Title : Control
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Paranormal
Length : 220 pages (e-book)
Published : April 18, 2014
Rating : ★★★★
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.
How exciting when two of my favorite authors decide to collaborate on a book. I have read the contemporary romances of both authors and a shifter series from Mary Calmes. When I read that this collaboration was a shifter book, I was intrigued.
Vy Aleknos is the leader of his kettle (ket) of hawk shifters. It has not been an easy transition for Vy into this leadership position. He is openly gay and this was not well received by some members of the ket, mainly some of his own family. Even though he is now the leader and always works to appear strong in the ket’s eyes, Vy has his own worries. Shifter’s find their mates through more than meeting and casual dating. It is something that they sense in another shifter and it is a bond that seems almost magical. Vy worries he will never find his mate or worse, finds his mate is a woman.
One day, while in a hardware store, he senses his mate and panics. Although there is no one in the store at the time, the pheromones are overwhelming him. He senses this person but has no idea who it is. His friend Louisa (Lou) Maberti, who is also a deputy sheriff and his second in the ket, has been watching Vy storm in and out of the store and intervenes. That is when she and Vy determine that the scent he smells is not a woman, but a man who was in the store earlier and Vy goes in search of this mate.
This is how we meet Robert Cimino, biologist and bear shifter. Robert is instantly attracted to Vy but does not believe in fate or the idea of a mate in the shifter sense of the word. He does admit he is very attracted to Vy and goes against his once-only policy to see him again. Robert has a completely different outlook on being a shifter than Vy. Robert’s life experiences keep him at odds with his shifter side and later we come to understand why he keeps such tight control over that part of himself.
I enjoyed the way the authors brought us into the world of these shifters without the need to go into a lot of explanation. We are able to see them interact with one another, within the ket and with other shifter’s, and it flows naturally. It took me a while to warm up to Vy. He is so caught up in being a leader and showing his strength that he appears overbearing and unapproachable. It was fun reading about Vy being hawk-like, puffing his feathers (figuratively), being a bit high strung and having a tendency to get screechy when upset. Robert is a gentle soul from the beginning. He keeps himself distant from others because he is afraid of losing control. He is a yoga- practicing, vegan grizzly bear that is just completely loveable.
When he and Vy meet, the attraction is so strong for both men, but they see it in different ways. Vy is very in tune with his shifter nature and his need to submit to his mate competes with his need to appear strong and in control as leader of his ket. Robert is a nurturer but also naturally dominant and keeps his dominant tendency contained until he realizes it is something Vy needs, if only in the privacy of their relationship. Watching their relationship unfold, we see changes in both men and those are for the better; it is lovely.
There is a wonderful cast of secondary characters. Vy’s second, Lou, and her husband Carlo. The young hawk, Chris. The couple that run the vegan restaurant. The wolf pack and their sexy alpha, plus Robert’s unconventional, hippie parents. Of all the secondary characters, I think I loved Vy’s father best. Jecis Aleknos is a beloved leader and he is supportive and loving of his son. When Vy is questioning the relationship he has with Robert versus how he thinks it should be, his father gives him some touching words of wisdom. It is one of my favorite scenes in the book. There are many sweet moments in this book and when we learn why Robert refuses to shift, it is heart breaking.
This book took me through a variety of emotions but the overall one I felt was “happy”. This is what I have come to expect from these two authors – feel good stories that leave me smiling.
Rated 4 stars by Deb