Title: Wake Me Up Inside
Author: Cardeno C
Length: 75,071 words
Genre: MM Paranormal Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy and Smutty
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Shifters, Mates, Vampires, Mystery, Alphas
Rating: Pretty Good
Reviewed by Sadonna
Zev Hassick is surprised and confused when he finds himself attracted to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. Zev is the son of the pack Alpha, regarded as the strongest wolf in generations, born to lead. And everyone knows a male shifter has to mate with a female of his own kind to keep his humanity. So shifters can’t be gay, right?
Jonah Marvel wants a relationship with Zev, his best friend, the man he has loved since childhood. It wasn’t easy to maintain that relationship over years spent living apart while Jonah studied to become a doctor. And then things grow more difficult when Jonah becomes his own patient. Before he can make a life with Zev, he has to understand his past and cure the unexplained ailments that plague him.
Zev and Jonah know they’re destined for each other, but they’re facing traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets that may threaten any future together.
This is the start to a new shifter series. Zev Hassick is the heir apparent to the local pack and he is the strongest wolf in generations – able to shift just after his first birthday. He is immediately drawn to human Jonah Marvel – even as a baby. He visits Jonah at every opportunity in his wolf form before he is allowed to go to school with the human boy.
Zev is able to convince his parents that he should attend the human middle school so that he can be close to Jonah. He also gets them to allow his twin Lori to attend as well. As Zev and Jonah grown up, they remain best friends. But when Jonah gets ready to leave for college, their relationship changes. At first Zev is scared because he has never been attracted to anyone at all except Jonah – not another guy, not any girl. He realizes that Jonah is his true mate. But in order to protect Jonah, he does not tell his family and he lets Jonah go off to college even though they do not want to be separated.
This shifter world has some interesting twists on the mating requirements and because of this Zev’s family is convinced that although he has told them he is gay, he can’t possibly have a male mate – it just doesn’t work that way. Zev refuses to choose a female and his parents are not happy about this situation at all. In the meantime, Jonah and Zev continue to see each other when Jonah visits on trips disguised as business for Zev. But their separation takes a toll on them due to the mating requirements and the need they have for each other.
Jonah’s father is a doctor and Jonah wants to be a doctor as well. This means 12 long years away from Zev. While they make it through college pretty well, medical school is a challenge and neither of them is at all happy with the situation. But the final four years apart during Jonah’s internship and residency nearly tear them apart. Zev refuses to have intercourse with Jonah because of the mating bond which he cannot explain to Jonah. Jonah is having terrible nightmares and is completely frustrated and thinks he is on the verge of a breakdown. Both of them are in terrible physical condition at the end of their time apart.
Once Jonah comes back home however, things are not at all what they appear. Danger lurks for both Jonah and Zev’s families that ties to the death of Jonah’s mother thirty years before. Family secrets and new friends are discovered as well as the truth about Jonah and Zev’s bond.
Overall, I enjoyed this story and am anxious to see what might be in store for this series. There are some interesting twists in the shifter world here and a couple of surprises along the way. One thing that was a little bit jarring for me is the shifting timeframes that occur throughout the story. We start in the present and then basically see Zev and Jonah grow up through more flashback type chapters interspersed with present again. Because of that I found the writing a little choppy at times. This isn’t my favorite device, but eventually I got with the program. Luckily that did not detract from one of the strongest elements of the story – the relationship between Zev and Jonah. They know each other so well and they complement each other completely. They also love each other like crazy. I look forward to reading more about them.