A Premier lion shifter, Hugh Landry dedicates his life to leading the Berk pride with strength and confidence. Hundreds of people depend on Hugh for safety, success, and happiness. And at over a century old, with more power than can be contained in one body, Hugh relies on a Siphon lion shifter to carry his excess force. When the Siphon endangers himself and therefore the pride, Hugh must pay attention to the man who has been his silent shadow for a decade. What he learns surprises him, but what he feels astounds him even more.
Two lions, each born to serve, rely on one another to survive. After years by each other’s side, they’ll finally realize the depth of their potential, the joy in their passion, and a connection their kind has never known.
4 out of 5 (very good)
I received this book from WLK Book Promotions in return for a fair and honest review.
It is rare to start a new book in a new series and take such a dislike to one of the main characters. It is even rarer for me to actually change my mind once that thought has formed. Both of these things happened in Johnnie.
Imagine being told from birth that you are incredibly rare and sought after but instead of being loved and cherished, you are isolated and ignored. This is what happens to every Siphon. With this shifter world, the premiers (always black lions) just gain strength and power as they age. It reaches the point where they can't take anymore and they either die of power overload or they have a Siphon, which enables them to pass the power along. Now the Siphon can't use the power but is still of utmost importance. They also have to stay within a certain distance of the Premier or their connection is lost.
Now, Hugh, when we first meet him, is not very nice (I'm being polite here!). The only reason he notices that anything is wrong with his Siphon is the fact that he starts to overload with power. I think this is a good thing because it means that for the first time in 10 years, he actually has to speak to his Siphon and interact with him.
This story is raw and I really felt for Johnnie. What I didn't like so much was the adulation from Johnnie to Hugh as though he could do nothing wrong. Hugh WAS wrong, for 10 years and more he was wrong! The fact that he only tried to lead by example to the rest of the Pride, instead of calling a meeting and maybe even "introducing" Johnnie, just didn't sit right with me. Lead by example - yes, but when it has gone on this long? To the extent that he tries to kill himself? Surely that qualifies for an announcement?!
The story itself is intriguing and fast-flowing. There are good guys, bad guys, bad guys who you end up liking, good guys who go bad (ish). It is well-written and enjoyable with emotions ranging from deepest despair to intoxicating pleasure. Another cracker from Cardeno C for me.
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."