“Some things are destined to be — it just takes us a couple of tries to get there.” ― J.R. Ward
Author: Cardeno C. and Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 220 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
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.
Review: If you have ever read a shifter book, then you know the basics of the fated mate plot line. Most every shifter spends their entire adult life looking for that one other person who will complete them. The Fates are supposed to have found their other half for them, and they will compliment them in every way. That’s what I normally expect when I read a shifter romance, but this book took a whole other direction. What happens when one man recognizes the other as his mate, but the other only feels attraction, no mate pull? This is what happens between Vy and Robert, and watching them navigate this unconventional relationship was heart-wrenching at times and absolutely hilarious at others.
The story begins with Vy freaking out over scenting his mate in a local store and believing fate may have screwed up and given him a female mate. When he starts to track down his mate by scent, he is relieved to find the trail led him to a very hot, very large man named Robert. This Robert seems to be everything that Vy could want in a mate, and more. There is an instant attraction between the two men, and they do act on that attraction almost immediately. Robert is the total opposite of Vy in a lot of respects, but the two men fit each other’s needs perfectly.
While trying to figure out how to make his one-sided mating work, Vy also has to figure out how to protect his kettle from the local wolf pack. Eventually, Vy and Robert have to find a happy medium. When the lack of the mate pull on Robert’s part causes Vy to question the entire relationship, he pulls back, and both men suffer for it.
Robert decides that no matter what Vy thinks, they are going to be together whether Robert feels the pull or not. Robert proposes a plan to Vy for their relationship. He wants them to explore their “human” relationship and see if they connect on a more man-to-man level instead of on their animal level. This seems to work for them and they are growing closer. When the local wolf pack puts on a full-court press against the ket, Robert is forced into a difficult choice, and Vy is finally able to see his mate in all his glory.
Mary Calmes and Cardeno C. are definitely both wonderful authors individually. I didn’t know what would happen when they teamed up because they do have very different writing styles. In my opinion, they did a wonderful job of getting the story across and making me love the MCs and the supporting characters, as usual. This book is in no way what I would expect from each author individually, but together it works. If you can set aside your knowledge of each author as an individual, then you will adore this title as I did. This definitely isn’t a Mary Calmes book or a Cardeno C. book, but a good collaboration that had me turning the page as fast as I could.