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.
This time, their joining was gentler, lips brushing together and tongues barely touching.
Johnnie ran his palms across Hugh’s pecs and Hugh combed his fingers through Johnnie’s
hair. When Hugh eventually moved away, he kissed the tip of Johnnie’s nose and gazed at his serene smiling face. In that moment, the blue-eyed lion looked completely at peace, as if all his burdens had been lifted.
“You like kissing,” Hugh observed as he continued combing his fingers through Johnnie’s
“Yes.” Johnnie rested his cheek on Hugh’s shoulder and petted his chest and stomach. “It
makes me feel”—he sucked in a deep breath, trembled, and let it out slowly—“connected to
More and more, Hugh recognized how important connections were to Johnnie. He relished
sleeping with their bodies tangled, smiled whenever Hugh touched him in even the most
casual way, and eagerly engaged in any conversation Hugh had with him. Johnnie was a dry
sponge who thirstily sucked in whatever he was given, which Hugh attributed to all the years
he had spent without any connections.
“Hugh?” Johnnie looked up at him.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Johnnie, is the first book in Cardeno C.'s newest shifter series the Siphon Collection. This book takes us deep into a large pride of lion shifters, led by their Premier Lion, Hugh. Hugh's power is controlled via his Siphon, a rare born lion who's able to siphon off excess power from the Premier in order to allow him to control himself.
I'll admit the start of this story was very rocky for me because Hugh was a bit of a self-important ass. As a main character, especially an alpha shifter, I expect some degree of ass-holishness, but his initial interaction with Johnnie, his Siphon, was kind of abhorrent to me. Now that was my initial reaction to his character, obviously over the course of the story it did change.
Johnnie has been Hugh's Siphon for ten years, he took the position at a young age when his pride merged into Hugh's pride. However Johnnie's story, as we hear it through the story, is heartbreaking. His methods of coping with his shell of an existence made me want to break down crying. All this life people have treated him as a thing or commodity versus as a living, breathing shifter. The hardest for me was that at age 26, he didn't even have a name to call his own. He was only know as "The Siphon' and nothing else. What brings him into Hugh's attention is a direct consequence of how both his original pride, and this pride treats him/sees him.
The interaction that develops between Hugh and Johnnie, after Hugh finally sees Johnnie is what propels this story into the higher rating. That Hugh realizes Johnnie matters and beings to show him that he does matter causes the dynamic to shift. It allows Johnnie to go from being someone locked inside himself into a very strong, and emotionally stable Siphon and member of the Pride. It also shows Hugh's human side, which is rarely seen because the Pride depends on him being the strength of the group.
Now for those of you that are Cardeno C fans, this book will not disappoint as it wears the author's style of writing all over it. In other words, you'll love it and want to re-read it immediately because the characters are going to grab you and steal your heart. Even if you're not a die-hard CC fan, this is a pretty powerful book both about how isolated a person can be, and the power of love and friendship to give us strength.
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."