“His name is Salvatore Rossi. He’s a vampire. And he’s my true mate.”
By not relying on anyone except himself, Salvatore Rossi escaped a dead-end existence and reached the height of corporate success. But just when he has everything he always wanted, fate throws Salvatore a challenge he can’t solve alone and a young wolf shifter comes to his rescue.
Since childhood, Yoram Smith’s family was certain he would grow to become Alpha and save their beloved pack from its slow demise. When the time comes for a new leader, Yoram is forced to juggle his duty to care for a splintering pack with his duty to care for an absent mate, and his own strength suffers.
Being turned into a vampire didn’t alter Salvatore’s life philosophy: if you don’t rely on anyone, nobody can let you down. But when the boy who saved his life becomes a man who needs his help, the icy vampire must find his humanity.
I truly loved this latest Cardeno C. story of shifters, werewolves, and true mates, but there were a lot of things this story was , and quite a few things that it was not .
This story was:
▶ Completely compelling for me. I was thrilled to be lost in the Mates universe again, touching on old story lines and being introduced to fresh, new ones.
▶ A story featuring a true leader, not just another self-serving, power-tripping Alpha. One of the most touching parts of the story was where Yoram had to decide how to deal with the first act of open insubordination from a pack member. That scene was honestly beautiful.
▶ Extremely entertaining. I *love* snark and humor, when not taken too far, and in this story, I thought that Yoram's cousin, Toby, was a true gem. Any time that Toby, who's married to Zev's sister, was on screen, I sat up a little straighter, because I knew that something entertaining was going to happen soon. So kudos for such a fun character, who always kept things light and upbeat.
▶ A touchstone for those interested in following up on the previous MC's. I was thrilled to see 5 of the 6 MC's (everyone but Samuel) making an on-page presence in this story. I adored them all, so seeing them again brought back lots of feels.
▶ A sexy story. As with the previous Mates stories, this one was a pretty steamy read. Once Yoram (finally) got rid of his pesky virginity, holy crap, there wasn't much holding that guy back.
This story was not:
▶ Not the most romantic of the series. In my opinion, that title is firmly held by book 1, Zev and Ethan's book, where you felt the *mutual* attraction from the beginning, all the way through until the end.
▶ Not one where both MC's are personable, great guys. In all honesty, Sal came across a bit of a stuck up prick, who only exerted his time and effort on getting what *he* wanted out of life, which was wealth, for the most part. Then, later, Yoram's blood, when it stopped arriving without any effort required on his part.
▶ Not the smoothest transition from technically being true mates to honest to God feelings. This was probably the most awkward part of the story. One moment Sal could give a damn about Yoram, then the next, he was his world. That confused me more than convinced me, by telling, not showing the emotions behind the sudden change.
▶ Not as 'true love' feeling as its predecessors. Unlike the other stories, which also were about true mates, a large part of the attraction between Yoram and Sal came across as more destiny and fate than there being actual *reasons*, other than superficial ones, for them to be drawn to one another. Their relationship just felt less... 'real' to me than previous Mates MC's.
I have no idea if this was the last book in the Mates series, but if there continue to be more Mates stories, color me there. I'm all in.
However, if this was the final chapter, I found this story deserving of being in the series and would rate it at around 4.25 stars.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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