Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pre-Release eARC Review: Control by Mary Calmes and Cardeno C.

by Mary Calmes and Cardeno C.  
Expected publication: April 18th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press

My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars

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.
Control is a shape shifter story about a hawk and a bear. This is a plot that has been much overused lately in this genre but once in a while, an author or two take steps to disabuse the cynical and lay claim that these plots still have a lot to offer. As long as they are written well. Mary Calmes and Cardeno C., are these two authors who have decided to band together and create a sweet story of how two seemingly disparate men overcome the odds and end up complimenting each other in every way. 

Hawk shape-shifter Vy Aleknos is the Kuar of his kettle or ket. He is very strong, quick to shift and move, intelligent, nervous, easily ruffled and loyal. As the head of the ket, he is feared and respected. Alternatively, he is also loved and protected. Being openly gay, he never expected to find a male mate but when he does, he is at first surprised, then excited and finally does not know what to do about it. 

Robert Cimino is a nature conservationist who travels far and wide to where the job points him at. When his work brings him to Elk River, he never expected to meet a hawk shifter whose pull he could not ignore. His unwillingness to ignore this pull is the real surprise as his is a personality that supposedly will never settle down. 

As shape shifter stories go, this is a simple and yet familiar plot where two shifters meet their fated mates and they live happily ever after as soon as they resolve their differences. What makes this different is how the two authors wrote the main characters. 

When reading Vy, I could not but help 'see' his temperamental attitude is too much justlike a hawk when agitated - feathers all ruffled. I could not help but see his speed and power especially he is when faced with an adversary and protecting his people. His character was as fierce as the bird of prey he shifts into, his weakness is his easy agitation. His is a personality that needs a calming hand run over his crown.

As for Robert, he is a huge specimen of a man and yet his personality, while calm and introspective, is just as fierce as Vy's hawk. What makes him different is his pure power as a bear which, when released, becomes much feared by all. And yet he is a gentle man, a gentle giant. His calm demeanor and ability to balance the temperamental hawk makes him the obvious choice as mate to Vy. His is the hand that calms the ruffled hawk. 

The different personalities of the men should have clashed, instead, they complimented each other fully. This allowed them to win over the many obstacles that prevented their mating. It was the absence of the dratted insta-love plot that made me really appreciate the talent of these two authors. Thankfully, they did not simply fall for the easy fate-equals-mate lines. Instead, they made the men communicate their fears and hopes with each other. This solidified their HEA ending. What started off as a formulaic read became something else entirely. 

This was an exciting, fun and erotic read for these two men's relationship was hotter than HOT! Their love affair was sweet and romantic yet never once crossed over onto the sappy-cheesy. Their solid relationship outside of their fated mating was what made me fall in love with both men.

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