet in a romantic context suddenly they're perfect for each other and they can't fall into bed and what is essentially marriage in this culture any faster. There was some drama and whining that slowed it down somewhat, but there was no doubt in my mind where they were going to end up. Admittedly, Hero did try to explain it somewhat, but it got lost underneath yet another hammering of the role of the alpha versus omega.
Overall I did like this book, however it had a large number of flaws. The world building was almost non-existent and the romance was far too contrived. Should Hero write another book set in this world and include the world building this story lacked, I might change my review. I do recommend this story because it is an enjoyable read.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.