Erryn and Dana review ‘Bitter Heat (Heat of Love Book 3)’ by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn. The book was published September 12, 2019 and is 396 pages. The audio was narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo and released on April 30, 2020 and is 11 hours & 52 minutes. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
To read the ebook review of Alpha Heat (Heat of Love Book 2) click here.
Why Erryn listened to this: I’ve heard good things about this series.
Why Dana listened to this: I reviewed and loved the first two books of the series. I always planned on listening to the audio but I moved it up my “to be listened to” list when I heard Erryn was reviewing the audio and I wanted to join in.
A pregnant omega trapped in a desperate situation, an unattached alpha with a lot to prove, and an unexpected fall into love that could save them both.
Kerry Monkburn is contracted to a violent alpha in prison for brutal crimes. Now pregnant with the alpha’s child, he lives high in the mountains, far above the city that once lured him in with promises of a better life. Enduring bitterness and fear, Kerry flirts with putting an end to his life of darkness, but fate intervenes.
Janus Heelies has made mistakes in the past. In an effort to redeem himself, integrity has become the watchword for his future. Training as a nurse under the only doctor willing to take him on, Janus is resolute in his intentions: He will live cleanly in the mountains and avoid all inappropriate affairs. But he doesn’t anticipate the pull that Kerry exercises on his heart and mind.
As the question of Kerry’s future health and safety comes to an explosive head, only the intervention of fate will see these desperate men through to a happy ending.
This gay romance novel by Leta Blake is the third in the Heat of Love universe which began with Slow Heat. It’s 111,000 words, with a strong happy ending and a critically-acclaimed, non-shifter Omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, mpreg, heat, and knotting.
Content warning for a violent and oppressive society regarding reproductive rights.
This was a term I’d never heard of before listening to Leta Blake’s Bitter Heat. In fact I had to ask a friend who owned the book to spell it for me. Helpfully, Ms. Blake added her definition. This word is critical to understanding the motivations of various characters within her world. It’s also something I wish there were more of – a love bound by something beyond human understanding.
But I digress, as I so often do. This is the third book in the Heat of Love series and although I own the first two, I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t yet listened to them. I had hoped to before digging into this one but I didn’t get the chance. I plan to go back to listen to those, especially book 2 that sounds like there’s a very interesting triad. I’m so glad I didn’t let my deficiency in listening to the other books hamper me from listening – and enjoying – this one. This is my way of saying, don’t worry if you’re jumping in at this point.
I really enjoyed Training Season and Vespertine, so was anxious to dig into this book. I’ll be honest and say I’m not always a fan of mpreg, having read several bad ones early on. Friends encouraged me to try again, and I’m glad I did. I especially enjoyed Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly’s dragon series and, now, this Heat of Love book. Ms. Blake’s take on the world of omega pregnancy isn’t a light one. This is a dark almost dystopic world – especially for the omegas. They have few rights and once contracted they are now subjected to the whims of their alpha. In some cases that works out, in others – like Kerry’s – it’s a disaster. So, to be clear, this is a dark book. I yearned for Kerry to be able to break free of the hold his alpha and the man’s family held over him. I wanted to rip up the contract myself. But I understood Kerry had to deal with this in his own time and in his own way. Some of those ways were extremely self-destructive, and my heart nearly broke several times.
This book is a challenge. There are no easy answers. There are unpleasant characters. There are untenable situations. There were moments I felt perilously close to giving up hope.
Then there was Janus. Apparently he played a significant role in book 2 but having not read it, I was in ignorance and therefore had no opinion of him. He came across as someone who wanted to help by becoming a nurse, but was ambitious enough to want to get ahead in his education so headed up the mountain to train with a doctor up there. He’s appalled by both the conditions as well as the fact the ‘doctor’ isn’t a real doctor. His city sensibilities were offended, to be sure. But, as time progresses, he adjusts to the simpler way of life. He’s living at a boarding house operated by Kerry’s pater. Little does he know the man has a hidden agenda.
Kerry doesn’t want to get to know the alpha living in their home. Doesn’t want to form attachments of any kind, except with his pater and his bird Kiwi. Watching Kerry and Janus do their dance of sorts, I knew there was something special between the two of them. They bonded over Kerry’s pregnancy, even if Janus wasn’t the father. When he learns of the extent of Kerry’s plight, he even seeks outside help. His caring his clear. And apparently omegas need regular sex to prepare for the birth of their baby. Janus is willing to help Kerry out in this way as well.
This book is a romance, so I knew I was going to get a happy ending. I didn’t expect to endure so much pain and heartache to get there. I recommend you have tissues close by – if you’re a sentimental sap like me.
On to narration – I really like Michael Ferraiuolo. He has a soothing voice that worked well with this book. His Kerry and Janus were spot-on to what I’d expect and his voices for Kerry’s cultured in-laws contrasted beautifully with Kerry’s pater and the other mountain folk. This book took me through many highs and lows and I’m so glad I made the journey. Obviously I recommend the book and I definitely plan to go back and read the previous two.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
One thing I love about this series is fully developed world building and plot. There is a lot going on in the world the characters live in and so many complications regarding the relationships between the mc’s. It makes for such an interesting read (or listen) but when I sit down to review the book, it’s difficult. I don’t know where to start and there is no way I can say all the things I want without giving spoilers. I have loved every book of this series so far and I really hope there are plans to continue it. ( I still need to find out if Ray and his mystery man from book 2 get a happy ending or if there is someone else for him. Though the betas can’t impregnate or be impregnated, they are one type of character that hasn’t fully been explored in the series.)
Moving on. In book 2, Janus was not a character I was fond of. He was arrogant and he was his uncle’s spy on his cousin Xan. He made things unpleasant for Xan and his omega husband Caleb, who Janus had a history with. In this book we see a reformed version of his character. He had suffered a debilitating flu several times and he now has an interest in medicine. The jerk facade he used was melting away at the end of the last book and I had thought his affairs were his way of not trying to find love after the way he treated Caleb in the past.
So even though I didn’t exactly love Janus, he definitely was not the really bad character. There is more than just one antagonist in this story and series. It is the society that places the value of omegas as property. It is a world where carrying babies into the world is the most important thing that can happen, but the carriers are allowed to be abused and controlled and not allowed to make decisions about their own lives because the alphas believe themselves to be better. Unless the omega finds a compassionate alpha or even better, their Érosgápe, the world they live in sucks. And Wilbet Monhundy is a product of that world. Wilbet is Kerry’s contracted mate. Acting like a villain in all three books, he was finally arrested and charged for some of his horrid actions. I really want to hate his parents because they force Kerry to keep mating with the abusive alpha in order to continue their family line. And Wilbet’s alpha father at least admits how bad he is, but grandchildren are more important than Kerry’s safety.
I definitely feel bad for Kerry. At one time, it seems he was prideful and thought the city would be better for him than living with his pater in the mountains. After his contracted mate was put in jail, he did move back home, a broken version of himself. He seems to be a very gentle soul but he has a lot of mistrust. When he and Janus first meet, there is definitely attraction on both of their parts. But neither will admit to an Érosgápe kind of love. I thought at first they were being stubborn, but as the story goes on we learn more about what is happening.
This is definitely a story of highs and lows and moments of great worry that everything would work out for these two. I was so happy to see this other side of Janus and to see Kerry build trust in another alpha after all that he had been through. I have to say it again – I hope this series will continue on. I am so invested in this world and seeing omegas get more rights. (Hopefully?) I definitely recommend this book and the whole series. Michael Ferraiuolo is an excellent narrator who emotes well and really brought the story to life.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.
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