Melded Attraction (Whitacre Foundation #1)


Title: Melded Attraction: An M/M Urban Fantasy Romance (Whitacre Foundation Book 1)
Author: Alex Tyler
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Release Date: February 28, 2019
Genre(s): Urban Fantasy Romance
Page Count: 183
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.80 stars out of 5

Blurb:

He hates magic… until he meets a man whose power doesn’t ruin him.

Legend has it there’s a powerful artifact that can bring magic to the world, not just the gifted few who bear it now, and Morgan’s altruistic parents want to find it and do just that. But Morgan’s not so sure it’s a good idea—after all, magic has always done more harm to him than good.

Then he meets ex-cop designer Jake, who has a kind of magic no one has ever seen before. It sets Morgan’s own magic afire… not to mention what Jake does to Morgan’s body.

There’s only two problems: Jake doesn’t know magic exists, and he’s getting married to Morgan’s oldest friend. When the Whitacre Foundation’s negotiation to buy the artifact goes deadly wrong, Morgan will need Jake’s help—and the help of his strange, powerful magic—to solve the mystery and find out what’s really so important about the artifact.

Melded Attraction is the first book in the Whitacre Foundation series. If you like your M/M romance interspersed with magical artifacts, engaging side characters, exciting adventures, emotional intimacy, and undeniable passion, you’ll love the first in this thrilling series of high stakes missions and romance.

Magical artifacts, immersive settings, travel, adventure, well-developed side characters and exes that don’t suck—it’s all here in this exciting new series!


Jake, ex-member of the Melbourne police force retrained as a graphic designer, has met Ashley in his native Australia. When she asks him to move back to the US with her, he accepts. Because Jake loves Ashley. At least that’s what the reader’s supposed to believe. Thanks to Ashley’s connections, he gets a job at the Washington DC-based Whiteacre Foundation, run by the members of the Whitacre family and specialized in the restauration of antiques. He doesn’t yet know that the Foundation has a secret agenda, which is to bring back magic to humans. Because, you see: the Whiteacres are one of the last families on earth who can do magic (basically, they can transmogrify things). There seems to be an old artefact called the London Hammer capable of “unleashing” magic again, and the Whiteacres dedicate their lives to finding and, one supposes, using that thingy for the greater good of mankind.

Back to Jake. His boss Morgan Whiteacre is a photographer-turned-antiques-restaurer-and-secret-artefact-hunter, in his early thirties and a childhood friend of Ashley’s. He’s currently trying to cope with a recent break-up. As soon as the two men meet, whizz!, the very air surrounding them sparkles with electricity. The keen reader scents at once that Ashley and Jake will be exes before long. Then several things happen. First, Morgan follows a lead in Spain, but his liaison man is killed, and the artefact remains as elusive as ever. Then both Ashley and Jake begin to have second thoughts about their impending wedding (where Jake is concerned, the reader’s thinking “Duh!”). Nonetheless, they decide to play the game when their friends drag them to Las Vegas for their Bachelor Parties. It’s there Jake and Morgan, completely pissed, exchange their first kiss, an almost “epiphany-esque” experience. But both refrain from going any further, Jake because his cop instincts are piqued by some details in Morgan’s behaviour, and Morgan because he’s a decent guy for whom shagging his old friend’s future husband is just a complete No-Go. Unsurprisingly, once everyone’s back in DC, Ashley and Jake decide to call the marriage off. There remain several more twists and turns before the story reaches its temporary ending (we’re told this is the first instalment of a whole “Whiteacre Foundation”-series, after all).

Well, I do love me some nice fantasy novel. Throw in magic, magicians, witches, spellcasters, mythical beasts, and I’m hooked. Alas, somewhat disappointingly, the magical side of this novel was not as strong as I would’ve hoped. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t need complicated Pigeon Latin spells and people waving wands or brewing foul-smelling concoctions (even though that can be nice, too). But here we have mainly Morgan doing magic (and he loathes it), and then his sisters a bit more freely and happily. But it’s as if magic could be summarized as a bunch of not so exciting transmogrification techniques. We’re not treated to any fulfilling, satisfying magical goings-on. I also think books about magic or with magic in them should create a magical atmosphere so that the reader can believe/hope/dream magic is real and happening. The book lacked this aspect a bit.

As for the characters, I really liked Morgan, who’s loveably cynical but loyal and with sane moral standards, and I liked Jake, too (who hasn’t one day fantasized about doing one of those Australian surfer dudes, right?). I think the secondary characters could and should have been more present; they felt somewhat transparent, especially Morgan’s parents. I would’ve really liked to know more about where they “came from”, so to say. We are told a couple of things re. their backgrounds, mainly about Morgan’s mother, but well, telling and showing are two different things.

Now, plot-wise, several things. I had a really hard time imagining Jake ever having been a cop in his life (can’t put my finger on the “why”), but that’s just my personal opinion. What I had an even harder time imagining, however, was him ever having passionate intercourse (or simply intercourse, for that matter) with his fiancée. Just fancy that from the moment Jake and Morgan meet, they seem to be constantly wandering around with throbbing hard-ons caused by the mere sight of each other. There’s not only chemistry, there’s literally (and I really mean literally) electricity between them. Magic? Yes, believable. But Jake and Ashley being lovers? No way.

I also have a slight problem with the leading idea of the novel, and of the whole series, I suppose: that it would be nice if someone gave humans their magical abilities back. Morgan for instance is not convinced that’s such a good idea, given how greedy/stupid/place-any-negative-adjective-here humans can be. I admit I think he has a point.

My last quibble would be the plot twist towards the ending, which was such a complete surprise that it felt… almost out of place, like “Now, where did that come from?”

But the story’s well-written and well-paced, no blank, no yawn, no eye-rolling from me. Maybe a bit too much centred on Jake and Morgan revolving around each other and not enough on the magical intrigue, but the romance builds slowly and nicely, and I heaved a sigh of contentment when the two guys were finally allowed to have it off with each other. I hope the “world-building”, i.e. the magical side of the series, will be more present and stronger in the next instalments, which I will certainly read with as much gusto.

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Galley copy of Melded Attraction provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.

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2 comments

    • ‘So much to read’ is my second name 😉 As it would be inappropriate to put a list of my alltime favourite gay books in this space (books that wowed me so much, for very different reasons, that I must’ve read them at least ten times each), I could send you a quick email if you want… so that you can add some MORE books to your list, hehe 🙂

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Author

Dieter, born and raised in Austria, studied Political Sciences in Vienna in the early 90s. He's living in Paris, France, with his boyfriend and working as a graphic designer. In his spare time, he loves to write, read, cook, take photos, and travel as often as possible. He’s already published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. His first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” featuring Damien Drechsler and the dashing Greek student Nikos has been released on Jan. 6, 2019, and is available in English, French, and German. By the way, the French version "Le cercueil farci" has won the prestigious Prix du roman gay 2019 in the category murder mystery. Dieter runs a gay book reviews site in French and is also writing reviews for Gay Book Reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude.
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