This queen of dark romance is a go-to for me, as her women are strong, her men captivating and her plots are as twisted as hell. And I'm here for it, all the way.
At first, Klara Cohen doesn't seem strong at all. She is confined to a wheelchair with a rare condition, Malignant Catatonia, brought on by extreme mental trauma, and all we can hear are her thoughts as she falls into the hands of the brutal Bratva, or Russian Mafia. Inside, she is still the snarly teenager she was when her trauma happened, although she is in her twenties. As she gradually regains the use of her voice and legs, her propensity for pushing boundaries tests the patience of the men who rescued her.
Then we have two brothers, urbane, elegant Micah, who has an obsession with dolls for reasons we don't really learn. and his disturbed, equally handsome sibling, Milan, who is lethal with his blades and always seems on the edge of madness, mainly due to being the unwitting instigator of a family tragedy. Gradually, secrets are revealed as we get to know their family history, and become introduced to the mob boss, Ilia Mikhailov,
Ilia is truly repellent, an abusive manipulative man who rules his family with an iron fist. We learn more about the hideous nature of his crimes as the book progresses. His story arc alone warrants the trigger warnings the author displays prominently on the blurb.
But this is a DARK romance, and Micah gradually draws Klara out of her still, silent world, with the guidance of Klara's devoted nurse, Alice. Because he is a bad guy, Micah's methods are... unconventional, shall we say. Some might even cringe, as he seduces Klara, assuming consent by what he can see in her eyes. If you think that sounds kind of rape-y, well, TRIGGERS. Read them before you launch into this book, okay? You've been warned. Another point worth noting. Klara clearly gives her consent through her thoughts, so we know she's happy about the situation, even if Micah doesn't seem too bothered.
The dark subject matter is lightened by some great secondary characters, my favourite being Ivan, Klara's bodyguard. Klara subjects him to all kinds of humiliations, from wearing tutus to make-up, and this trained killer takes it all with good-natured obedience.
Another fantastic character was Helena, Micah's PA, as lethal with her fists as she is with her tongue. Her relationship with Klara develops in a lovely way, and I'm so glad these women find common ground, as pitching them against each other with jealousy and spit cat fighting would have been predictable.
So in short, what a promising start to what looks to be another searing series of dark love, violence and bloodshed! It ends on a cliffhanger, so be warned, but the author tempts us with a love triangle so hot, it could burn up your e-reader. Once again, you've been warned. This author takes no prisoners. Her exceptional writing scorches words into your head. I want the second book RIGHT NOW!
KLARA After a traumatic, near-death injury, my life spiraled into a dark hole I couldn’t escape from. Diagnosed with a rare condition at eighteen, I was left unresponsive to the world… until I met him.
A man with influence, power, money, and a loyal brother to the ever-elusive Bratva.
Thanks to my father, I was handed over to Micah with our home like a packaged deal while Dad allegedly abandoned me and disappeared. All I could do was watch silently and try to adjust to my new home.
Micah’s world was dark, his words refined, and his appearance intoxicating.
Underneath his expensive suit and curt expression, was a monster who operated with authority, bloodshed, and death.
I was determined to recover and discover what really happened to my father the night Micah stormed into my life. Even more pressing; I wanted to know if I’d ever be allowed to leave, or was I doomed forever to remain in his possession?
Man... monster, there is no difference. As an heir to an empire, I was born to serve the Russian Mafia.
Trained from childhood to end lives and collect debts, my job was simple.
My latest task should have been quick and easy—acquire some poor man’s house to cover his debt to my father—but the coward had other plans.
His actions left his ailing daughter at my mercy. There was nothing to Klara but frailty and emptiness, yet she intrigued me, so I made her my project. If I could bring the beautiful, damaged girl back from the brink, she might just be the salvation for all my sins. She would soon understand that in this dangerous place, men and monsters are one and the same. Her life, dreams, pleasure, and pain would forever be controlled by me.
This series is rated 18+ and has trigger warnings for violence, dark themes, and explicit sexual content. Please read responsibly.