Book Review: Something in the Way He Needs by Cardeno C.

Something in the Way He Needs by Cardeno C.Title: Something in the Way He Needs
Series: Family, Book 1
Author: Cardeno C.
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: February 25, 2013 by Dreamspinner Press

Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and spartan apartment. He enjoys being the man in charge, and leather bars satisfy his need for dominance—so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs.

The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, so Asher invites Daniel home. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. With all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. But if Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Loved the complicated leads and the organic romance which unfolded in unexpected ways for me. I do acknowledge that some readers may have issue with one lead’s jealousy and anger issues but this allowed for character growth that I adore in romance novels.

The Set Up: Police captain Asher is used to dominating men in an ongoing quest for power with no emotional intimacy. While in Vegas for his friend’s bachelor party Asher meets Daniel, a free-spirited man who doesn’t have sex outside a relationship. Asher wants Daniel to fit into his preconceived box of sex with no emotions but Daniel’s zest for life and open nature challenges Ash.

Why I Read this Book: I’m working through Cardeno C.’s backlist of books but the BDSM element in this book always made me reluctant to try it.

What I Liked: My favorite kinds of romances are ones that offer unusual leads or leads with lots of character growth and I got both of those here. At novel’s beginning I thought I knew Ash, aka Asshole. He’s arrogant about his sexual prowess, he gets jealous quickly and he’s forceful to the point of being selfish. But oh does his character grow! Ash slowly changes from small things, like calling Daniel when he’ll be home late to work to huge things like needing Daniel emotionally and making love unselfishly. Ash is a unique romance hero in that his past isn’t used to explain away his boorish behavior, instead Daniel accepts Ash and helps him see how much better a person he can be by loving Daniel. The best part is Daniel doesn’t do this by sulking or manipulating Ash but simply by loving him openly and honestly.

Daniel is just as stellar a character as Ash but in a totally different way. I could relate to him on a personal level as he was a life wanderer as I was, being a Phish-head, following the jam band Phish and having lots of jobs. Daniel is way cooler than I’ll ever be but his joy in life and his easy acceptance of love is one that resonated with me. I suspect some readers may have issue with how Daniel reacts to one of Ash’s particularly harsh jealousy episodes but I loved his self-confidence, ability to forgive and calm, mature boundary setting.

What I Also Liked: The romance between Daniel and Ash was absolutely captivating. Daniel is like an immovable wall of love that Ash runs up against and can’t quite figure out. Ash is so used to having all the control that he can’t imagine how calm, free-spirited and clumsy Daniel makes him not care about power and control. This dynamic steeps the novel in emotional and erotic intensity and made me dread when Ash would screw up, because readers know this romance isn’t going to be without tension! Yes, what Ash does is almost unforgivable and some readers will hate the novel for it but I didn’t. I understood the fear and pain that motivated Ash and I think he suffered duly for it. This novel could easily have been just Ash getting what he needed from a relationship but Daniel gets the anchor and home he’s always craved. How the reconciliation happens perfectly shows Ash’s character growth as well as how much Daniel needs Ash. The BDSM I feared was brilliantly handled but I can’t say more without spoiling it.  This romance is like expensive chocolate with complexity and flavor without being too sweet.

What I Didn’t Like: Ash’s really bad jealousy episode was hard to read and may be triggering for some readers. I didn’t love it, of course, but how both men react was extremely powerful and fit with the tone of the characters and the romance in my opinion.

IMO: Something in the Way He Needs is my favorite Cardeno C. novel and will be on my re-read and favorite book shelves.

J9’s Rating:
4 1/2 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


  1. Great review! I had to go buy it. smiles...

    1. Thanks, this is my favorite of this author's books. It's got more angst and a darker lead in Ash. LMK what you think when you get to it!


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