Luca Walker is a breeder, which means his job is to bear children and help ensure the survival of the Northern Confederacy. After the Third World War nearly destroyed the world’s population, people discovered a way for men to bear children as well as women. Both male and female Breeders are rare and much valued, but they also have little say in their role as child bearers or to whom they are wed. As the son of the Northern Confederacy’s Vice President, Luca has a bit more flexibility than most and he has been able to stall getting married to someone he doesn’t love. But time is running out and a marriage has been arranged for him with Colonel Liam Smith.
Despite being forced into an arranged marriage, Luca is in love with his bodyguard, Marcus Gray. And when Luca discovers that he is pregnant with Marcus’ baby, his whole world turns around. It turns out Marcus shares Luca’s feelings, but was keeping his distance as a relationship between them was impossible. But now that Luca is pregnant with Marcus’ baby, the men can actually be together. Liam is not taking the news that Luca is marrying someone else too well, however. He is determined to have Luca, even if that means taking him by force. Now Luca and Marcus must figure out how to keep both Luca and the baby safe before their future together is snatched away.
Ah, mpreg. I don’t read much of it, but sometimes I am in the mood for something fun and cracky and so this book called to me. Especially since I am a fan of Kat’s work and this is one of the last books she is releasing before she retires from writing. I will say, Kat does a nice job with the mpreg stuff, making it feel realistic and giving Luca a pregnancy that is pretty similar to what women go through today. A few things are a bit different (obviously, man here), but she grounds it in things that are familiar and as long as you are ok with the premise going in, I think this works well on that front.
The story is an alternate world tale of a society post-WWIII. It is divided into the more progressive and advanced northern area and the southern area where people are poorer, society is not thriving, and breeders are treated like objects to be used to further their population goals. There is a clear distinction between the two regions and we learn about the different ways of life. I do think the world building could have used more development, however. We know Luca lives in what used to be Germany and it seems like the Northern Confederacy is run out of what used to Europe. But I wasn’t clear if this was a global thing, meaning the whole world is divided into two territories, or if there were still other countries somewhere out there or what. We never learn what started the war, what ended it, or really any other details about what happened. So I felt like this is an area that needed a lot more development, especially since the differences in the post-war societies were such a key part of the story. I also feel like the suspense end could have been a little more developed. A lot of the book is kind of day to day events with the exception of some suspense elements where Luca is threatened. I think we could have had more intensity here, or maybe had things spread out a bit more so there was more going on.
On the relationship end, I liked both Luca and Marcus. They have already fallen for each other before the book starts (and Luca gets pregnant before the start of the book as well), so we are jumping into an established romance even though the guys aren’t actually together. I felt like I missed understanding what draws these guys together and their relationship development isn’t given a lot of focus. I don’t feel like I got to know them quite as well as I wanted to as a result. I also found myself a little frustrated that Luca’s role though most of the book is kind of the damsel in distress. Yes, he is pregnant and Marcus is a bodyguard and kind of overprotective. But Luca needs a lot of saving and doesn’t seem to have as much agency over his own life as I would like.
I think in the end this story will work for you if you enjoy mpreg and are willing to go along for the ride. I think things could have been developed more on the relationship and suspense ends, and we get more telling than showing in places. But I think this is a fun story that had enough unique elements to keep me interested and entertained.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.