Bryce Fulton is an omega who has always wanted to work in the fashion industry. He’s always been able to put together amazing outfits, but hiring omegas is a rarity, so he works as an executive assistant for an editor at Fashion Forward magazine. Bryce also has a secret. He was born with a port wine stain birthmark on his face, and he’s convinced if it were revealed, he’d be fired. So, he covers it with makeup. Speaking of makeup, Bryce is very good at, not only doing his own, but he’s got a talent for applying it for others as well.
Jamal Patterson is a talented Alpha fashion photographer. He’s extremely busy and he’s never really had time for an omega. That’s too bad because he has a fashion shoot with a popular model scheduled at a beach resort for bonded Alpha/omega couples only.
Bryce’s boss has what she considers to be the perfect plan. She’ll send Bryce on the shoot with Jamal. The could pretend to be a couple, and Bryce could get some experience managing a photo shoot. It’s a great idea…in theory. The men aren’t exactly thrilled with it, but they agree to do it for the sake of the shoot. While on location at the romantic, pheromone-charged resort, things get heated between the two, and they have to decide whether the feelings they have developed are real, or if it’s a case of “What happens at Bonded Beach stays at Bonded Beach.”
I really enjoyed this book. Once I read the blurb, I knew it was right up my alley. I love Omegaverse stories, and if you throw in a bit of mpreg, I’m all over it. I’m so glad I chose this one.
I’m going to start with Bryce and Jamal. The men were well written and well fleshed out. They were compelling and multi dimensional. I feel the author really nailed it with them. It was easy to get to know and like them. Their personalities were pleasant. Neither of them were mean spirited, rude, or arrogant. This was a case of cheering for two fundamentally good men to get together and live their happily ever after.
I understand Bryce’s main issue is his fear of his birthmark being exposed. I will admit I thought this fear got a tad on the old side by the time things turned romantic with Jamal. He’d turned from using the makeup because he genuinely liked it, to using it as a mask to hide behind. I felt it was sliding into self pity territory, and I knew Bryce was better than that. I was thrilled when he finally realized his birthmark wasn’t what made him who he was.
Jamal had a mostly positive attitude. He wanted to be the best in the business, so he worked too hard to have any romance or an omega of his own. He’s uncomfortable with his feelings for Bryce, and it was interesting to follow along with him as he finally understood they were far more than a two-day scent marking, sexy time dalliance.
There was chemistry to spare between Bryce and Jamal. They heated up my Kindle, whether they were just kissing in bed or having super hot sex. They shared the right amount of tender and, well…smokin’ hot. Once again, the author does a great job with the characters staying true to their personality in the bedroom.
I am going to say the final 1/3 of the book moved rather slowly. It was also a bit repetitive. As I mentioned, Bryce was obsessed with that birthmark, and he used it to create a lot of drama with Jamal that felt unnecessary. He even managed to get Jamal to question himself and whether it mattered. A final photo shoot in Paris also dragged for me. There was so humor interjected, and that was nice, but the whole “will they or won’t they” story didn’t keep my interest.
There were some background characters who played an important role in the story. Edith and Emily were the main ones. Edith is the model who wanted to do the shoot at the resort and is a good friend to Jamal. Emily is Edith’s Alpha. Both were charming. They wanted Bryce and Jamal to be happy, and they also added a teeny bit of comic relief. I also liked Padma, Bryce’s boss at Fashion Forward. She brought to mind a milder version of Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. She had faith in Bryce’s capabilities, and she seemed to genuinely like him as a person.
The ending wrapped up neatly and in kind of an unexpected way. It was delightful and made me smile. It was a hard fought road to their HEA, and it was well earned. If you’re into Omegaverse stories with great characters, I highly recommend this book. Also, if you’re new to books like this, I would call this a nice way to dip your toes into the Omegaverse/mpreg world.