Falling Together (The Omega Haven #1) by Claire Cullen
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Paranormal – Shifters, Alpha & Omega, **Mpreg** Old School Romance but with Gay MCs
Length: 202 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Purchase At: amazon.com
Will doesn’t want an Omega. He’s been there, done that, and never truly got over it. His brother’s untimely death has left him Alpha leader of Eden City, a responsibility he wants no part of. Acting as gatekeeper to the only urban district that accepts unmated Omega, Will does his best to dissuade new arrivals from staying in a city fraught with danger. As much as he wishes he could, he can’t stop caring. A truth made all the more obvious when he crosses paths with Jake.
Jake is running from the hell his home has become, carrying a secret only an Omega can carry. To him, Eden City means hope, means a future, but everyone says it’s no place for an Omega. When they’re proved right, and he winds up in trouble, his only chance for freedom lies with Will, an Alpha troubled by his past. If Jake can form a connection with the seemingly indifferent Alpha, can Will lead Jake to safety and maybe to love?
Falling Together is the first book of The Omega Haven series. It is a 63,000-word paranormal romance with a happy ending, no cliffhangers, and can be read as a standalone. There are scenes and language not suitable for readers under the age of eighteen. It includes mpreg.
I’m going to start by saying shifter mpreg books are generally not my thing. I haven’t had a lot of success with them. But I was in the mood for one. This was on our Weekly Book Deals for US$0.79cents ($1.04 Australian) for 202 pages so it represented excellent value and it sounded like the ‘Goldilocks’ book for my reading mood when I started.
Jake is an Omega wolf shifter who has landed in Eden City. Like all shifters who come into Eden, he finds himself before the reluctant and current Eden Clan Alpha, Will. Jake needs permission to stay in the city and Will can either grant his plea or refuse it. Eden is not pack based, they live alongside humans and they now have a wary side-by-side existence. The only guidelines that Will gives Jake, with permission granted to stay, are that he can’t harm humans and his safety is all his responsibility. He also lets him know the city is not a good or safe place for an Omega to be on their own without an Alpha or friends/pack to protect them. Jake better think on that before deciding to stay. Jake has no other options but to try his luck in Eden. He soon discovers the hard way that no one is interested in Omega. No one will employ him – unattached Omega cause fights or dramas among Alphas in what is a bit of a shifter free-for-all in Eden, even humans are wary.
After weeks without getting a job, Jake finds himself out on the streets. He is eventually approached by a guy with food and a helpful demeanour who claims Antoine at a local club, Forbidden Fruit – that name is a bit of a giveaway, Jake – takes in Omega and gives them wait and bar work. Of course, if something seems to good to be true it’s because it is, and Antoine proves himself to be a first class douche. Pretty quickly Jake is held prisoner, drugged and being sold off to the highest bidder by Antoine, because Jake is attractive and virginal. This is the first in a few unfortunate events that dog sweet Jake, and he is sweet – I liked him. Being naïve should not be a crime but Eden has people who make a living off unattached Omega who have escaped bad packs and family to find themselves in the shifter mess of Eden.
Will denies he’s attracted to Jake at first, but his good friend and offsider Dave notices and mentions it… on a few occasions. Jake also keeps finding himself back with Will at Snakes and Ladders, Will’s bar, hoping that he’ll be the Alpha to his Omega, but Will can’t get over the death of his last Omega and won’t commit to another. The reader knows he likes Jake and it’s only a matter of time. The first time Jake stays is after being drugged then beaten at Forbidden Fruit by he man who bid on him and won. On that occasion he stays for nearly a week, and then again after going to a supposed safe house backfires on everyone.
Omega are being drawn to Eden to get away from bad homes and I drew a parallel between them and kids coming from bad homes or being gay and not having somewhere safe to live in the here and now. Kids finding themselves in a big city full of snakes. It’s true and we should do more. Kudos for making the reader think. There are Omega disappearing and a trafficking ring with people who seek them out and make money from the traffickers. A sadly familiar story. Chris, who is part of the Shifter Crimes Unit, comes back to Eden to see his friend and former co-worker, Will. Chris wants to be given access to Eden City because of the number of Omega disappearing. It looks like Eden is at the heart of a lot what’s happening, especially in light of the Eden Clan, and Stephen in particular, not caring a great deal about controlling Eden’s shifters.
Jake is pregnant even though he’s a virgin. I had a what the? moment when I first read that. Anyway, it turns out that his sister Kelly and her husband Rick, the Alpha at the Jaquar pack, use AI to get Jake pregnant and are planning on taking the baby for themselves. They plan on continuing to use him as their personal incubator so it was pretty imperative that Jake got out and stayed away.
There is nothing particularly new in this book, except Eden isn’t pack based which was an interesting concept, and I see where the author may be going with that. The changes that can occur. The ability for different shifter’s stories to be told. After Stephen ran the place into the ground, allowing the shifters to become a law unto themselves, Will hasn’t done a great deal with the place either because he didn’t want to be the Alpha of Eden. He’s more involved in running his bar, Snakes and Ladders, than he is the shifters in the city.
“You’re one of the few cities right now with an open shifter population that’s not under the control of a Pack. And the only city with effectively no leadership.”
The book is more romance Alpha/Omega-centric. Not lore or pack driven. There isn’t a ton of sex and when it happens it is shorter and sweeter and gentle. It’s definitely more old-school romance but with two men instead of one being a woman. Jake is the sweet and virginal younger male. Jake has a sob or two and needs reassurance, especially given the trouble he gets into. He is like the eponymous Pauline in the Perils of. Will is the stronger, experienced and slightly older male. He holds Jake’s chin and lifts his face up. He assures him all will be well. He knows Jake is virginal so their first time together is spent with hands held, and there’s nothing wrong with that but given my usual (dark) paranormal or shifter reading tastes I feel it’s important I point these things out.
I enjoyed Falling Together. It’s nicely edited with most of the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. I was impressed because indie mpreg shifter books can be a lotto of one sex scene after another, often with no plot and/or poor editing. Falling Together is none of those.
One of the things that bothered me about this book is that the shifters around Will talked about how Will’s older brother Stephen, the Alpha prior to Will, neglected Eden, but not how he actually did that, other than stopping the Shifter Crimes Unit from entering and patrolling. Apart from some clearly obvious ennui, I don’t know what Stephen did that was so lousy, the characters told me that he did and that’s that. I also don’t know how he died. I wondered if these characters might have been secondaries and crossed over from another series?
This book isn’t traditional pack-based wolf shifter reading. There is limited world building and history given. The book feels like it’s almost an alt-universe read but there is no real sense of time or place. Jake shifts once in the book and there is no description, same as Will when he shifts for some combat. That could have been expanded on but the book sets out to concentrate on the power differential of an Alpha and Omega and the sweet romance of that aspect, so bear that in mind. Also, there is absolutely no description of the birth. Some readers are happier with that, some aren’t.
I enjoyed my time spent in Eden with Jake and Will. There was nothing ground breaking about the story but it delivered nice, light-hearted and sweet reading when I wanted exactly that. It was well edited and it had a decent story at heart. Even though this is book #1 in a series, it has a happy ending and reads as a standalone. I’ll more than likely read more in the series as time and circumstance allows. I’d like to think that Jake and Will might be in the other books about other couples and I’ll get to see how Rhea is going, as well as any other siblings that may come along. I’d like to see how their Omega project is going, and Will back as a cop. So, yeah. I’ll be back visiting Eden in the near future. 4 Stars!