Dark? Well, the heroine is kidnapped to be trained as a sex slave but nearly all of this is off-page. She is also beaten in one scene so there is that to bear in mind, but the vast majority of the book didn’t have that sense of imminent danger, or of psychological trauma, or of non-consensual acts that make a book feel dark to me.
My personal description would be that this story is a gritty, romantic suspense similar to the more realistic mafia and M.C. romances on the market. There is a major focus on character and relationship development, so even though it didn’t give me the thrill of anxiety I get from a very dark book, I soon became captivated by this story. Gwen and Nick were likeable, believable individuals who captured my heart long with my attention. Whilst Nick is a man who does bad things, he has a good heart underneath it all and towards the end of the book, we learn just how he became tangled in this spider’s web of evil and corruption. In many ways he is just as much a victim as Gwen, both of them renewed and improved by the healing power of their love.
So, not a book I’d recommend as a dark read, but certainly one I’d recommend for the romance between the two protagonists.
Synopsis Kidnapped, tortured, and now a slave, Gwen focused on ways to survive while she waited for an opportunity to escape. She’d planned on being in New York after graduating, starting a new life, and making her dreams come true. But all that was stolen from her one fateful night. With another scratch on the wall to signify the number of days, she knew her time was running out. She would either leave this place alive or die She’d planned on being in New York after graduating, starting a new life, and making her dreams come true. But all that was stolen from her one fateful night. With another scratch on the wall to signify the number of days, she knew her time was running out. She would either leave this place alive or die trying. Nick’s debt to an infamous drug lord had finally been paid off. He had plans to move away, start over, and live a peaceful life. But when he comes face to face with an imprisoned sex slave, everything changes. No longer concerned with his own welfare, Nick makes a deal with his boss that’ll change everyone’s life.
But will it be in time to save the girl?
Un-Breakable. The story of two tormented souls who find comfort and healing in one another only to have it ripped away once again.
Lethal Retaliation Twisted, Dark and Deadly #5 by C.P. Mandara
Oh my word Ms Mandara you have done it again – and on so many levels, lol! This book ricocheted me between sniggering at the dreadful puns and humour to feeling all hot and bothered at the very, very, VERY, NSFW happenings. Thrown into that mix was yet another edge of the seat cliff-hanger and I’m not sure whether to hug the author or hit her.
This book is high-octane, fast-paced, furiously filthy and utterly mesmerising. I was addicted to it from the very first page and I didn’t even really care that the plot didn’t move forward all that much. A good half of this book must either be Adie and Mel arguing or – what’s a polite expression I can use that won’t bother Amazon? – scenes of them of a more *ahem* personal nature 😉. Yet it never once got boring, tired or repetitive.
Adie, if you’ve never met him, is a super hot, super-naughty, very Spanish version of James Bond. If James Bond was also from a criminal family and didn’t have any morals whatsoever. He is conceited, arrogant and entitled but also incredibly sexy and I personally love him. Mel is the ultimate badass heroine, she never gives up or gives in – well not unless orgasms are involved – not even when the odds are stacked heavily against her. Adie certainly doesn’t deserve Mel – but I’m sure he will at some point.
Without giving away spoilers some events are very dubious in consent. They not only cross the line but trample all over it after having first jumped up and down, then scuffed it a bit lot, before kicking huge divots out of it too. Despite this, and probably because of Adie’s unacknowledged affections AND the fact that Mel is tough enough not to be genuinely at risk, not to mention she rather enjoys his attentions, the book didn’t push my boundaries too much.
My only problem now is how on earth I will cope until the author releases the next book!
Synopsis Adie Melinda Leader is in BIG trouble. There have been a lot of ladies who’ve tried to manhandle my balls in the past, but none who have actually tried to cut them off. I don’t think many blokes would be amused, and most would probably retaliate by putting a bullet in her brain. There’s just one problem. I can’t. I promised Lois I wouldn’t. Now I’ve got to make this problem go away. How in hell do I do that? Marriage. The first suspect is nearly always the wife, right?
Mel I need to find Adrien and finish what I started. This time I’ll settle for a quick kill, or at least, I tell myself I will. Unfortunately, the man is proving almost impossible to find. I thought this would be over in a week, but when Adrien wants to lie low, he virtually disappears. Thankfully, James helps out and lets me in on a little secret. The price of this information is high, though. I’m not allowed to kill him. Hmm. There are worse things than death.
Reaper was even better than I remembered from my first read of it. I am SO glad this series was chosen as a Buddy Read because it allowed me to fall in love with Ronan, and Sasha, all over again. I absolutely adored this book and that was entirely down to the depth of emotion that the author made me feel again, and again, and again.
The story moves with good pace, it definitely had more convincing mafia vibes than Crow and I fell for both main characters really quickly. Reading about Ronan’s childhood absolutely broke my heart, I just wanted to hug him and smother him with love. Sasha’s devotion to him was the very least that gorgeous man deserved and the fact that she could still offer that after the crappy hand life had dealt her only her more wonderful. This pair both demonstrated great character growth throughout the story, and understood one another in a way that made me envious.
I genuinely don’t feel as though I am doing this story justice, all I can say is that it has firmly re-cemented Ronan as my favourite book boyfriend ever, as well as made me fall in love with A. Zavarelli’swriting all over again.
Synopsis Sasha. He’s dark and mysterious. Quiet and lethal. An Irish mobster. Pure sin wrapped up in a beautiful package. But there’s also something off about him. He doesn’t feel anything. He shows no emotions. Sometimes I question his humanity. He hasn’t spoken to me in two years. Not a single word. But we share a secret, he and I. And if it ever comes out, I have no doubt in my mind… He won’t have a problem killing me too.
Ronan. I’ve slain for her. I’ll do it again. When it comes to Sasha, there isn’t a line I won’t cross. I watch her. She doesn’t know it. She thinks I hate her. Sometimes, I think I might too. But I’m always there, lurking in the shadows. Craving her. Trying to keep the beast within at bay. I’ll keep her safe. I’ll slaughter anyone who tries to hurt her. The only thing I can’t do… is protect her from myself.
Mackenzie “Mack” Wilder is searching for her BFF, the girl who helped her survive the horrors of being a teen in the care system. No one wants to know or help and all the clues point to a club run by Lachlan Crow, a mover and shaker in the Mackenna syndicate aka the Irish mafia. Throwing caution to the wind, because without Talia what’s the point anyway, Mack decides to step into the lion’s den. What she didn’t expect was to catch the eye of the pride male. Lachlan Crow doesn’t need the complication of the dark haired, blue eyed beauty, he’s already promised to another and his Russian associates want her “controlled”.
Does Mack feel like the average 22 year old? Not really, but then her backstory doesn’t paint her in that light either. So despite her usually feeling much older, I didn’t find her maturity, or her strength, out of the bounds of believability. Lachlan is probably an awful lot nicer than most genuine members of a criminal gang, however we wouldn’t fall in love with him if he was without some morals, compassion and integrity. On balance I did feel his character was plausible, and his utter obsession with Mack allowed me to forgive the rest!
The chemistry between this pair is scorching and this is one pretty hot read. It was easy to believe in the feelings that developed between Crow and Mack, particularly as the book is written first person from both perspectives. Being able to listen in on their thoughts, to feel their passion and the incredible attraction they share, had me sold on their feelings.
Unlike many mafia romances, this did feature the syndicate in a believable way. It wasn’t overly sanitised though many of the darker aspects were more briefly touched on, so this didn’t feel a particularly dark read. I was left with some questions, particularly around the Russian mafia and the betrayals, but if I remember correctly subsequent books run concurrently with this and more of the story is revealed with each new instalment.
I’m so glad I got the chance to re-read this. It did take a couple of chapters to really get into the story, but once I did it became a book I just did not want to put down.
Synopsis An Irish mobster. A missing friend. Two loyalties, ripping me apart.
I had a plan. Get in, get my information, and get out. Easy, right?
That’s when Lachlan Crow noticed me. Problem was, he wasn’t a soldier. No, he was next in line for the throne of the Irish underworld. And he was determined to hate me from the outset. My sob story about needing a job? Yeah, he wasn’t buying that either.
Too bad for him, I won’t let anyone get in the way of my mission.
Who cares if we have some kind of crazy chemistry? He’s the worst kind of wrong- and I would never in a million years be with a guy like him.
Because they took her from me, and I’m going to make them pay.
Vicious Retaliation 10 Twisted, Dark and Deadly #2 by C.P. Mandara
…….What on earth did I just read?
I can only describe this as James Bond on amphetamine!
Vicious Retaliation is seriously OTT. Not just a little bit either. Massively, hugely, ginormously, utterly and totally, ridiculously pushing the boundaries. And I loved it!!!! In all reality no-one could survive what Mel put Adie through, but that’s the beauty of a book – it’s completely fictional so anything goes. So long as you’re prepared to suspend your sense of reality, then this is an absolutely fabulous read.
This book is the fourth in the Twisted, Dark and Deadly series, and it completely lives up to both of it’s titles. I knew Adie was in for a world of hurt, but the author totally managed to surprise me with the direction the story took, as well as all the little twists and turns along the way. I may choose to not forgive her for that cliff-hanger ending though! This is a series, so you do need to read the first three books (and for the FULL picture I would recommend reading the Special Agent series first as this is where we first meet Adie, Lois and James).
The book contains some pretty dark subject matter, but the humorous inner monologues and crazy quips lighten the atmosphere. I’m not quite sure how Ms Mandara can turn a torture scene into something that feels more like a moment from a rom-com AND write in such a way that you are enjoying things so much you cannot put the book down.
Talking of enjoying things I very much enjoy all things Adie, it should be criminal for a fictional character to charm and turn a girl on as much as he manages to do. He really does prove the saying of you can’t keep a good man down, not-so-little Vlad definitely doesn’t stay down for long! Mel is such a badass and not only is as tough as Lois but she is just as nasty as Adie. I can’t wait for the moment this pair realise that what they feel for one another extends far past mere physical attraction!
If you’re looking for a fast paced, full of action, kinky read with plenty of fun and sex then I do recommend this series.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
BDSM Romantic Suspense
Contains gratuitous violence, humour and sex scene
Synopsis Adie Melinda Leader is a vicious monster with a score to settle. Okay, I might have tied her down and had a little fun with her. Most chicks dig that, don’t they? Inviting a few friends over to help was probably going a bit too far. Nearly killing her probably didn’t do me any favors, and trying to slit her throat was most definitely a mistake. Oops. We can still be friends after that, right? I’m willing to live and let live. I’m a reasonable kinda guy.
Melinda Adrien Dumortier looks very fetching shackled to my wall, especially as he’s naked. Now that I have him exactly where I want him, the fun and games can begin. How do I bring this man to his knees? Your basic run-of-the-mill torture will be too tame for this hardened criminal. I’ll need to be creative. What is the ultimate torment for a man like Adrien? I want to crush him like a fucking parasite – and I’m willing to use any method necessary to achieve my aim. Yep. Anything that fucking works has my vote.