Rosa Swann, $0.00
Fantasy Romance, 2017
I don’t normally review free stories, but I was so enthralled by the hot guys on the cover that I didn’t realize until I’ve read it and sat down to compose this review that My Alpha’s Secret is indeed a freebie. What can I say? I was on a buying spree and added this one to the shopping cart without checking the price. I can see why Rosa Swann does this, as this is actually the first entry in an ongoing shifter soap opera starring Wilder and Sterling.
Wilder and Logan were boyfriends until Logan decided that two Alphas can’t be together and hightailed it out of town. Ten years later, Logan is now dead and Wilder goes to the man’s funeral, only to meet Logan’s Omega mate Sterling and their daughter. Don’t ask. Wilder feels obligated to make sure that Sterling and Maddy are okay, only in the process Wilder and Sterling start feeling the woo-woo horny feelings for one another. But what about Logan? Sure, he’s dead, but ooh, there are secrets to be revealed and repercussions to be had… but you’ll have to buy the second entry to find out. I checked, and yes, that one isn’t free! It’s not expensive either – just make sure that you are prepared to invest in seven more entries to get to the happy ending.
Now, as for this story, there’s nothing really objectionable about it, aside from the usual shifter tropes – Sterling can be quite cringe-inducing with how hapless and useless he can come off as, but hey, he’s Omega and hence has all the unfortunate stereotypical personality traits that come with that label. Unfortunately, this story being a shifter thing ends up completely sabotaging itself. For one, the shifter details here are so vague, poorly defined, that this one could have very well be a small town romance with rushed woo-woo stuff slapped on to cash in on what is selling at that moment.
Here’s the thing. The story had the potential for plenty of emotional drama. It’s, after all, a tale of a developing romance between two men who have a lot of things to work out between them. Because this is a shifter thing, however, any potential for emotional catharsis and dramatic tension dissipates when the author treats lust and attraction like a mathematical equation. Sterling is in heat, in the presence of a presumable true mate, so of course he and Wilder must have sex. This leads to all kinds of forced and contrived angst that will be carried off to the next entry. The whole thing feels so artificial, like the author taking short cuts so that she doesn’t have to do so much work in developing the relationship of her main characters.
Also, what’s the rationale for the mate-mate-mate thing among shifters in a gay context? One can argue it’s something to promote the propagation of the species when the mate thing occurs between a male and a female, but when it’s two men humping away at one another, the mate thing feels silly and, frankly, unnecessary.
At any rate, My Alpha’s Secret isn’t necessarily a bad read. It’s actually quite readable. I feel that the author had greatly missed the mark by turning this into a shifter romance, though. This one really should have been a contemporary romance – one with the feels developing organically, instead of being pushed forth by the contrived mate-mate-mate thing.