Caryn Moya Block, $0.99
Fantasy Romance, 2014
It’s been ages since I read a mate-mate-mate story, but despite the time that has passed since I last read such a story, Caryn Moya Block’s Alpha’s Mate leaves me feeling that I’ve read way too many of such stories, and they are all starting to be way too much of the same thing for my liking. The edition I am reading is the revised and expanded version of the author’s successful debut effort, but given that this is the first work of the author that I’ve read, I’m afraid I have no idea whether this edition is worth buying if you have the first edition.
I know I have problems with this story when we have Dmitry Volkov (alpha, muscular, big peen, werewolf, et cetera) and his band of sequel buy-me-books-too bros set camp in a club to rake down a Russian drug lord. Then, Violet Anderson steps into the Moscow club and our hero’s penis immediately blasts out the wolf signal to tell him that she’s the one. His mate. His property. He must pitch his claim into her real estate and impregnate her with his puppies right away! So, the whole plot is almost derailed because Dmitry’s penis takes priority over the bad drug dealer. He and his men escort Violet to safety, and the rest of the story is pretty much everything that has been done before ever since mate-mate-mate romances became the norm.
Despite the promise of action and adventure in the synopsis of the story, much of the story revolves around the same old kind of interior monologues, lusting, and boinking that will be familiar to people who have read enough stories of this kind. The mate thing is a short cut that conveniently eliminates the need for any effort to build up a believable romance, and our heroine pays lip service to being outraged by being told that she’s going to put out to Dmitry, all for a few sentences, before… well, using her legs to do a convincing impersonation of a windmill in full tilt. She immediately misses him the moment he’s out of her sight five seconds after first meeting him, so it really must be love!
Oh, and he feels great violence at the thought of another man even inhaling her carbon dioxide, so heaven help any bloke who happens to be within ten feet of her. That’s totally a sign of true love too, so it’s alright that the author skips straight from him telling her she’s his mate and that’s that, right into the charming “I must protect her from danger by completely isolating her from the world so that she can only see and talk to those that I have approved of when she’s not busy servicing me sexually!” romance.
Where are the bad guys? The danger and the thrills? They are here and there… somewhere… when the author decides to insert some one scene wonder moments probably because she has run out of ways to channel Christine Feehan or Lora Leigh or something in this story.
There are moments here when I come across some phrases or scenes that have me wondering whether the author is aiming for this story being a playful homage to the formulaic mate-mate-mate stuff out there, but for the most part, the story plays it straight a little too much in following the formula to convince me that that is indeed the author’s intention. I’m glad that Violet has her occasional moments in which she manages to be her own person, but for the most part, she’s the standard “Protect me! Breed me! I’m your destined mate, after all!” heroine that has a strangehold in this kind of stories. I’m bored. The bare torso of the guy on the cover art is the most memorable thing about this baby where I am concerned.
Still, I can’t say I had a terrible time reading Alpha’s Mate, as it’s certainly serviceable and competent enough to deliver the familiar, comfortable fix to readers who want that kind of thing ASAP. Don’t ask me what it can do to readers who want something else, though. It sets out to be just like every other werewolf romance that has made the many authors so much money during the vampire and shifter romance bandwagon overload years ago, and it ends up being just that and little else.