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When I was five years old, my father was tortured, branded with the letter Z, then beaten and left for dead. The grueling punishment for his crime was a reminder to all others who dared threaten the Russian's reign.
I was the young girl left behind. A living piece of the traitorous puzzle the Russian leader tried so diligently to ignore - until I grew up. No longer could he deny how much my existence had always been intertwined with his. And in order to survive the life I was thrown into, I was forced to learn my place inside of it.
Vlad Zalesky was a tyrant to the lost. I hated him.
He was a terror of mass destruction. I was afraid of him.
He was a tormentor of the weak. I wanted only to hide from him.
But not far beneath the venomous man's outward indifference was something else. Vlad Zalesky carried secrets of unrestrained burden. I wanted to know those secrets. And because of the decisions I made, someone in our family had to pay.
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By 🔹🔹🔹CAROLYN 🔹🔹🔹 on 09-04-17
I DEVOURED IT.. SAVORED IT.. AND LONGED FOR MORE
Vlad Zalesky killed for the first time at the age of twenty.. it was to prove himself in front of his Mafia Boss father by torturing, branding and killing a traitor.. but sadly some of it was in front of the traitor's five year old daughter. Vlad had also banished the traitor's wife, so his sister Faina convinced him that she would look after the lost little girl - but now, fifteen years later, that girl has grown into a beautiful clever woman. Living in Vlad's home with his loving sister Faina has been wonderful for innocent Klara.. Faina's been a mother figure to Klara and she's been sheltered and protected by a tight group of loyal Mafia men. Over the years, Vlad and Klara's paths rarely crossed.. but all that's about to change.
Committed to 'the business' and 'the family' Vlad takes his sexual pleasures in his whore houses and with willing women who all know who he is, what he's capable of and exactly what the score is. However, more and more Vlad's thoughts are consumed by his beautiful vibrant lodger Klara.. Vlad initially ignores the pull, the undiluted sexual chemistry that sizzles and burns between him and Klara. He tries had to resist the temptation of this particular innocent.. well we all know how that's going to go.. yup I guess he didn't try hard enough. But, when Klara disobeys Vlad's direct orders.. and when a bitter ex seeks revenge and retribution.. and when various enemies try to destroy Vlad by killing everyone he loves, tears, tension, conflict, bloodshed, intrigue, violence and seismic drama ensues. There's also shock, regrets and heartache when a hoped rescue becomes a bitter retrieval after a tragic, brutal and bloody death.. a death that's going to rock Vlad's world and ignite retribution.
I loved this dual POV suspense filled Mafia romance which absolutely took hold of me from the start - it was at times, tense, chilling and emotionally highly charged.. however (for me) it never went into the 'dark' zone. It had a fast-paced plot with some sex scenes but they didn't drown the multi-layered story which had good secondary characters who weaved in and out of the scenes. Vlad, the leader of the Russian mob in Chicago, was dangerous, arrogant, powerful, unrepentant and a ruthless alpha anti-hero.. but his heart and his human side comes out the deeper he falls for Klara.. so you can add that he's a jealous, possessive, passionate and protective lover too. Vlad's got a sixteen year old son who is very sweet, loving and selfless.. and he treats Klara like a big sister. Klara is a feisty headstrong virgin who has been secretly in love with Vlad for many years.. and her new defiant attitude fuels Vlad's desires.. making him want more, more and more. A.C. Bextor wrote a spellbinding story and the very talented narrators brought it all to life.. so, between them, they created a listen that was virtually impossible to stop, break away from or pause.
Worth a credit? Yes.. a very enjoyable twisted fast-paced tale that delivered much more than I was expecting.. from the simmering slow-building romance, through the low level personal angst and drama.. to the high octane suspense and murder. There is an abrupt ending to Vlad and Klara's love story - but they are mentioned in the second book of this three book series. And the second book is set eight years after the truce, has a totally different h/h and tensions are again becoming strained between the Russian, Italian and Irish families.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful