Author: Cardeno C and Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 220 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: Vy Aleknos is the leader of a hawk shifter flock. Openly gay since he was a teen, Vy is proud and self-assured on the outside, while secretly worrying he’ll be forced to spend his life alone because two males can’t be mates. When bear shifter Robert Cimino appears in Vy’s small town, Vy realizes his concerns were unfounded — he has a male mate, and a sexy, dominant one to boot.
Robert is a bear shifter who refuses to shift. Immediately attracted to Vy, he deviates from his normal pattern and seeks more than a one off with the powerful, bristly hawk. But Robert’s affections are rooted in his human form, and when Vy discovers Robert doesn’t recognize him as his mate, he pulls away. If Robert wants to stay with Vy, he must convince a man deeply ruled by his animal instincts to give their relationship as humans a chance.
Beans: I have been waiting for this book. Any diehard Cardeno C or Mary Calmes fan has as well. I knew that both CC and Mary write superb shifter books, but how would their two voices work together? Mary writes romance with a dark edge. She isn’t afraid of violence or a happily ever after. Cardeno C is known for writing beautifully developed characters and a sweet story.
I had to read the story twice in quick succession to figure it out. The first time I read it I was so excited I missed a lot of the depth. The second read through I took my time, absorbed the words and story, got lost in the food references, and sexy time scenes and read it without the anticipation. And I’m glad I took that time because it’s a wonderful story.
Vy has a lot on his plate as leader of his Kettle. He wants to be the sort of leader his father was, make him proud, and do everything in his power to keep order and safety in his ket. Vy is sharp like a knife edge. He is offended easily, constantly working, and he must always be in control.
Robert is just working on his latest environmental job site when Vy grabs his attention. A large man with an even larger bear hidden down. Vy pushes Robert. He isn’t afraid of him like everyone else and demands more of Robert.
The fight between these two makes for an incredibly enjoyable read. I love how Vy is fighting for his mate but also struggles with his desires. Robert and his fear of letting his bear control him, but Vy is pushing all his buttons, his human and shifter natures.
This scene. Vy is arguing with Robert, they tend to do that a lot and then…they stop. And there is a pause. Robert and Vy stop arguing and it turns into something else. Something beautiful and sexual with some deep cravings and it burns on the page.
It’s my favorite part. As a reader my breath caught, I both wanted to read as fast as I could to see how it ends and also to take my time, caught up in the words.
I loved this book. It’s fantastic and a great book to lose yourself in. If you are a Mary Calmes fan or Cardeno C fan you will be completely satisfied. If you haven’t read either of these authors I encourage you to read this book then go out and explore their individual back lists.
Nina: These are two of my favorite authors so I was very excited to read this story. There had been tremendous buildup for this, everyone was talking about it on all the social medias. Needless to say there was the potential for disappointment, for us to have set the expectation so high that it would be impossible to live up to the hype. Amazingly enough, these authors were able to create a story that surpassed all the hype. I adored every character and moment, there was not a false note, error or lose thread. This is one of the best writing partnerships that I have ever been blessed to read, the writing styles complimented each other and the two voices wove together seamlessly. All I can say is that I really hope that they will team up again.
These men are each struggling in their own ways when they meet. Vy has the expectations of his flock and the huge standard his father set as alpha before him. Robert has rejected his shifter nature and lives a life that keeps him without ties to any place or person. Their differences could become their greatest strength, if they can trust each other and allow their attraction and need to create a common ground to build their future together on.
Vy is a constant contradiction, he is an alpha who needs to be able to submit to his mate, a powerful shifter who commands with a look in the physical package of an adorable twink, he has a short fuse and fierce demeanor that masks a tender heart and a desire to be everything that everyone needs. He is marvelous. He cracked me up all the time.
Robert is a huge, cuddly bear. He was such a sweetheart, always very kind and considerate to everyone, never using his size to intimidate or force his way. I felt for him and his struggle to resist his animal instincts, I cannot imagine what it would be like to have to fight so hard against your own nature everyday, to live with the fear that to be yourself would be a betrayal of everything you value.
Robert truly loved and appreciated everything about Vy and wanted to be with him, he just wanted their relationship to be as humans. Having never experienced a mate bond and the benefits and connection that comes with a mating. I did not feel that it was ever a rejection of Vy or a lack of desire to be with him, he just didn’t believe that he could be the man he wanted to be if he allowed his bear to be a part of their world.
At the same time I can understand how devastating Robert not recognizing their mating would be to Vy. He is all about the flock and has a very close connection to his hawk, there is no separation for him. I ached for him and his struggle to let go of his own needs and allow Robert into his life as a man and not a mate.
They both want the same thing they are just coming at it from different places and calling it different things. But both men want to be together, they just have to find a way to compromise and see it from the other man’s perspective.
The sexual tension and desire between these men was delicious. When they give in to it and allow themselves to express their growing affection for each other it is amazing. The sex was hot, delicious and will leave you panting.
I loved the way that the common theme of destined mates was dealt with in this shifter story. They managed to make it both a matter of fate and of choice. The conflict their different views created in both men and their relationship was intense and painful.
The supporting characters are fantastic and create a world that feels genuine and is interesting. There are some scenes with friends and flock members that allowed us insight into the men and gave us the opportunity to fall for them a little bit harder. Giving them depth and fleshing them out into believable people. I would love to learn more about several of the side characters and read their stories.
My hat is off to Cardeno C and Mary Calmes. This is an excellent book and I enjoyed every word of it. Please tell me that you guys will write together again.