Monday, February 9, 2015

In Another Life & Eight Days by Cardeno C. Blog Tour

In Another Life

At age eighteen, Shiloh Raben is tired. He no longer has the energy to deal with mean classmates, inner doubt, and fear of familial rejection, so he takes a razor to his wrist. When he wakes up in the hospital, Shiloh meets Travis Kahn, the EMT who saved him and didn’t leave his side.

Travis is handsome, smart, and funny—the type of guy Shiloh would never be brave enough to approach. But his near-death experience has an unusual side effect: the life that flashed before his eyes wasn’t the one he had already lived, but rather the one he could live. With visions of a future by Travis’s side, Shiloh will find the strength to confront his fears and build a life worth fighting for.

Eight Days

Childhood family friends, Maccabe Fried and Josh Segal have always gotten along despite having nothing in common. Maccabe is an athlete with dreams of playing professional baseball. Josh is an aspiring architect with dreams of being with Maccabe. Despite all odds, both dreams come true.

Maccabe and Josh fall into a long-distance romance, which is everything Josh thought he wanted. But after years of hiding from the world, Josh wants to bring their relationship into the open. When Maccabe refuses, Josh is faced with a tough decision: stay with the man he loves or live the life he deserves. No matter the choice, somebody’s bound to get hurt. Thankfully, in the season of miracles, there’s always hope for a happy ending.

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In Another Life

I flinched and then started walking toward my door, trying to keep my pace not too fast but not too slow. Nothing to see here, folks. Just a guy going for a walk. Wearing a robe and slippers. “How’ve you been?”

Making small talk in that particular situation would have been awkward no matter what. I mean, the man had blown me off and then caught me digging through his trash. Transitioning smoothly to a discussion about his well-being took more social skills than I had at my disposal that early in the morning.

But then things went from bad to worse when I reached my front step, tripped over my Scooby-Doo slippers, and grabbed on to the post in front of my house to steady myself. As it turned out, my robe wasn’t tied securely enough to withstand that kind of limb extension, which I realized when it flopped open. I jerked my head up and stared at Travis, trying to think of what I could say to salvage some portion of my dignity.

“Wow,” he said as he ground his cigarette into a bowl on the porch railing and flicked his gaze up and down my body. “You’re wearing three different cartoon characters right now, which is particularly amazing seeing as how you’re barely dressed.”

“Why didn’t you call me?” I snapped. Because apparently, my humiliation wasn’t complete enough, and I wanted to add desperate and whiny to my list of attributes, right after trash-obsessed, well-dressed, and impeccably groomed.

“I was actually doing that very thing just now.” He cleared his throat, held up his phone, and waved it at me.

“You were?” I asked, my voice cracking as I once again took in his ruggedly handsome face and felt my heart flip over.

“I wanted to call sooner.” He started walking toward me. “Usually I have weekends off because I’ve been on staff the longest, but everyone was celebrating Halloween last weekend, which meant we needed all hands on deck to deal with everything from skin rashes and oxygen deprivation in people who don’t realize spray paint and body paint aren’t the same thing, and heart attacks in men who had the wrong types of nurses in their beds.” He kept moving in my direction. “After that, I had my normal schedule, which is four twelves, but that turned into more like four eighteens because half the medical staff came down with the flu.”

He dragged his gaze from my Scooby-Doo-covered feet, up my Simpsons-covered groin to my unshaven just-woke-up face, and stopped when he was inches away from me. “Either I finally collapsed from exhaustion and right now I’m passed out in the hospital having the best dream ever or”—he grasped the sides of my robe and pulled it shut, then tied the belt more securely as he gazed into my eyes—“the cute guy I haven’t stopped thinking about just got even more adorable.”

“You think I’m cute?” I whispered as I blinked up at him.

He smiled softly. “I think you’re adorable.”

“Oh.” I scrunched up my nose and squinted. “Why?”

Travis threw his head back and laughed, and then he coughed, cleared his throat, and tried to look serious as he said, “I almost never see an adult wearing character slippers.”

“They were a present from my parents,” I said defensively. Technically, the present was a gift card, and I had chosen to spend it on slippers, but my money didn’t pay for them, so that still counted as a gift.

“Is that right?” He arched his eyebrows and crooked the side of his mouth up.

“Yes.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “For Hanukkah last year.”

“Lucky you.” He curled his lips over his teeth as if he was holding in a grin. “All I got was a new otoscope.”

“What’s an otoscope?”

“It’s something for work. I use it to look in patients’ ears. Pretty fun present, huh?” He chuckled.

“Are you a doctor?” I asked.

He looked down at the scrubs and white coat he wore; then he slowly raised his head and smirked. “Were you listening to anything I said? Or have you been too busy checking me out and having dirty thoughts?” He shook his head and smiled fondly. “Never mind, I think I like the second option better, so let’s go with that.” He cleared his throat and straightened my robe, flattening the fabric over my shoulders and chest. “In answer to your question, yes, I’m a doctor. Emergency medicine. I work at Southeast Medical Center.”

“Oh, uh,” I stammered, feeling foolish. “I didn’t think doctors smoked. But, uh, in that case, an otoscope sounds like a very, uh, practical present.”

Travis snorted. “Come visit the smoking area outside of a hospital sometime, and you’ll see one of our favorite ways to deal with stress and sleep deprivation. And, yes, my parents are really practical. When I was a kid, they used to give me socks and underwear for Hanukkah.” He paused and leered at me. “But they were always tighty-whities. Not like those super-sexy Simpsons boxers you’re wearing.”

I blushed at the reference to my embarrassing underwear, and then the rest of what he said sunk in. My jaw dropped. “You’re Jewish?”

He nodded. “Yes. Is that a problem?”

“Only if you were hoping to avoid meeting my mother, because when I tell her I’m dating a Jewish doctor, she’s going to start cooking up a storm and planning a wedding.” Once I stopped babbling, I noticed that Travis was giving me that raised-brow, crooked-grin look again. Had I just told a man who affirmatively hadn’t asked me out that we were not only dating but also were on our way to becoming engaged? At that moment, I created a new rule for myself: no talking to anybody until after my first cup of coffee. Clearly, my uncaffeinated morning brain couldn’t be trusted.

“Uh,” I said. “I need to go or I’ll be late for work.” Then I turned on my heel and rushed to my door.

“Shiloh!” Travis called out after me.

“Yes?” I asked without turning around.

“I’ll pick you up tonight at six thirty.”

I looked back over my shoulder. “Pick me up?”

“Yes. For our date.”

“Our date?” I repeated dumbly.

“Yup.” He nodded firmly. “I think it’s important we get to know each other before the wedding, don’t you?”

“I didn’t… I mean, that’s not what I—”

“Six thirty.” He waved as he started walking back to his townhouse. “And feel free to wear those boxers.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This talented author always hits the right notes as far as I am concerned. The books are always a perfect combination of sexy men, family oriented issues, meaningful messages and full of love.

In Another Life is a clever story that inevitably gets you thinking, as well as enjoying a passionate, meaningful relationship.

Eight Days is told over a number of years and gives us the story of two really good friends, one of which doesn't know how to be more. When he finally works it out, is it too late? I really loved the point that it was the person not the gender that mattered to him.

Cardeno C.’s books are balm to my soul. I read one or more a month to keep smiling – thank you.

With every book I read from Cardeno C. I think wow this is my favorite, then I read another and think the same thing. There has to be a bad one in there somewhere right? If there is I haven't found it yet.

In Another Life

When Shiloh attempted to kill himself at eighteen it wasn't the life he led up to that point that flashed before his eyes with his last breath, it was the life he was going to miss out on that did. Travis Kahn was Shiloh's anchor in the present and the future.

"I think the reason nobody else ever felt right for me was because I've been waiting for you"

I loved this story. It brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. If only the young LGBTQ community realized that it gets better. That people will accept you, maybe not the people you thought but the people that matter will. Great read!

Eight Days

Josh Segal and Maccabe Fried have always been friends, they were in two completely different social circles and maybe if their families weren't so close they wouldn't have been friends but they were and close at that. While spending one Hanukkah dinner together that things between them changed, at least in Maccabe's mind. When he finally admits his feelings for Josh will Josh take the long distance, seedy motel relationship Maccabe wants? Or does Josh need to be honest about who he really is?

"No, I don't want to move on. I want to move closer to you."

This was such a sweet story. The emotion behind Josh's hurt and love is so powerful. Another great read but I just wish they were longer.

In Another Life….Oh my god, this book was amazing! I loved the concept of the book and my only wish was that it was longer! Shiloh tries to commit suicide, Travis was the EMT who saved his life and can’t seem to leave his side while he is at the hospital. You see things on TV when people have surgery and they say they saw things while under, either the white light, a family member who has passed, etc. Well, this book flashes Shiloh’s future while he is out. This was an amazing book and you could feel the love between both Shiloh and Travis.

Eight Days….Maccabe and Josh were friends for years, then became lovers. Both had dreams and thought life was going great, until Josh decided he was tired of hiding their relationship and wanted to tell their families. Maccabe said no. What happens after that is nothing short of a miracle and I will have to say, I will never look at snow globes again without thinking of Josh.

Characters: The characters were well written and believable.
Sex: Yes
Religious: In Another Life = no; Yes in Eight Days
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: No
Genre: M/M/Romance
Would I read more by this author: Yes

I was excited to get my hands on more romance by Cardeno C. and I was not disappointed! I thought the cover was intriguing and once I began to read, I didn't stop.

In In Another Life, I enjoyed the easily likable characters right away, and I was touched by the depth of emotion put into such a shorter storyline. I really felt Shiloh's pain and just wanted things to get better for him. I was surprised by how the storyline played out and then changed. It was different, and I wasn't expecting it. It definitely made the story unique. I loved their romance. It was sweet, sexy, and fun. I found that the story flew by and was over before I knew it, leaving a smile on my face.

Eight Days was also a fast and enjoyable read for me. I didn't put it down until I was finished. I really love how Cardeno is able to fit such depth of emotions and key social issues into such few words. Josh's struggles and maturity versus Maccabe's youthful carelessness were a stark contrast that kind of kept me on edge while reading. Their romance was sweet, but hot, heady, and easy to read.

I enjoyed the Jewish aspects of both of these as well. They were interesting to me and I loved the closeness of the families in them. I would recommend these to M/M fans and anyone looking for easy, enjoyable romance reads. I will be happily waiting my next read by Cardeno C.

Whether Cardeno C is writing full length novels or short stories like In Another Life & Eight Days, she always makes me fall in love with her characters.

Another Life is a sweet story about hope and never giving up. This lovey short story demonstrates that the dreaded "insta-love" can work very well in the hands of the right author.

Eight Days gives us the life of Maccabe and his oldest friend Josh. The first day is set when the guys are teens. Each day that passes takes us to a different point in their lives and relationship. Josh is adorable and Maccabe had me laughing with how clueless he was when it comes to relationships and matters of the heart.

Both stories left me smiling, I loved them.

Eight Days

“Are you sure you wanna play?” I said as I walked to his desk, picked up one of the snow globes sitting on the shelf above it, and flipped it upside down. My handwritten date on the bottom reminded me that I’d given Josh that snow globe eight years prior. It was our Hanukkah tradition—every year I’d give him a snow globe.

It had started when we were nine, and Josh saw one in a tourist trap while we were on a family vacation. He was completely enamored with the silver confetti inside, and he’d begged his father up and down for it. The thing cost less than ten bucks, but his father had resolutely refused, offering to buy Josh a football or basketball instead. Josh threw a fit, his father dragged him out of the store, and I was left there with my dad, who looked dismayed at the entire scene.


“Yeah?” he said tentatively, probably wondering if I was going to ask him to explain what had just happened between Josh and his father.

“Bubby gave me money to buy myself something on this trip, right?”

“Yes, she did.” He smiled broadly, clearly relieved at the change in conversation. “What do you want?” He looked around the store.

I snatched the snow globe Josh had been eyeing. “I want this.”

“You do?” he asked in surprise.

I nodded. “Yes. Let’s have them gift wrap it.”

My father squatted down and looked in my eyes. “Maccabe, that’s a nice gesture, but Josh’s father said he couldn’t have the snow globe, and it’s not right to interfere. You can’t buy this and give it to him.”

I frowned and thought about it. “Well, I’ll hold on to it, and I’ll give it to him for Hanukkah. Dr. Segal can’t think I’m interfering then, right? We always give presents on Hanukkah.”

My father relented, and whether Josh’s father got mad or not, I couldn’t say, because I only had eyes for Josh when, months later, he opened my gift and beamed more brightly than the menorah. I decided right then and there that if snow globes put that kind of smile on Josh’s face, I’d make sure he had plenty of them.

“We can do something else,” I said, coming back to the present. “I know you’re not crazy about video games.”

“I don’t mind them,” he said as he flopped down on the bed. “Besides, you like them, and there’s nothing else to do.”

“Sure there is.” I looked around his room. There was a chess set sitting on his dresser and a shelf running around the perimeter of the room holding all sorts of intricate Lego creations. “We could play chess.”

“You don’t know how to play chess,” he reminded me.

“True, but you can teach me.”

Josh snorted. “The last however many times we tried that you zoned out within two minutes. I can’t even get you to focus on checkers.”

“Yeah,” I sighed. “Sorry, I try to pay attention, but I don’t really get the fascination. Well, we can build one of your Lego things.”

Little red circles formed on the apples of his cheeks, and he sat up and blinked quickly. “Oh, I don’t really, um…” he said, pausing midsentence, presumably remembering that I’d been in his room a couple of times a month since forever, so telling me he wasn’t into Legos anymore wouldn’t fly. It wasn’t like I didn’t know some of the buildings on the shelves were new. “You don’t want to build Legos. That’s for kids.”

“Are you joking?” I waved my hand around his room, pointing to the incredible buildings and animals he had laid out on his shelves. “You think a kid could build a replica of the Statue of Liberty? I’m older than you, and there’s no way I could do it. Come on, bring out your Legos, and show me how you make this stuff. I’ll be like your sidekick or helper or whatever.”

“Okay, okay.” Josh laughed. “It’s not like I can pass up the chance to have Maccabe Fried as my sidekick—especially since you’re so much older than me.”

“Three weeks counts as older, Freckles, deal with it.”

He flipped me off, climbed down from the bed, and folded the bedspread up, then bent down and started pulling out bins full of Legos. I froze. Josh was a really skinny guy, almost as tall as me but all bones. His baggy clothes always drowned his frame, but in his current position—on all fours, knees spread, shoulders lowered to the ground—his pants hugged his ass, and I was surprised to see that it was nicely filled out, like a round apple.

I shook my head to clear the weird thought and adjusted myself, feeling suddenly uncomfortable in my jock. My mind was distracted from my friend’s backside when I saw something slip out from between his mattress and box spring and flutter to the floor. I squatted down and picked it up.

We had gone to the San Juan Islands with the Segals for the Fourth of July the previous summer. Our parents snapped a bunch of pictures, but I had never seen that one. I was standing in front of the ocean, turned to the side, with the surf lapping at my toes. My wetsuit was stripped off my chest, hanging down, and I was holding onto my surfboard with one hand while the other was pressed against my forehead, blocking the sun from my eyes. Though it couldn’t have been more than five months old, the edges of the picture were soft and curled, like it’d been handled frequently.

Why would Josh have a picture of me stuffed under his mattress? Why would Josh be handling a picture of me that he had stuffed under his mattress? My eyes darted over to Josh, who was pulling out what had to be the last bin. He didn’t know I’d seen the picture, and I wanted to keep it that way, so I quickly shoved it back beneath the mattress and picked up one of the containers.

“I’ll just move these so we have more room,” I said, not sure if the sentence made any sense.

Of course, at that point, the sentence would have to get in line with all the other things that suddenly made no sense. Like my picture under Josh’s mattress. And the erection I sprang when I noticed his ass. I clenched my eyes shut and groaned. Dear God, had I actually checked out Josh’s ass?

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."

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of In Another Life & Eight Days by Cardeno C. to read and review for this tour.

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