Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Lt. Commander Franklin Delano Michaels has been assigned to the USS Ronald Regan as the liaison officer between the Dragon Marines and the Navy. He’s the perfect choice for the job as he understands the dragon culture and can speak their native language. But once he’s on board, he discovers that a lot has been left out of his briefing report. The dragons are being targeted in what appears to be hate crimes. Bunking in the quarantine quarters, they are separate from the rest of the seaman on the carrier ship.
Captain Danegeld Drake is the dragon shifter in charge of the Dragon Marines stationed aboard the ship and he takes his responsibility to his crew very seriously. Dane will do whatever it takes to protect his dragons. But he’s not getting any help from the skipper of the ship. In fact, he and his Marines are looked down upon with derision. He’s more than grateful when Franklin shows up and appears to actually be willing to help.
Dane and Franklin have an instant attraction to one another. It doesn’t take Dane long to realize that Franklin is his mate. But dragon/human pairings are frowned upon by both sides. While navigating the beginnings of their love, the two men must figure out who is targeting and attacking the dragons. There have been injuries and threats, and things are escalating at an alarming rate. It’s a race against time to figure out who is behind the attacks. When it seems that an old enemy has resurfaced, it’s apparent that everyone is in deeper trouble than they first thought.
Dragon shifters and military men: two of my favorite things. And I have to say, for the most part, this story didn’t disappoint. Dease crafts a futuristic world where dragons have joined forces with humans to banish the Voldai—a formidable enemy—and then decided to keep working together. The world building here was pretty darn good, with plenty of recognizable and relatable nuances.
Franklin is the kind of man that everyone would want on their side. Wholly dedicated to his task, stalwart and loyal, he’s almost too good to be true. But he’s believable here. When he sees the situation on the Regan, he jumps right in and starts sorting out what the problem is, and what he can do to fix it. Since his brother is married to a dragon, he’s more than familiar with their culture and language. This adds a nice little twist, and is an easy way to get over what could have been insurmountable hurdles, when he finds out that Dane is his mate. I really liked this turn of events, because it made his understanding so much easier to believe.
Dane is the quintessential Marine and shifter. I enjoyed him because I like that kind of character, but there were a few instances where I felt he was a bit two dimensional. I wished we had been shown a little more character growth with him. Because of who he is, however, it wasn’t that big of a problem for me.
The romance here integrates well into the larger plot of threats against the dragons. Neither overwhelms the other. And I liked that both men, once they realized what was going on between them, were willing to accept it and move forward. I did, at times, have a bit of trouble seeing the connection between Franklin and Dane. But because they were fated mates, it was an easy thing to overlook and accept. In this futuristic world, same sex pairing aren’t even given a second thought. Human/dragon pairings, however, are. Neither side really approves of it. But Dane’s family is very accepting, and it makes things a lot easier.
This book starts with a bit of a history lesson. When I first read it, I have to admit that I wrinkled my nose at the approach. I felt like I was getting a lecture. But as the story progressed, I was glad to have the information. It’s presented in as though it’s taken from a history book, which ultimately worked. Though I would have maybe preferred to get this information throughout the story in exposition, as I read, I was glad that I already had the information in my head and I wasn’t pulled out of the story for long winded explanations.
That being said, there were times where I did feel information was lacking. I had to take a bit on faith and be accepting of the information. Given the relatively short length of the story, I could forgive a lot of it. But there were times where I felt things were glossed over and I would have liked a bit more in depth explanation to better understand.
There was also a bit of head-hopping going on. It wasn’t too extreme, and didn’t happen that often. But it made the few times it did happen stand out to me. The other small thing that I had a problem with was the formatting. There were no italics or other indication when a character was thinking his thoughts; it appeared to be a sudden and abrupt jump to the first person tense. It wasn’t until the second or third time this happened that I realized it was supposed to be what Franklin was thinking. That was jarring to me, and pulled me out of the story. Again, this didn’t happen too often, but enough that it’s worth a mention.
All in all, this was a good start to a series. It has a definite HFN ending, and there’s plenty of room for the story to grow. What we have with Captain’s Mate is a set up for a continuing saga. It’s a good story that gives us the beginning of a love story, and a resurgence of a threat. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.