Title ~ In Your Eyes (Mates #3)
Author ~ Cardeno C
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 14th July 2014
Genre ~ M/M Paranormal Romance
Raised to become Alpha of the Yafenack pack, Samuel Goodwin dedicates his life to studying shifter laws, strengthening his body, and learning from his father. Taking control comes easily to Samuel, but relating to people, including those he's supposed to lead, is a constant challenge.
When Samuel meets Korban Keller, the son of a neighboring pack’s Alpha, he reacts with emotion instead of intellect for the first time in his life. Resenting the other shifter for putting him off-balance, Samuel first tries to intimidate Korban and then tries to avoid him. What he can’t do is forget Korban’s warm eyes, easy smile, and happy personality.
When a battle between their fathers results in tragedy, Samuel and Korban are thrown together. With his world crashing down around him, Samuel must save his pack and show them he can lead. But first, Korban needs to save Samuel by inspiring him to feel. Two very different men with a tumultuous history must overcome challenges from all sides and see past the rules they’ve been taught to realize they are destined to fit together.
Cardeno C tells great stories. They're sexy, sweet, moreish and satisfying and that's why they get high ratings from me. A Cardeno book is my go to happy place when I want to read something really feel good. Some lighter reads are just that...light, fluffy popcorn that's enjoyable because it's something that fills a particular urge at the time, but ultimately is pretty forgettable. A CC story is always much more than that. I always know that I'm going to get loveable characters, a great (hot) romance, a well thought out back story, just the right amount of conflict to stop the story going into the realms of saccharine, tummy rolling love scenes and last but not least; the perfect happy ever after that never fails to leave me sighing happily. Forgettable certainly isn't an adjective I'd use around these books!
I love all the contemporary ones I've read but I'm getting really enamoured with these recent paranormal, shifter books that Cardeno has started writing and the 'Mates' series is turning out to be a very addictive read. The concept of mates isn't a new one but in Cardeno's shifter world there can be hazardous consequences if you don't recognise yours and act on it, as we've seen in the series up to now. Finding a True Mate is very rare so if a shifter doesn't choose a mate and tie (have sex) before a certain time, there's a risk that either the wolf will totally take over and the human side will be lost forever or for some their ability to bring their wolf forward will be totally lost and their shift might be repressed. All made worse if they do meet their True Mate but are kept apart for long periods of time. Most of this is based on the mating being a male/female pairing but of course these relationships are male/male in a universe that doesn't particularly sanction gay shifters, so the chances of true love running smooth are greatly reduced and our guys definitely have to work hard to get their HEA's. But that's what makes these stories so damned enjoyable!
Samuel Goodwin and Korban Keller's romance is testament to all the above. They're both sons of the residing Alphas of their packs and next in line to take over. They first meet when Sam is just 8 years old and Korban,11. Completely opposite in nature, Sam is standoffish and prickly, Korban open and friendly but young self-possessed Sam sees this as suspicious and can't understand why this other boy makes him feel 'funny', so he decides to channel all that confusion into negatives, making him think he hates Korban, even though every time they do meet over the next couple of decades, which isn't that often, his nemesis is never anything but friendly to him, and still those confusing 'feelings' exist fuelling Sam's puzzling dislike. Over the years Sam grows into a strong, powerful, man. Well educated and totally absorbed in written shifter history, tradition and law, he's training hard to become the Alpha he thinks his pack needs for when his father steps down but as much as he fits the bill physically and knowledgeably; emotionally and empathically he's sadly lacking. A fact that worries his mother and liberal minded father, who is well loved and looked up to by their pack members, and Sam struggles with it on a daily basis.
"She couldn't know how difficult it was to balance strength, power, and decisiveness with what my father called empathy, compassion and flexibility."
Unfortunately the complete opposite is happening for Korban who, because of his empathy, kind nature and fairness, would make a wonderful Alpha, totally opposite of his skanky, bigoted father who's plotting to take over both their packs, a decision that results in an explosive, tragic event that has far reaching consequences for each of the characters involved. Especially Sam, his close family and Korban.
Sam, Sam, Sam...if only you'd been old enough to understood instinctively what had been slapping you in the face from the moment you set eyes on the gorgeous Korban, but I've got to say it wouldn't have been half as exciting, satisfying or gripping if it had been any different so I absolutely loved the love/hate relationship that played out between them. When the light finally switched on inside Sam's brain and he had the much needed epiphany about his feelings for Korban, who by this time was in a very precarious situation, put there by a need for revenge (and in danger from both his own family pack members and a dissatisfied faction of Sam's) I was deeply engrossed and completely absorbed.
There was a fulfilling build up of sexual tension but this was when the passion and romance side of the story came into it's own and as always it was pure Cardeno magic. Omg!! Once Sam saw the light, he literally became a different person. The chemistry between them sparked, the heat level reached boiling point and the sex was cold shower worthy, but still, always bolstered by a real sense of romance and love. The strange thing is, considering how much I love...No...make that obsessively love... my m/m books, in real life I'm not really that romantic a person but I always find myself going a bit gooey with these types of love stories, and with Sam and Korban I found myself in danger of melting into a puddle every time they touched each other. And once Sam realises the delights of sex they touch a lot! It was adorable watching this once, impassive, dispassionate man utterly felled by the power of true love when it finally hits him, and yes there is the "MINE" thing, which call me corny (or should I be truthful and say horny, haha) always gets to me and just makes me puddle even more! I love a bit of a possessive Alpha male but in this case even this proprietorial moment is done in a way that just makes you go "Awwwwww."
"I loved hearing him call me his honey, loved that he thought of me that way. I loved how he touched me, how tender he was, how natural it felt. I loved the way he looked at me like I was precious to him. I loved the soft tenor of his voice when he spoke to me."
Sam is totally lost in love and when you get to meet the mouth watering Korban you'll understand why. His selflessness, patience and staunch belief that Sam will finally come to his senses and recognise what's truly happening between them, is just gorgeous and even though it puts him in real danger he never wavers or doubts that his true mate will ever reject him even though it takes years and a fair touch of heartache to get there. And as much as Sam starts out a bit of a cold fish...I never doubted it either! **sigh** I loved these two beautiful wolf shifters a lot.
Even though there are mentions and guest appearances from past characters, you could read each one of them as a standalone but if you don't pick each one up and read them as a series then you're denying yourself a great deal of pleasure. Book two is a vampire/shifter romance so if you like a bit of diversity to break up all the wolfiness then you get that too. Thank you Cardeno for never failing to deliver a delightful reading experience. I heart you and your books very much.
Buy it Here
Series Reading Order
Wake me Up Inside
AMAZON GLOBAL LINK
Until Forever Comes
AMAZON GLOBAL LINK
In Your Eyes
About Cardeno C
Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset. Cardeno feels that characters write their own stories and just hopes to find enough time to get those stories on the page.
Cardeno is gifting two eBooks, Wake Me Up Inside (Mates #1) and Until Forever Comes (Mates #1). All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below.