I do love when Mary Calmes delves into the paranormal realm. Her shifters usually bank on every possible angle to make them toppily delicious…She also writes a sexy devil of a bottom that totally annihilates all of his mate’s control. This story in some ways is a bit of a change of pace to that. First of all Mary Calmes and Cardeno C teamed up to write the story of Vy Aleknos and Robert Cimino. I have read almost everything Mary has written, but this was my first time reading a Cardeno C story. I was interested to see how their styles would match up, and if I would still able to get that Calmes brand of writing I know and love. I thought they’re joint effort worked beautifully, I could certainly recognize Mary’s style in Vy’s character, and enjoyed reading Robert’s POV as well.
For these guys I wanted to do something strictly vegan, but with a bit of twist. Robert was a vegan, and seemed to love the fake meat products. I am one as well (like 90% of the time anyways, I love Cheese too much!) but I don’t particularly enjoy the tofurky like products…What to do for food then? I remembered I have an AMAZING recipe for a No Fish “Tuna” Salad which is completely vegan, no mayo, no tuna, no nothing. I paired it with a glass of Malbec, mostly because it was there, and I think Malbec pretty much goes with anything. The 2012 Portillo Malbec from Salentin Winery in Argentina is full of flavor, has intense cherry overtones and hints of vanilla that make it a very nice wine to sip. It goes great with spicy or peppery foods, and for $9.99 it’s fantastic value.
Back to the guys. Vy Aleknos is a hawk shifter and the leader of his kettle. His entire life is fiercely connected to his animal side, to his role as the leader of his community. He was born to that job, and he made sure from the moment he assumed the role never to disappoint those under him. He is as much man as he is hawk. He is well loved, by his kettle, but nevertheless there is an emptiness in him. He is sorrounded by family and friends who love him, yet there is a part of him that he can’t share with anyone. He can’t show vulnerabilities, weaknesses, doubts. He can’t ever reveal that he yearns to be taken care of some time, that he has a deep aching need to let go and let someone else take over. When Robert Cimino walks into his life, he finally can sense that what he has been waiting for has arrived.
Robert is a scientist, he has been living out of a tent for his entire life, and has no plans to change anytime soon. He’s come to work in Vy’s little town in Colorado and as soon as he sees the slight, blond man he is drawn to him with everything he’s got. All the feelings and instincts that Robert has kept tampered down from when he was a young child are trying to bubble up to the surface. Robert is a bear shifter, but he has no pack, or has even shifted since he was a kid. The animal part of himself is dangerous, and he is fearful that he may not be able to control it, if he allows it to come out.
The thing is once Robert and Vy discover their connection it is hard to stay away. Robert is struggling in many ways, he has never contemplated staying in one place, but Vy embraces his animal side and won’t have a mate that doesn’t. They struggle with meeting half way, Vy is proud and quick tempered, while Robert is easygoing and sensitive. Then there’s the drama within Vy’s kettle, and an outside wolf pack. Is it realistic to even consider making a go of things for them?
I enjoyed this novel a lot, it definitely had the Mary Calmes touch, and I really liked Cardeno C’s writing as well. Robert and Vy were awesome to read in their own POVs, and the tones and styles complemented each other well. This is pretty straighforward shifter fare in terms of pack politics and what not. The town and supporting characters were also very reminiscent of Mary’s other shifter books. I enjoyed the juxtapositions of heros’ personalities, and the inner conflicts both Vy and Robert faced to be with each other. I also liked that their human sides were pretty well aligned with their inner animals. I loved how cuddly Robert was and how prickly Vy could be. I would TOTALLY love a follow up book on the Alpha of the enemy wolf pack! There are at least two more books that could come out of this one.
Recommend, for those looking for a sweet, easy, PNRish read. Control is available for purchase here.
No Fish “Tuna” Salad
2 cups garbanzo beans
4 celery stalks
2 tablespoons unsalted tahini
2 tablespoon pickle relish
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
½ teaspoon white miso
¼ cup red onion
Rinse and drain garbanzo beans and place into a medium-sized bowl. Chop celery and add to bowl. Add tahini, relish, mustard, miso, onion, lemon juice and salt and pepper to the bowl and stir to combine. Use the flat side of a fork to smash some of the beans. Serve over chopped romaine as a salad entrée, wrapped in a tortilla for a wrap, or on toasted bread for a sandwich.
Hope you enjoy the book, the food and the wine pairing! All three are very much worth revisiting soon, at least for me.
Cheers and Happy Reading!