It seems like all of Brogan Dale’s friends have found their mates, but Brogan is still waiting. After surviving the brutal fight ring, Brogan just wants to settle into a happy family life with his son Peyton and his bondmate, but so far he hasn’t had any luck meeting the man. Brogan is beginning to wonder if holding out for his true mate is pointless and he should instead just find an alpha who is interested in being with him and Peyton, even though the connection between them won’t be a strong as with a bondmate.
Just as Brogan is giving up hope, he finds his true mate. To his shock, it turns out his mate is Mikel Tovey, the man who attacked Brogan’s best friend, Jaysan, and accidentally stabbed him last year. Brogan knows Mikel was unstable at the time, still under the thumb of his abusive sire. Mikel also didn’t mean to stab Jaysan. So Brogan is willing to look past Mikel’s mistakes, but Mikel is still not on solid ground emotionally. He is under court-ordered therapy and still on probation for the attack and he doesn’t see how he can ever be a mate to Brogan given his past. But Brogan knows that Mikel is a good man underneath, and he convinces Mikel to give the relationship a try.
The men take things slowly, getting to know one another. While Brogan would love to move forward with mating, he knows it is not the time. Mikel needs to find his footing and get more settled before he can take on a mate and Brogan is willing to wait as long as it takes. But Mikel still doesn’t believe he deserves Brogan and Peyton, and feels so much guilt for his past actions. Now he must believe in Brogan’s love and focus on the life they want to build together, rather than getting caught up in the past.
Feel is the sixth book in A.M. Arthur’s Breaking Free series and follows Brogan, the last of the fight club omegas to find his mate. I was happy to see that the story breaks out of the mold of many of the past books, as I had noted in prior reviews that things were starting to feel somewhat repetitive. While most of the books have focused on the omega’s reservations about getting involved with a mate after past abuse or trauma, in this story, Brogan is ready to move forward but it is alpha Mikel that has his hesitations. So I appreciated this change up to the formula in the series, though to a large degree the plot was similar with just a swap; rather than a confident alpha and hesitant omega, we had the reverse. So we still had many of the same issues as the first books, particularly with Mikel having an incredibly abusive past he must overcome. I would love to see this series move beyond past physical/emotional trauma being the conflict every time. Arthur has created an interesting world here and there is a lot that can be done with it, so I would love to see things diversify. I’ll also note that while Mikel’s abuse is not described in lengthy terms, we do get explicit mention of some of the abuse he suffered, so be aware if this is a trigger.
Arthur clearly establishes that Mikel has suffered greatly in his past and that he is both remorseful for his actions against Jaysan and taking steps to get himself together emotionally. So I had no issues accepting him as a partner for Brogan and I liked the men together. They are sweet and tender with one another and a nice couple. Despite their pasts, there is not a lot of conflict here. It is a slow burn story between them as they get to know one another, but the men settle pretty quickly into a relationship and Mikel takes on a paternal role toward Peyton with little trouble. Even the issue of Mikel attacking Jaysan doesn’t really go anywhere. Although it takes Jaysan’s mate a bit to come around, everyone happily accepts Mikel into their group with no issues at all. So the story need a little more plot or conflict for me to really make it shine. Or perhaps I was just looking for a new focus. We do get a bit of a development on the old fight club case and new bad guys, but it still is centering around the same issues we have been dealing with all along and I would love to see things taken in some new directions.
I do enjoy the ensemble cast in this series and the way these men have created a found family. While you could probably read this book as a stand alone, I do think knowing the other characters enriches the series, especially since the other omegas and their mates are very involved in each other’s books.
I chose this story as part of our Reading Challenge Month for Diverse Books Week. Race isn’t really an issue in this world Arthur has built, so honestly, it isn’t a part of the story. Still, I do appreciate Arthur including diverse characters, particularly featuring a person of color on the cover, as that is not always easy to find in this genre.
So overall I enjoyed this installment and still find it an entertaining series. But I do see that I am getting a little weary of the similar storylines and the focus on abuse and past trauma as the main conflict. I am hoping that as things continue, Arthur will shake things up a bit and give us some new adventures set in this world.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Diverse Books Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of our amazing diverse books prize packs. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a Kindle Fire filled with Dreamspun Desires/Beyond books, plus a 3-month subscription!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Diverse Books Week here, including a list of all the books in this week’s prize.