Author: L.A. Witt
Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
I totally begged for this book and received a review copy!
Blurb: Sergei Andronikov was a child when the Mafia wiped out his family, leaving him with nothing but a hunger for revenge. Years later, through ruthless strategy and tireless patience, he’s a contract killer working for the three families ruling Cape Swan… and he’s nearly in position to bring them all down from the inside.
Domenico “Dom” Maisano is Mafia royalty, a made man… and a hitman. He’s caught up in a violent life he can’t escape, struggling to maintain an image he doesn’t want, and suppressing desires he can’t have.
A chance encounter throws the killers into each other’s paths. Though Dom knows he’s playing a dangerous game, he’s intrigued and keeps coming back. Sergei can’t resist him either—Dom is everything he set out to destroy, but he’s also everything he’s ever ached for in a man.
Then Sergei gets the contract he’s been waiting for—the hit that promises to bring the town’s Mafia to its knees.
But when a capo makes an unexpected move, Sergei must choose between dropping the hammer on the families he vowed to annihilate, and protecting the man he swore he wouldn’t love.
And the wrong choice—or even the right one—will destroy them both.
Review: Sergei has a job to do. Saving then fantasizing about Dom Maisano, a member of one of the families he’s sworn to destroy is not part of his job. Ridding his town of the mafia is about revenge for Sergio, not doing good. Dom cannot stop thinking about the sexy stripper who saved his life. Why did he do it? Who is he? Why is he so darn sexy and how can he get some of that? Dom isn’t supposed to be thinking that last question. The Maisano family kills any gay members. Dom knows this all too well. Sergei and Dom manage to reconnect. They establish a relationship based on mutual discretion and lots of sex. No strings attached. Each man doing his best to protect the other from his work. Not only do strings begin to develop, but work is an all consuming thing for both men. When their jobs collide both men need to be honest with themselves and each other and make life altering decisions.
Here we have two hit men, not even remotely alike in dignity. Whereas I wouldn’t necessarily say Sergei enjoys killing people, he has no hang ups about it. Dom is heavily weighed down by every death he’s dealt. Some interesting imagery came into play with Dom being dark and brooding, looking potentially dangerous. Sergei was little and light. Almost angelic in appearance with his blond hair. Dom saved random people whenever possible. Sergei saves himself and Dom. Sergei didn’t even understand his own actions when he saved Dom. Despite their differences, these men were the deadliest hit men in their town. When these two deadly hit men came together it made for a surprisingly tender and sweet romance. It was kind of a beautiful mafia love story.
Okay, so I had one big problem with this book. There was a thing that was supposed to happen. Appropriate drama surrounded it, both men knew it was inescapable. Both men talk at length about how the thing is inescapable, and it will only be worse if the thing doesn’t happen. Both men agree the thing needs to happen for the good of each of them, but they can’t do the thing. It’s too much, they’re too in love to do the thing, so they just do something else. Several pages of drama about the thing later, they just do something else. None of the compelling reasons have gone away, they’ve just decided to go with a different option that apparently wasn’t there when the thing first showed up. For me the thing ended up feeling like drama for the sake of drama.
I enjoyed this story despite my problems with the thing. One of my favorite aspects was the distinct and concrete motivations of the characters. Any time Sergei would waver in his dedication to his revenge he’d have a potent reminder of what he was doing. Any time Dom thought he didn’t need to do as ordered by his Uncle he’d have a potent reminder of why his only option was unswerving loyalty. The characters really did find themselves trapped. They made no assumptions about being trapped. They were very much between the proverbial rock and a hard place, and that’s where they found love.