Rating: 3.75 stars
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Touch healer Lian Blythorpe traveled to the dragon planet, Dragait, in order to research the decline in dragon fertility and to assist in healing with his magical abilities. What he finds himself in the middle of is not what he expected. Meeting the handsome Nevair Dragonfang, religious leader of Dragait, is a welcome surprise. Initially, Lian only planned on sleeping with Nevair the one time. Lian has always had reservations regarding commitment. He had a front row seat to the end of his parent’s horrible mating, and he’s not looking for a repeat. But Lian quickly realizes that once with Nevair is not enough. Soon enough he finds out that he may be the mate to the dragon shifter and begins to realize what being the mate of the Pontifex dragon means.
Nevair is the religious leader of the dragon people. As such, he made a personal vow a long time ago to remain celibate for his future mate. Refusing to mate with any of the men and women chosen for him by the council and by his best friend/assistant, Trestair, Nevair has faith that the goddess will bring him his mate when the time is right. After meeting Lian, Nevair is sure that not even he could have chosen a more perfect companion.
Lian soon finds out that his boss and the head of the medic center, Bourne, doesn’t like dragons and has very little interest in helping Lian with his research. After a disastrous encounter with Bourne, Lian goes into hiding and stumbles upon the cause of the lack of fertility in dragons. When both sides of Lian’s life collide, Lian and Navair find themselves in situation that they may not be able to escape alive.
Mate Healer is the fourth novella in Amber Kell’s Dragon Men series. In the Dragon Men timeline, Mate Healer comes in somewhere between books two and three. Whereas, all of the books are part of a series and occur in the same world, there is not a plot that connects the books so it is not necessary to read each book in order. Though I do recommend reading all of the Dragon Men books. It is my favorite of Amber Kell’s series to date.
Kell has a way of endearing her characters to readers, and this series demonstrates that better than any of her stories. This story focused mostly on Lian and his research, as well as his reluctance to take a mate. I liked Lian. He is a good, strong-willed character. Though I think I would have liked to see more of Nevair’s life also. I felt more of a reader-character connection with Liam because of the focus the story took. There is not much of Nevair’s POV in the story.
Lian and Nevair’s relationship revolved mostly around sex and the mate connection. There were several times that Lian’s past is mentioned in the monologue – his parents, his home planet, being a touch healer as opposed to a self-healer – but his parent’s death is only discussed with Nevair in quick mention of how they died. I really would have liked to see these characters get to know one another better and create a stronger connection beyond sex and instalove via their mating bond.
Dragait is a beautiful desert planet, save the quarter of forest land ruled by a feral dragon king. It is full of dragon shifters and full-blooded dragons as well as all sorts of alien races. The planet is separated into four kingdoms, ruled by four kings – some of whom are beginning to find their mates. The race of dragon shifters worships the goddess and the chosen mouth of the goddess is the Pontifex, Nevair. There is a religious council to help make some decisions, but from what I gather they do not have much control over the Pontifex because he is chosen by the goddess. The world includes dragon trainers, knights, hover-vehicles, castles, old world charm and futuristic structures. It is a beautiful world where homosexuality is as common as heterosexuality.
There are a few areas that could have used more detail. The moment between Nevair asking the goddess for help and Lian finding him could have used more description, more action. The storyline with Bourne and his involvement within the plot is lacking. He was built up as this evil, dictator type and then his conclusion was a simple mention. I would have liked to see the actions that led to that conclusion. Also, Nevair’s friendship with Trestair was not defined very well. There were only a couple scenes with Tres and for the most part they argued. I couldn’t see why Nevair considered Tres a friend in the first place, much less his best friend.
In the end, the Dragon Men series remains a series that I will continue to read. In Mate Healer, the author created lovable characters and a beautiful, imaginative world that truly saved this story from lack of focus on the main characters’ relationship and the details left out of the storyline. It is an entertaining tale.
The cover by Reese Dante is a wonderfully beautiful portrayal of Lian with his mating mark. This cover ties in perfectly with all of the Dragon Men series covers. It is a simple yet beautiful cover.