Such a WONDERFUL read! Sometimes you need a time-out of life to relax. You'd think a suspense novel with the mob clashing one against the other would do the opposite hehe It was THE BEST escape from life into a world I would NOT want to be a part of, though what Nikita and Lorenzo found in each other WAS beautiful and heartfelt which is exactly the kind of novels I love the most.
Nikita Ravenov has been working for the Bratva for the past ten years. This is not what he aspired to be growing up but he got mixed up with them when he was young and getting out simply isn't an option especially since he literally has NO ONE. No one to help him, no one to share his daily agony in the horrible world he was thrown into. His only coping mechanism is using drugs. My heart broke for him for most of the book, maybe even more after Lorenzo and him started to have a connection and he saw that with the right person beside him - loneliness and isolation can be replaced by compassion, trust and partnership.
Lorenzo Ferrari has a very specific and hopefully short mission dealing with the Bratva, his own people - La Cosa Nostra - might not always like him that much (being openly gay might is part of the reason) but they know he is good at his job and also - he is family. His first night on the job he takes his best friends' son out to a few gay bars. He is surprised he is watched but when he confronts the guy things get kinda out of hand. So when he sees "Nick" the next day on his meeting with the Bratva and later that day catches him thrown out of a car beaten badly it's even more of a WTF.
At first being taken to the hospital by Lorenzo freaks Nikita and going with him to his hotel room doesn't sound that promising either but somehow even though Lorenzo is CLEARLY not his friend he is also in a way "the enemy of his enemy" - the enemy being the one who got him beaten AGAIN - his douche ex - Yakov Stepanovich - the same guy who put him Lorenzo as surveillance, knowing that Nikita is just a tech guy.
On a vulnerable moment Nikita confesses more than he ever had and certainly more than he should and from there they form a sort of partnership even if both aren't sure if it's the best idea. Okay they KNOW it's a bad idea. Lorenzo is a stranger why would he care about him when literally no one does in this world. Nikita is a drug addict who is highly afraid of his ex (and his boss) not exactly the best guy to have as your backup though it turns out he does have a few sweet tricks out his sleeve..
Lorenzo is understanding. The more he sees Nikita he starts to truly care for him. Nikita is surprised by each of Lorenzo's moves. The smallest act of kindness throws him off. He doesn't know how to react but he sure wants more, wants to hope Lorenzo will keep him if they survive this hell. It was suppose to be just an easy bargain but Yakov has his own ideas which puts EVERYONE in danger.
I won't say more about the plot because the way this book had me on the edge of my seat was half of the fun. The other half (granted, the bigger one) was the romance buildup. ~sigh~ Cari and L.A. did an AMAZING job with these two. Two guys coming from different branches of the mob getting to know each other and learning to trust each other? This could take YEARS! yet they had maybe a week to get it right. Lorenzo might play the tough guy but he is such a sweet and caring guy. Ultimately once he realized Nikita's situation he had so much compassion for him. He saw a broken man who can't see any future and did his best to offer with his kindness a promise of hope. Nikita has lost all hope. Most days he wasn't sure why being alive is better than being dead. But Lorenzo was somehow mending his soul a small gesture at a time.
It wasn't always an 'easy' read. It was VERY stressful for me (I mean them hehe), it was heartbreaking but also hopeful in the smallest details. I loved both characters and honestly couldn't think of a better paring for them.
This was a surprise release. I only realized it's going to be released a few days before it did but naturally Cari is an auto-buy and instant-read so here we are :)