This story seemed like something I could sink my teeth into. I didn’t hate it. I actually enjoyed it to be fair. But technically this book was a wash for me. It didn’t deliver on what I came into it expecting so even though I laughed a few times and overall liked the book, the book itself wasn’t what I would consider a good book.
Karr is a rare ice dragon living in somewhat solitude at the mountain cabin he works at. He gives tours to adventurous dragons. What I find odd about this is as a dragon shifter who wouldn’t fly around the mountains in dragon form? But the real oddity is he describes all dragons as rich and slightly snobby, even the couple he tours for the opener seem like the type to enjoy their commodities right down to sipping on expensive wine and not wanting to spend more than the weekend on the mountains. Are there no regular dragons? Karr describes them all like they are like this and this is part of why he ran away, beyond being treated differently for being an ice dragon. The book definitely gave the impression that all dragons are upper-class and he’s hiding from them.
Also, the book doesn’t shy away from expressing dragons’ primal instincts. The cabin owner herself during the 75 years Karr has been there has had more than her fair share of fun. He on the other hand has not only been single but celibate. Considering it’s dragon nature him liking solitude as an ice dragon is fine, but what harm could come from a night with a traveller just passing by on their hike up the mountain? The real reason this is strange is that when Levy shows up he instantly wants him. Almost like the only way for him, in 75 years, to feel attracted to anyone is if it just so happens to be his mate. There wasn’t any real fight almost like he had no real conviction to the celibacy. Even if his mate showed up there should’ve been more resistance.
Speaking of Levy. He was okay. Human and genuinely hiking up the mountain. His relationship with the cabin owner was gold. They talked together more than he did with Karr. She was very entertaining and more of her would’ve been nice. The thing about Levy is he was literally used as a device to get Karr in bed with him. Their first real interaction is a hike up the mountain in which he over-analyses Karr which just irritates and angers him which is more about tension than about connection building between them. It’s not nearly as character developing as the small slices we get of Levy with the cabin owner. She’s upselling Karr which is also great. The other thing about this hike is that Karr took him on the harder trail on purpose to see if he would last which of course leads to Levy passing out and needing rescue. An entire section of letting the romance of the story blossom and happen was spent with one character intentionally trying to defeat the other and the other pressing buttons through over-analisation. Neither led to a connection growing between them.
Then Levy is in and out of consciousness in a dream-like state. I had to put the pieces together as the story doesn’t show Karr picking him up and either flying or rushing him back to the cabin and then using his body to physically keep him warm. For all I knew Levy could’ve been legitimately having a dream in his own bed after fainting. It just wasn’t written well enough for me to know what was happening without guessing even if that guess was right.
And then, after this steamy encounter, their next meet is another steamy encounter that leads to pregnancy and joining of mates. My big issue here is that in order for them to join for life Levy has to get pregnant. They can’t just join together. It must lead to a child. Not only that but Karr is supposed to half shift temporarily into dragon form. There’s a lot of talk about his penis changing but beyond that no real shifting I can remember so that was a letdown. Wings, maybe a tail. Anything besides full-on Dragon because that would’ve crushed Levy.
My issue with this, and Mpreg in general is they always, usually the first time, get pregnant. I can count the number of times in MF romance a pregnancy has happened on my hand. Even in erotica. The notion that In MM novels you have to get pregnant is so odd. I just can’t imagine a world where every unprotected act led to pregnancy. It’s just so odd when some people can spend their entire lives out there doing the do and never procreate. In this book, Karr explicitly says when we bond you will get pregnant. And it’s extremely prevalent in the genre and again usually the first time that the Omega does something with their fated mate they get pregnant. Sometimes even before they’ve officially bonded. Also authors love having children in the epilogues to solidify this even further. It’s just really hard for me to get on board with Omega’s constantly being relegated to the task of keeping home for the Alpha and making babies. It’s so I’m alpha, you omega, just accept your role and be okay with it. It’s definitely my biggest peeve in Mpreg. Just because you can, and even if you are bonding with your mate, doesn’t mean that you have to.
Of course, one can argue that they aren’t virgins so they haven’t gotten pregnant before which, if that’s the case, still begs the question why does that magically have to change for the first encounter with the Alpha of the novel.
All in all the problem with this book was that the main characters were only really together twice. The first time was a device to get them in bed together and the second was to consummate the relationship. So the melting of the ice dragons heart, the two of them growing together and realising their love for each other, the struggles of dealing with wanting solitude and breaking 75 years of celibacy, basically the togetherness that a romance journey requires didn’t happen. The relationship never began really and then it just was. Karr and Levy don’t spend nearly enough page time together to watch this connection grow. So the journey that the title and the blurb promise never actually happens.
Even though I can’t outright say I didn’t like this book, plotwise it didn’t deliver on what I expected. The side character was the most entertaining character. And even with the laughs and cute moments, it’s hard to say this was a good journey of two characters coming together because it just didn’t happen. Had they spent time developing this, cause the story is short but definitely long enough to do this, this would’ve been an easy four stars. And I’m here for low angst but the only angst here was the first hike that was obviously a plot device to get them in bed as I have said. So, in this case, another avenue of tension needed to be tackled. All in all, what I expected from the blurb was not what I felt I got when I read it which was unfortunate because this definitely had the bones of an intriguing romance.