Rating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

For the last 100 years, Topaz dragon Ian Brand has been in a loving relationship with Amethyst dragon Geoffrey Drake. The men have had to keep their relationship a secret, however, as they are both Alpha dragons and that type of partnership is strictly forbidden. Although they are not mates in the eyes of the dragon community, Ian and Geoffrey know that their bond is strong and they are meant for one another. Other than the secrecy, things are going well between them until Ian is tapped to be part of a mating experiment. The men are devastated at the idea of Ian being forced to mate an omega, but the the situation looks impossible to avoid.

Matthieu Boudreaux is a Disgrace, raised in the Pedigree for the sole purpose of being mated to a dragon to bear his eggs. Matthieu has always chafed under these rules, wanting nothing more than a career in law and a chance to bring down the Pedigree and their archaic rules. He has almost aged out of the system and his life of freedom is on the horizon, when suddenly he is selected to mate an unknown dragon as part of the mating research.

It is clear to Matthieu as soon as he meets Ian and Geoffrey that there is a connection between them, one that he has no interest in breaking. If they can just keep Geoffrey and Ian’s relationship a secret for the required year Matthieu and Ian must try for a clutch, there is a chance all three could make it out of this unscathed. But nothing goes according to plan and Matthieu finds unexpected connections with both men, connections they all three want to pursue. However, this means there are a lot of secrets about what is going on between them all, secrets that are very hard to keep hidden. Soon, Geoffrey, Ian, and Matthieu find themselves having to face the dragon council and their relationship, and even their lives, may be at risk. But the men are determined to face it together, and they are unwilling to let the love they have and the relationship they have built between them be taken away.

Mate is the third book in the Forbidden Desires trilogy and the authors have really given us a fabulous final story. I have enjoyed all three books in this series, but Mate is definitely the standout. It not only pulls together the major plot threads from the first two books, but it expands upon the world building, along with giving us such a wonderful relationship between Geoffrey, Ian, and Matthieu.

While the first two books in the series overlapped a lot in timeline, Mate takes us to the aftermath of Harry’s revelations in Bond. We now know that rather than be undesirable, the so-called Disgraces are actually the ideal mates to the Alpha dragons. Not only that, but they are actually part dragon themselves. This story then explores the aftermath as Ian is forced to be part of Harry and Everard’s research and mate with an omega dragon. The authors do a nice job here building the story upon the foundations of the earlier books, not just with regard to the Alpha/omega connection, but also to the larger concepts of the Council’s dated policies and views on love and mating. One of the things I have really enjoyed about the series as a whole is the creative world building, and that is explored particularly well here. I love all the fun little tidbits, especially the way that the different dragon clans express their namesake gemstone in appearance. We also get a chance to really delve into the politics and the science and the fight between the old and the new ways of thinking. The authors give the story a lot of urgency and excitement as these men are fighting for their lives on a personal level, while at the same time we are exploring the dragon world at large, as well.

For me, the highlight of this story, however, is the connection between Geoffrey, Ian, and Matthieu. I could really feel for Ian and Geoffrey, as they so clearly love one another dearly and are being forced to not only keep their relationship a secret, but now to add a required mate for Ian.They are so sweet together, and we can feel their pain as they face what looks like an impossible situation. I just loved Matthieu’s strength and determination in the face of it all. Despite being in the weakest position socially, he is a fighter and he cuts through the crisis and immediately starts looking for solutions. It makes for a nice balance, as the Alpha dragons have been together for years, but Matthieu has a sense of strength and confidence that make him feel like an equal partner in their relationship. I don’t want to get into too much detail for fear of spoilers, but what starts out as an arrangement to get them all out of the situation unscathed turns into a real connection among all of them. These guys are so sweet and romantic and sexy together. The authors give them a great connection and I couldn’t help but root for them to find a way to be together despite the odds.

One of the things I like about an omegaverse type story is the way it can explore traditional gender roles and identity from a fantasy or alternate world perspective. Throughout this series, the authors have explored these ideas and in this final book, it really all comes together. The story explores not just the perceived Alpha and omega roles, but also the idea of two Alphas being able to find love together, as well as the concept of polyamory among the dragons. Our MCs face their own battle to have their love accepted, but the story looks at many of these issues and the conflict between the old ways and new ideas about what it means to love and have a bond. I really enjoyed the way the authors built all these ideas into the series and this last book really brings it all together.

I am sad to see the end of this trilogy, as I have really enjoyed it greatly. But it sounds like there may be more in the works for this world, and I would be all there for it. I found Mate to be a wonderful end to a really entertaining series. If you are looking for a series that explores omegaverse concepts through the dragon fantasy world, as well as one that looks at some bigger issues about what it means to love, plus a lot of fun world building, I can definitely recommend these books.

P.S. I’ll just note that we get to spend time with members of the Opal clan and it ends up being incredibly fun and adds a great touch to the story.

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