cover image The Fake Mate

The Fake Mate

Lana Ferguson. Berkley, $17 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-54937-7

For this spicy paranormal rom-com, Ferguson (The Nanny) gleefully toys with shifter tropes, drawing on omegaverse fan fiction, where alpha and omega wolf shifters have distinct, inhuman sexual characteristics that uniquely complete each other. Doctor Mackenzie “Mack” Carter is a rare omega in wolf shifter hierarchy. Her matchmaking grandmother is determined to find her a decent man, but her recent blind dates have been “scraping the bottom of the barrel,” and she’s not interested in going on any more. Enter Dr. Noah Taylor, a fellow shifter and “the Boogeyman of Denver Memorial Hospital.” He’s as taciturn as Mack is bubbly and has a (“grossly overexaggerated”) reputation for making nurses cry. His status as an unmated alpha comes with stigma (stereotypes include fits of rage and sexual violence)—and now that it’s been leaked to the hospital higher-ups, he’s afraid he’ll lose his job. The solution to both their problems? Pretend to be fated mates with one another. What begins as a typical fake relationship story quickly slides into a delightfully endearing study of two people overcoming expectations. The kinkier side of omegaverse tropes won’t be for those expecting a more traditional shifter romance, but readers willing to go with it will have plenty of fun. Agent: Jessica Watterson, Sandra Dijkstra Literary. (Dec.)