WAKE ME UP INSIDE by Cardeno C.
Wake Me Up Inside by Cardeno C.
Mates, Book 1
Reviewed by Cassie
As the son of his pack’s Alpha, and an extremely strong wolf, Zev Hassick is expected to be the next Alpha. That comes with a set of responsibilities, including mating with a female werewolf. Zev has always been taught that male werewolves must mate with a female werewolf in order to keep their humanity. That means his attraction to his male, human best friend is a problem.
Jonah Marvel wants two things in his life: to become a doctor, and the love of his best friend, Zev. The years they have to spend apart while Jonah studies and Zev runs his family’s business are hard on them both, but things get worse when Jonah’s health begins to fail. Being with Zev seems to provide a solution to his problem, yet togetherness has its own problems.
Can Zev and Jonah survive pack tradition, the secrets of Jonah’s past, and a murderous plot in order to fulfill their destiny?
Wake Me Up Inside is a shapeshifter tale with a few interesting tweaks. In Cardeno C.’s shifter world, the male and female shifters balance each other, with the females helping the males keep their humanity, and the males helping the females keep their wolf side. Also unlike most werewolf tales, Zev meets his mate—and knows there’s something special about him—when they’re children. Thanks to Zev’s knowledge that he wants to be around Jonah, the boys grow up as best friends. That transitions naturally into greater feelings, although with his upbringing Zev doesn’t understand the feelings at first. Then when he does, they are separated by Jonah’s schooling. Zev doesn’t want to connect them too closely, afraid if they truly mate they won’t survive the long separations they must endure.
The effects of separation on mates was another aspect of the story I haven’t seen often. I felt bad for Zev and Jonah, but like Jonah, I grew impatient with Zev. They were separated for a ridiculously long time, which felt unrealistic and a bit too dramatic to me. The other conflicts, from the shifters’ antipathy toward gays to Jonah’s secret past, were engaging. I figured out a lot of Jonah’s past long before the characters did, but I was still content to go along for the ride.
Overall, Wake Me Up Inside was a sweet and interesting tale. It’s not destined for my keeper shelf, but I’m definitely interested enough to check out the next book.