Ethan Abbatt is a wolf shifter who can't shift. Plagued by pain and weakness all his life, he hopes to find an honorable death by joining his pack mates in a vampire attack. Instead, Ethan learns two things: draining his blood releases his pain and his wolf, and he has a true mate - a vampire named Miguel.
Miguel Rodriguez is more than four centuries old. Strong, powerful, and vicious, he walks through life as a shadow, without happiness or affection. When a young shifter tells Miguel they're true mates, destined to be together, Miguel sends him away. But Ethan is persistent, and Miguel can't resist for long. Once Miguel gives in, being together comes naturally. The challenge is keeping themselves alive so they can stay by each other's side until forever comes.
Book 2 in the Mates series, just as quickly devoured by this reader as the first one, tells the story of Ethan Abbatt, a young wolf shifter who can't shift, and Miguel Rodriguez, a centuries old, powerful vampire. If you've read book 1, you might remember them as the mated pair who come to Jonah and Zev's assistance, and who are more or less responsible for Jonah's survival beyond his mother's womb.
Shifters and vampires aren't friends. Not that Ethan has any friends to begin with, what with the inability to set free his inner wolf. Miserable and ridiculed by his pack, a disgrace to his family, he hangs on to the coattails of his sort of friends when the young men decide to leave pack lands to go into town to mess with the vampires who've recently taken up residence.
Bleeding against a wall, seeing his sort of friends hurt, Ethan's wolf finally comes out to play. He's inexplicably drawn to the vampire who runs the coven, sensing his mate, scenting his true forever love, and Ethan shifts.
Miguel doesn't quite know what to make of the shifter who tells him he's his true mate, and dismisses the possibility for sheer improbability.
Until he doesn't.
Prejudice is explored quite well in this novel, and could be liked to interracial relationships - the comparison is most apt. There's an instinct to dislike or hate what we don't know, what's different from ourselves. Throw in a gay wolf who can't shift, until he meets his mate who's a vampire, the enemy of the wolves, and you got yourself a powder keg of prejudice.
Ethan doesn't care. He knows whom he has found, and tells his vampire as much. I loved how CC gave Ethan backbone and strength of conviction, how he let Ethan grow throughout the novel, and how he made it all make sense for his readers.
The first time mating was super hot, but also extremely emotional, as I've come to expect from this author, and as a reader I will always feel as if the moment is sacred and special. The connection between mates is cemented upon the first love making, and this was no different here.
Ethan may have been from a small Georgia town, and he wasn't a learned man, which is expressed in his speech and mannerisms, but he's no dummy. And Miguel, despite being as old as he is, still has things he can learn from Ethan - it's a good thing Miguel is no dummy either, and once he gets over his initial disbelief, he's fiercely protective, something the other vampires and anyone who tries to cross or hurt Ethan should have heeded.
I loved how the author explored the meaning of family, and how love is stronger than prejudice. The main villain in this book gets what's coming to him, and all is well that ends well. Honest communication and great dialogue rounded out a super awesome story that I liked almost as much as the first one.
I can't wait to see what CC comes up with next.
** I received a free copy of this book from the author. A positive review was not promised in return. **
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