winter's truth coverRating: 4 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Vale and Jason Sabel’s son, Viro, is now 11 years old. While they want to keep him innocent and believing in the magic of the holiday season a little longer, Ro has started to question whether winter-fox really comes to his house to leave presents, or if that is actually his parents. Vale knows how much Jason loves the holidays and convinces Ro to pretend he believes just a bit longer. Ro isn’t certain, as he hates to lie, but Vale assures him that it is ok not to tell his father he knows the truth about who is really bringing the holiday gifts.

Their plans for the holiday begin to fall apart, however, when Vale goes into another unexpected heat. While most omegas his age are starting to wind down having heats, Vale’s cycle is out of whack and his heats continue to come often and irregularly. While Jason loves the special time the heats give for him and Vale, it is definitely a disruption and hard on their bodies. It also means Ro must spend the holiday with his grandparents, rather than at home. Unfortunately, Miner has been sick and the situation is escalating. When things come to a crisis, Jason and Vale are determined to be there both for Jason’s parents and for their son. But Ro can’t help but worry it is his fault his grandfather is sick, and he makes a deal with the wolf-god that may change the path for his future.

Winter’s Truth is a holiday story set in the world of Leta Blake’s Heat of Love series. The story is officially book 2.6, taking place after Slow Heat, Alpha Heat, and Slow Birth. It is best read by those familiar with those books (or at the very least, Slow Heat, which introduces Jason and Vale’s story). Winter’s Truth has two intertwining plot lines that run alongside a holiday theme. First, we have young Ro, who has figured out this year that the magical winter-fox who supposedly delivers presents is not real. Traditionally, once kids know the truth, families end that part of the celebration. So Vale wants Ro to play along one more year, lest he disappoint Jason. Ro is really stressed about all this, as he is an honest kid and this feels like lying. As the story plays out, Ro feels a lot of guilt that hits him particularly hard when there is a family health crisis and he blames himself because he has been untruthful. I didn’t love the fact that Vale was pressuring his obviously reluctant child to lie (or in his words, withhold the truth), especially since it clearly affects Ro so badly. But I do like how it all plays out in the big picture in terms of how it connects with the end of the book. The story jumps ahead in time to when Ro is an adult, and we get a teaser for his future mate (though it is not revealed) and it has me SOOO hoping that we are going to get a story for the grown up Ro at some point.

The other storyline focuses on Jason and Vale as they face yet another of Vale’s heats. We know from previous books that Vale has not had predictable heats and it affects his overall health. So while the men enjoy the heat experience and their time together, they are both concerned about how it is affecting Vale. We do get a bit of larger world building focusing on advances in omega health related to heats and medication, but mostly this is a chance for some sexy scenes between Jason and Vale. I love this couple, so I always appreciate seeing them together (particularly after recently enjoying Slow Heat again in audio). But it also gives some nice balance to the story so there isn’t too much focus on Ro at the expense of the adult relationship.

This book is more of a slice in time than a romance on its own, but it is a great chance to get to reconnect with these characters and follow them years after Slow Birth. And while their holiday is specific to this world Blake has created, the traditions follow closely enough to Christmas that I think this gives a nice holiday vibe to the book as well. So if you are a fan of this series and are looking for a chance to revisit the characters and this world, definitely check out Winter’s Truth.

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