Monday, September 21, 2015

Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C. – Mates Blog Tour


A powerful Alpha wolf shifter and a strong-willed human overcome traditions ingrained over generations and uncover long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny as true mates.

Regarded as the strongest wolf shifter in generations, Alpha Zev Hassick is surprised and confused by his attraction to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. A male shifter has to mate with a female shifter to keep his humanity, so shifters can't be gay. Yet, everything inside Zev tells him Jonah is his true mate.

Maintaining a relationship with the man he has loved since childhood isn’t easy for Jonah Marvel, but he won’t let distance or Zev’s odd family get in their way. When unexplained ailments begin to plague Jonah, he needs to save his own life and sanity in order to have a future with Zev.

Zev and Jonah know they're destined for each other, but they must overcome traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny.

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Book 1
Buy Links

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ARe  ~  B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Oyster
Smashwords  ~  Coupon Code: WE54F




Prologue

“I don’t disagree with you, Mother. Clarissa is a very beautiful woman. But I’m not going to date her.”

Zev didn’t bother trying to hide the frustration in his voice. Honestly, how many times would he have to tell his family that he wasn’t interested in their setups? Exhaustion beating at him, he leaned against the back of the leather couch and rubbed his palms over his eyes. Sleep rarely came to him, and when it did, he remained partially alert, terrified of losing his humanity while he was unconscious. He was barely hanging on as it was; this intervention was the last thing he needed.

Grandma Mae’s voice broke into his thoughts. Her frustration with Zev had reached such a high level that she willingly questioned him, her Alpha, a practice unheard of in her generation. Then again, maybe it wasn’t just her frustration; maybe Zev’s attempts to bring their pack into modern times had been more successful than he’d realized.

“I don’t understand this, Zev. You’re thirty years old. Your grandfather and I had already been married for close to a decade by the time we were your age. It’s not natural or healthy for one of our kind to remain alone.”

As if that was his cue, Grandpa Walter jumped into the conversation. Had they drawn numbers in advance to determine the order in which to beat up on him?

“I realize you feel we’re intruding on your privacy, son, but any shifter with eyes can see the problems you’re having, and the reason is plain. Shifters are deeply sexual beings, but the…” Walter paused and swallowed hard, as if it pained him to continue the sentence. “The women you’ve been using to meet your physical needs are half-souls. They aren’t enough to bind your humanity, especially for this many years. You’re a strong man and a strong wolf, Zev, the strongest I’ve seen in my lifetime. But no shifter can outrun his nature, not that I understand why you insist on trying. Whatever the reason, if you don’t tie with a shifter soon, your human side will be lost.”

Did his family members actually think they were telling him something he didn’t already know? Their only error was underestimating his strength and determination. Though the idea of meeting his sexual needs with humans—or half-souls, as shifters called them—repulsed his family, they were certain he’d been making a practice of it. How else could he have lived with both his human and wolf sides intact for three decades? They couldn’t fathom a shifter living that long without sharing at least some physical bond.

Well, they were wrong. Zev hadn’t tied with anyone—human or shifter—in his life, whether they believed him or not. But for how much longer? Returning from the change was becoming more and more difficult, with his wolf clinging to its form, not wanting his human to take over. And the longer the wolf remained in control of their body, the less likely it was that the human would be able to find his way to the surface again.

“There’s no point in denying it, Zev. We know what you’ve been doing, and we don’t judge you.”

Though he trusted his father’s sincerity, Zev also knew he remained uncomfortable with the idea of a shifter engaging in sexual acts with humans. The only reason he accepted what he called Zev’s “oddities” was because the Etzgadol pack had grown steadily since Zev had begun his Alpha training, even more so since he had taken over as pack Alpha. And Zev had had equal success with the family business, which now earned an annual gross income that was more than double what it had been before Zev had taken over.

“Move your hands away from your face and look at us, Zev. This is serious. You cannot continue to choose this lifestyle. Your body cannot survive it.” Gregory Hassick’s voice tightened with worry.

Zev dropped his hands to his sides and opened his eyes, knowing they were bloodshot and surrounded by dark circles. When was the last time he’d truly rested? He combed his fingers through his hair and resisted the urge to yell. His family loved him. He knew that. And this conversation, no matter how misplaced, was a reflection of that love.

“How many times do I have to explain this, Father? I’m not choosing this. I hate being alone. I haven’t tied with any human women. I want to claim my mate more than anything.”

Lori scooted closer to him on the couch and took his hand. The new egalitarian pack structure Zev had put in place was helped tremendously by his strong sister. She led the pack females by example, and they all admired her. She couldn’t go against their elders, which was likely why Lori had agreed to take part in this little family gathering. But neither would she speak against her brother, so she remained silent and lent Zev support with her actions.

“Everyone wants a true mate, Zev,” Gregory told him. “But very few shifters get them. The rest of us fall in love and feel completely satisfied with our chosen partners. Your mother and I have been happy together for well over half of our lives without the mating bond. Please, it’s time to let go of childish fantasies and accept your fate. You haven’t been blessed with a true mate, but you can still live a full life. Just tie with Clarissa or one of the other females in the pack. What can it hurt to try? Best-case scenario, you find this true mate you insist exists. Worst-case scenario, you have more regular companionship and a proper tie.”

Zev couldn’t hold back the growl in his chest. He was tired of their constant refusals to acknowledge the existence of his true mate and their never-ending setup offers. His parents had long ago stopped pretending the offers were about dinner and a movie. Were his parents honest with these women about the purely sexual role they were expected to play in his life? Probably not. Nobody outside of his family knew the truth. Hell, even those within his family denied it, despite the fact that he’d been clear with them for years.

“Clarissa isn’t my true mate. And I’m not interested in her companionship.” He spat out his response, his tone expressing disgust with the very idea of their brand of companionship.

“Why not, Zev? Are her breasts too small? Is her hiney too big? Just talk to us, and we can help you. If the females in our pack aren’t satisfactory, we’ll find a female in a neighboring pack for you so you can make a physical tie.”

He winced. Now his other grandmother was engaged in the game. Had any other man ever faced an eighty-year-old woman offering him his choice of tits and ass? Dear God, please make it stop.

“I’m gay, Granny Betty. Any breasts at all are a deal-killer, and I haven’t ever paid attention to Clarissa’s, um, hiney.”

The diminutive gray-haired woman threw her hands in the air.

“Our kind can’t be gay, Zev. It just doesn’t work that way. A male shifter needs to tie with a female shifter in order to bind his humanity, and the female needs to accept that tie from the male in order to release her wolf. This is basic preschool information, dear.”

Zev dropped his head on top of his hands, which were crossed over his knees. Yeah, he was very familiar with their kind’s version of the birds and the bees. Every shifter’s soul straddled two bodies: the wolf and the human. Women were naturally connected to their human side, but their wolf side was locked away, unable to find the freedom to run. Males, on the other hand, had free rein of their wolf from childhood, but their hold on their humanity was tenuous. The only way for a male shifter to retain his human form was to tie to a female shifter and absorb a portion of her humanity. Likewise, in order for a female shifter to retain her sanity, she had to free her wolf from its cage, something that could be done only by accepting a male’s tie.

So, yeah, Zev knew the basic facts, but he’d long ago rejected the idea that they were absolute. Because to believe that would be to believe he was unnatural, which couldn’t be true, since he’d been blessed with the most precious gift nature could offer a shifter: a true mate.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Angie☆☆☆☆☆
I am not usually a big paranormal fan but I love Cardeno C, this book was awesome. I have read several other books by this author but I think this series might be my favorite. I loved the intensity and how I could feel every emotion right along with these characters. I do not want to give away anything about this book because I think you need to read it to fully experience it. However, I do think that the second book Until Forever Comes should have been first, only because we see a few characters from that book in this book and I think their role in this book would have been better understood if their story was told first, but that could just be me. This was a great love story and even though at times I was frustrated with Zev and why he made Jonah wait, in the end it was all worth it. Amazing love story.

Characters: Well written and believable
Sex: Yes
Religious: No
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: Yes
Genre: M/M /shifter/ Romance
Would I read more by this author: Yes


Jacki☆☆☆☆
This was not your typical wolf read! Cardeno C. took this theme to a new level of interesting and I was hooked.

Shifter Zev Hassick and human Jonah Marvel have been best friends for as long as they can remember. Zev's been raised to be the next Alpha of his pack and as he's grown, his sense of duty and responsibility has grown as well. In his heart, he knows how he feels toward Jonah, but it all seems wrong and impossible with what he's been taught about being a shifter and what shifters need.

Jonah was raised by his human doctor father. He knows he's gay, and he knows that he wants to become a doctor. He isn't sure how to stay close to Zev with the distance between them.

As time passes, Zev and Jonah find being apart is becoming more and more unbearable. When a secret from Jonah's past is revealed, Zev and Jonah are shocked. Will this change things between them?

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was unique, sexy, and interesting. I would definitely recommend it to fans of shifter and M/M books. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.


Ruthie☆☆☆☆
An ever faithful Cardeno C. fan, I was delighted to get the opportunity to read these three new releases.

I enjoy shifter stories, and those which buck a preconceived trend are usually even better. The relationship between these two best friends, which continues through a very long period as Jonah trains to be a doctor, is lovely to witness. I love the reveal, the acceptance and the promise of a great future. There is a great build up to what definitely could be described as a hot, chemistry laden romance. There is a wonderful twist, which I sort of guessed must somehow be the case, and it ties the pair firmly together. I highly recommend this lovely story to you – and the fact that we meet the main protagonists of the next book, is a great segue into that story.


Also Available in the Mates Series

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
ARe  ~  B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Oyster
Smashwords  ~  Coupon Code: GT46E


Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
ARe  ~  B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo  ~  Oyster
Smashwords  ~  Coupon Code: JE52B




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's Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, "You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day."

Connect with CC

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FB Fan Group  ~  Pinterest  ~  YouTube  ~  Google+



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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Wake Me Up Inside (Mates #1) by Cardeno C. to read and review for this tour.

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