By Sienna Valentine
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Deeply handsome, with endless brown eyes and a jawline square and cut like marble. His white t-shirt fit snugly over his chest and arms, revealing lean muscle lines that nonetheless exuded a strength of something predatory…
I was a different man two years ago. I was soft, too easy-going.
Look where that got me. Death and destruction, and all of it my fault. I wasn’t going to let that happen again.
Now all I wanted to do was fight, drink and fuck.
I couldn’t imagine that anything short of retribution for the past could make me want to turn back into the man I was before.
I certainly never imagined someone like Eva…
When my brother and I moved to this small little town to take over my Uncle’s bar, I thought that it was just going to be like a little mini vacation from our lives.
What I didn’t expect was to be threatened almost as soon as we got there. And I certainly didn’t expect protection from that threat to come from a man like Will Bowers.
Dark, violent and completely gorgeous. He’s the complete opposite of the type of guy I’m usually attracted to, but then again, I’ve never met a man like him before. My instinct tells me to stay far away, but at the same time, I can’t ignore the feeling that there is more to him than his rough exterior. I see something behind all of that pain in his eyes. Something that draws me forward.
Besides, my friend Laura is always telling me that I spend too much time with my head buried in my books, and that I need to actually lift it up and live a little.
Maybe she’s right, but I don’t think this is what she had in mind.
I admit, I’ve quickly become a fan of Sienna Valentine. After reading Sanctum, the story of Jase and Maggie, it was a no-brainer to immediately add Retribution (Will) and Vindication (Ghost) to the queue. Valentine’s writing is so entertaining and easy to read, and the humor and natural-flowing conversation and actions between the main characters make it seem as if it’s real-to-life. The characters are well-developed and true individuals, and the descriptive language and analogies add a lot of substance and tactility to the story.
In Retribution, Will Bowers is not the same Will Bowers that readers came to like in Sanctum. His heart has hardened and his soul is dark, and he is drowning his life in women and booze after enduring the agonizing loss of his grandmother in an arson. Will is now a shell of a man. Enter Eva and her brother Charlie, who are overseeing the bar constructed on the former site of Will’s grandmother’s bakery for their uncle who is away caring for his dying wife. When Eva and Charlie are threatened by thugs eager to start up racketeering, Will steps in to thwart their efforts. It turns out that he’s drawn to Eva’s simple beauty and her love of books and Shakespeare. Before long, Eva and Will have surrendered to their lust for one another. Charlie eventually heads into town and shares a picture of Will with the townspeople to try to figure out who this guy really is and discovers he’s a member of the MC. In turn, Jase and Tommy return to the bar with Charlie and drag him out of there and head back to the club for a meeting with the club who was responsible for threatening the bar. It turns out that there has been a coup in this other MC and, without further ado, the problem is handled without too much ado. This finally brings Will peace since the leader of the coup was really the one responsible for the arson that killed his grandmother. Will makes up with Jase and his MC brothers, but now Will worries that Eva will no longer love him because of his screw ups.
Will and Eva make a nice couple, especially once Will returns to his former self, but for me there was no true chemistry between the two of them even though the sex scenes were steamy on paper. The authenticity of their feelings seemed more real when Eva showed up at the MC bar to get back together with Will after the racketeering problem was eliminated. At this point, seeing the two of them together seemed natural and right.
P.S. Valentine also did a brilliant job of staying true to the characters. For anyone else who found it difficult to relate to Jase so easily looking beyond Maggie leaving him and returning after five years in Sanctum, that element of Jase’s personality popped out again in Retribution. Jase readily forgave Will for pushing against him so hard for so long once Will’s demeanor shifted after the ones responsible for his grandmother’s death were finally killed.
Yes. Read Sanctum, Retribution and Vindication, and read them in that order. You can’t help but get drawn in to these guys.
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on May 19, 2016.