rough heat coverRating: 3.75 stars
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 Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

 

Leo is a sex worker and he is often hired by omegas to help them through their heats. His latest new clients are an alpha/omega couple who need help with Josh’s difficult heats. Josh has a condition that makes his heats both frequent and intense, and Josh’s overall health is suffering. He and his partner, Damon, hope that with Leo’s help, Josh’s heats will be easier and give him some time to recover his health.

Leo finds himself immediately connecting with Josh and Damon. They are so obviously in love, and such a kind, friendly couple. It is rare that an alpha could be comfortable having another alpha around when his mate is in heat, so Leo appreciates how Damon is willing to do anything to help Josh. Not only does having all three of them together help Josh have an easier experience, the three men find a great connection. In fact, they begin to spend some time together outside of Josh’s heats, getting to know one another.

Josh and Damon seem to really care for Leo and, before long, Leo realizes that he is falling for them. But Leo can’t believe the couple would ever really want him in their lives. Leo’s past has left him without the confidence to believe he could ever be truly wanted, and the situation is becoming painful. Now, Leo has to work on believing that he deserves happiness, and there may be a chance for something more between the three of them.

Rough Heat is a sexy, omegaverse story that also nicely explores Leo coming to terms with his past and his mental health. The story has two main parts. The first portion focuses on Leo meeting Josh and Damon and helping them as Josh goes through his difficult heats. Leo is surprised how willing Damon is to include him and how much he feels like a real part of things between them. This portion is more sex heavy as they spend time together during the heats, as well as getting to know one another outside of the bedroom.

As a reader, it is clear that Josh and Damon have real feelings for Leo, but he is not in a mental place to believe he could ever fit in with them. The story then moves into Leo working on himself and his mental health, including getting therapy. We learn more about Leo’s abusive father and how that relationship really colored his sense of self worth. He doesn’t think he really deserves happiness with Josh and Damon, so he doesn’t see the opportunities that could be right in front of him. We also see how Leo is no longer really happy in his job, as he is often in situations that make him uncomfortable, but he doesn’t feel he deserves more. I appreciated that the story makes clear that the sex work isn’t the problem, but that Leo accepts things that are harmful for him due to his mental health struggles. We then get to see Leo working on his health and getting to a place where he is really ready for a relationship. So I think while this is still a sex heavy omegaverse story, there is another layer here that adds some nice depth.

I do think that the world building feels a little too undeveloped. Aside from Josh going into heats, this story otherwise could almost be a standard contemporary. The alpha/omega dynamics, the mating bond, and even Josh’s physiology aren’t really ever explained. Also, there are details that aren’t really addressed. For example, Josh is having four-day heats every two weeks. How are he and Damon even managing to handle their jobs with so many days out of commission? We also see Damon go into rut, but there is no real explanation of what that means in this larger world. The story is also told exclusively from Leo’s POV and I don’t feel like Josh and Damon are nearly as well developed as characters. We see that they are nice, friendly guys, and Josh is more outgoing while Damon is a homebody. But we learn virtually nothing about them as a couple pre-Leo or about their lives. So I think fleshing out some of these areas would have rounded out the story nicely.

Overall, I found this an entertaining story. I enjoyed Leo, Josh, and Damon together, and I really liked how the book explores Leo’s mental health along side the sexier omegaverse dynamics. It gives some nice weight to balance out the more sex-focused side of things. If you enjoy omegaverse stories, or are a fan of an established couple taking a third, I think this one is an appealing choice.

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