By Lauren Landish
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Protecting her should be easy for a man like me . . .
When assigned as a bodyguard for Adriana Bertoli, I knew I was in for a world of trouble. With her fiery-red hair, sparkling green eyes, milky white skin, and lush, curvaceous body, she’s a damn knockout.
But she also happens to be the niece of one of the most powerful mob bosses in the Seattle-Tacoma area, Don Carlo — my boss. And he’s made it clear that none of his men are to lay a finger on Adriana.
The man to have that honor would have to be perfect — a warrior and a saint. Sadly, I was no saint.
It should be an easy order to follow. After all, I owed everything to the man, and I’d be nothing without him. But every moment in Adriana’s presence is pure temptation. The longer I’m with her, the more I want her, and I fear it won’t be long before I betray the man who’s like the father I never had.
Lauren Landish wrote this book, so you know it’s going to be a stunning read: well written, intensely developed characters, sizzling romance, and a solid plot involving suspense and twists and turns that evolves at a fast pace.
This story started out a bit slow for me, but all of a sudden it kicked into gear and I was hooked in. Adriana is an independent and tenacious college student – not to mention a mafia princess – who is being harassed and stalked by one of her art professors, a delusional former military man. She hopes that obtaining a restraining order will eliminate his creepy advances, but instead he breaks into her apartment and murders her roommate and writes threatening song lyrics on her bedroom wall with her roommate’s blood to terrorize her further. Her Uncle Carlo, Godfather of the Seattle-Tacoma Mafioso, assigns Daniel, his most trusted enforcer, to serve as Adriana’s protector and bodyguard. The No. 1 rule, however, is that he cannot touch his niece – she is completely off limits. What may seem like an easy rule for an employee to follow, especially for a lady’s man and womanizer such as Daniel who is devoutly loyal to Carlo because he has raised him up since he was a baby after his family was murdered, is actually going to be impossible: it seems that Adriana and Daniel have liked one another for a very long time, but never acted on it. If Daniel so much as touches Adriana, however, he’s signing his death warrant because Carlo will kill him.
The storyline pits love versus loyalty. Can Daniel remain loyal to Carlo, the only real father figure in his life who he owes his life, or will he follow his heart and give himself to Adriana? Will Carlo make an exception for his niece, the most important person in his world, and let her and Daniel be together, or will he consider Daniel’s actions the greatest betrayal of all and demand his death? Will Daniel walk away from Adriana in exchange for his life? Will Adriana follow her uncle’s demands and never go near Daniel again, or will she throw caution to the wind and run off with her lover? Really, though, in the end, what can be greater and more important than love?
I loved the love story part of Daniel and Adriana – they had chemistry, fondness and tenderness, and deep down were made for one another regardless of the “family” ties.
“I love you,” Adriana whispered. “Forever.”
“Ade,” I whispered, kissing her hair. “You’ve made a true man out of me. Before, I was just a boy in an adult body, not ready to commit to any woman. But now that you’re in my life, I feel complete and truly a man.”
She smiled and snuggled into my chest. “Good, because I’m not letting go of you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
I stroked her back and kissed her cheek. “Me too. Adriana, will you marry me?”
“Think you’d like to be one of my bridesmaids?”
Carmen threw her hands up and walked away, muttering loudly to herself in Spanish, only to come back a moment later, still muttering before pointing at me. “You are absolutely insane. You decided you want to get married to a renegade Mafia enforcer, and now you ask a stripper to be one of your bridesmaids?”
“We were meant to be together. All those little things you mentioned, I never forgot them, even when I pretended to everyone that I had,” Daniel said, taking me in his arms. “Sometimes, I even believed that lie. But the little things, like Puccini, or that you prefer to sleep on your left side, I never really forgot. Now I don’t need to tell myself to forget anymore. I can just love you.”
Yes, this is a suspenseful and romantic read. It’s very well written, as are all of Lauren Landish’s books, and the storyline flows seamlessly and at a fast pace.
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on May 12, 2016.