When college student Demir Higgs learns the guy he’s been dating has been in another relationship all along, Demir decides it’s time to cut loose a little and have some fun. He goes to a sex party where the attendees wear masks to hide their identities. There he meets an older alpha who is everything Demir could want in a sex partner — kind and caring, but also rough and dirty. Demir knows this is a one night only kind of thing, so he is shocked when he runs into the man again — and realizes he is one of his father’s subordinates on the police force.
Eleven years ago, Senior Constable Brandt Lars’ pregnant omega bondmate disappeared without a trace. It sent Brandt into a downward spiral that he is only just now making his way past. When he meets Demir at the party, their connection is fantastic, and when they encounter each other again, Brandt is definitely interested in continuing things. As it turns out, despite their age difference, Demir and Brandt are perfect for one another and falling hard, even though they are keeping things fairly down low given Brandt’s connection to Demir’s father.
Just as things seem to be falling into place for Brandt and Demir, the men are in for a shock with the sudden return of Brandt’s bondmate, Oliver. It turns out Oliver was kidnapped and then in a car accident and lost his memories of his life with Brandt. He settled in a remote province and is now in town for a conference. When Brandt sees Oliver, he recognizes him right away, despite Oliver’s scars. But Oliver not only has no memories, he has no sense of smell anymore to help him confirm his connection to Brandt. Oliver is wary, especially as he has a son to think about. But as he spends more time with Brandt, Oliver begins to rebuild the connection they once had.
Now Brandt is caught between two men he loves — one from his past and one from his present. He can’t imagine losing either of them, and it may just be that he doesn’t have to, as Oliver and Demir are finding a connection of their own. Now the men are exploring the chance that they can be a threesome and the connection among them all is amazing. But with the guys still hiding things from Demir’s family, the investigation going on into Oliver’s disappearance, not to mention that Oliver has a life in Rainier, there is a lot for the men to manage if they are going to be together.
Claimed is the seventh book in A.M. Arthur’s Breaking Free series and this story is everything I have been wanting from this series for a while now. I have noted in past reviews that I was starting to feel that the books were becoming repetitive, particularly the last four that all dealt with the fight club omegas. The stories seemed to follow a similar formula of an abused or endangered omega who found their alpha bondmate, but was wary of getting involved. Arthur has created such an interesting world in this series, I was eager to see it explored with different storylines and conflicts, and Arthur totally nails it with this book.
What I think works so well here is that this story is still very much grounded in the series, both with the politics and the world building, as well as with the inclusion of many familiar side characters. Yet at the same time, we have a new and different conflict that really adds something fresh to the series. The two main issues are the relationship among Demir, Oliver, and Brandt, as well as the mystery behind Oliver’s kidnapping. The world building still plays a big role, just in different ways. For example, the issues of omega rights running throughout the series come up as Oliver is technically still under Brandt’s authority as his bonded omega, despite having no memory of their past. We also see it play out in the alpha, beta, and omega dynamics among the three men, particularly in Demir’s concerns about whether as a beta he can ever fully be part of their alpha/omega connection.
The relationship between these guys is really well done. We get a nice establishment of the connection between Demir and Brandt at the start, giving us a chance to get to know them as a couple and see the strength of their relationship. That way when Oliver comes into the picture, I could really believe that Brandt was torn between them and wasn’t willing to give up Demir, despite his love for his missing mate. We get to see Oliver and Brandt rebuild their relationship, as well as one grow between Oliver and Demir. So the threesome worked well and felt very organic. Also, I’ll note this story is SUPER sexy. All these guys like hard and dirty sex and they have it in all kinds of varied ways. This one was totally my catnip and I loved to see these guys together.
The secondary conflict revolves around what happened to Oliver all those years ago, and the case gets reopened when he reappears. Again, this is nicely worked into some of the larger series issues of threats to omegas and omega rights, but it gives us a new conflict to focus on, which I really liked. The mystery is well done and interesting and helps to flesh out the world building nicely. The added conflict of Oliver’s brother-in-law Diego seemed both obvious at times, and out of nowhere in others. Based on the way things ended there, I wished we had seen this explored a little more, but overall I think this part of the story was well done as well.
So this book really re-energized me for this series. I loved the hot and sexy romance between Demir, Oliver, and Brandt and I think Arthur really develops this threesome well. I also liked that the story retains the heart of the world building, while still taking the book in a new and interesting direction. This has been one of my favorites from this series so far, and I am definitely looking forward to more.
P.S. In case anyone is wondering, this book seems to take place about four years after the end of the last story (we learn Kel’s twins are four now and they were born in the last book). So while Demir has been a kid in past books, and is still much younger than his partners, he is an adult here in this story.