Monday, June 6, 2016

review || ULTIMATE VENGEANCE { blog tour } by Nancy Haviland

Nancy Haviland | May 31, 2016 | Organized Crime Romance
Wanted Men, book 4


To a young Russian girl raised to respect and fear the Bratva, gaining the attention of the impressive Sovietnik from a ruling organization was a terrifying thing. Alekzander was a pdangerous temptation Sacha Urusski had no hope of resisting. Predictably, her heart was decimated and she was left bleeding…with a precious reason to go on. But when Alekzander bullies his way back into her quiet life and offers a confession that absolves him of his sins, rather than celebrate, Sacha is forced to acknowledge an alarming truth; she has now become the villain in their story. Or so she thinks. When the most damaging secret of all is revealed, her final hope dies and she’s left with no other recourse. She must run. 

Sixteen months ago, Alekzander Tarasov made the mistake of his life when he annihilated his relationship with his soulmate. At the time, protecting her was his only thought. Now, after attempting to live without her, his focus has changed. He wants her back where she belongs. And he’ll stop at nothing to drag his curvy angel away from her new life and so deep into his world of violence and uncertainty she’ll never find her way out again. 

Through a deluge of secrets and lies, disillusionment and broken faith enters a world where loyalty and trust reign. Will Alek and Sacha’s battered love be strong enough to survive? Or will it be a sense of duty that inexorably binds them together in the end?
amazon | bn | itunes

{ about nancy haviland } .

Nancy Haviland, author of the bestselling organized crime series, WANTED MEN, writes about her alpha mobsters and their ladies from her home near Toronto, Ontario. She fights for space on her keyboard with her arrogant kitty named Talbot, and adores her Tim Horton’s coffee; as any self-respecting Canadian would. She writes contemporary romantic suspense but will happily read anything that involves two people smooching.

A member of Romance Writers of America, Nancy is represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates, and is published by Montlake Romance/Amazon Publishing.

{ excerpt } .

Rather than drive his fist through another man’s sternum to rip out his still beating heart, Alek rudely gave everyone but Sacha his back. He placed his hands on the car’s roof, boxing her in. She pressed back, as though she didn’t want to come into contact with him. Understandable. The last time she’d seen him, he’d had his hands full of a woman that wasn’t her.

He excluded Sheppard entirely by reverting to Russian once more. “I would appreciate a few minutes of your time. We could talk in the car.
Vasily’s car,” he specified with a dismissive look at the Mercedes. “Or, if you prefer something more public, we can go into the restaurant. But whichever you choose, it’s time to send him on his way. I’ll make sure you get home.” Preferably their home.

A new tension began crackling in the time it took for her to raise her incredulous stare. The vulnerability surrounding her disappeared, and she made a small sound of amusement that wasn’t reflected in her expression. “Just like that?” She spoke quietly enough so only he would hear. “Your arrogance is shameful and sad if it allows you to believe there would be any point to us sitting down together, no matter the location.” Even in her disgust, he’d never seen a woman so fucking beautiful.

“I’ll admit you’d have to struggle to find something you’d want to say to me that didn’t involve me giving it to myself somewhere I can’t reach, but there is much I’d like to say to you.” He watched her throat work through a swallow and wanted to scrape his teeth over the silky skin. “I don’t know how the hell you came to be here tonight, but if you think I’m going to let this opportunity go without taking full advantage, then you’ve forgotten who I am.”

“No, Alekzander. And that would be the problem; I have forgotten nothing.”

Shut down.

He dropped his arms and retreated. He remembered that tone and knew he wouldn’t get her cooperation this night. Which meant he was going to have to demonstrate some patience after all by allowing her to leave. Maks must have Sheppard’s info by now. If not, Alek would get the plates on the Benz and they’d hack OnStar. Bingo. Sacha’s addy.

Despite the setback, peace was invading him. He had her. And that was everything.

He took another step back and even managed a small smile. “I understand,” he said, inclining his head as if in defeat. But before he could prove how gracious he planned on being about the whole thing by opening the car door for her, she made a fatal error.

Alek watched as if in slow motion Sacha move that stunning hourglass figure over and press what belonged to him into Sheppard’s side. After the slightest hesitation, her date encircled his arm around her shoulders and pulled her in.

Vasily and Maks came forward at the same time to wedge themselves between Alek and the blasphemous display they’d all just witnessed.

Disappointed that she would do such a thing in front of his people, Alek tsk’d quietly. “Why would you provoke me in such a way, Sacha?” he murmured, holding her eyes as he brought that target back up when he’d mentally been lowering it because deep down he knew Sheppard didn’t deserve his malice. Or, he hadn’t. Now, Alek squared that bull’s eye on the guy’s chest, and almost as if she sensed where his mind was, his naughty angel paled before he lost sight of her.

Maks lowered his head and caught his eye. “Time to get this train backed up,” he said in a tone laced with humor. He forced Alek back by bumping their chests together. “He’s untouchable,” he added in a murky tone more suited to what was happening here. “We have to regroup and figure some shit out. Then we’ll take care of this in a more private location.” He bumped again. “Don’t worry, brother. I got you covered.”

The storm tearing through him calmed at hearing that but the dark clouds of possession hovered, going nowhere. “Take my gun.”

Maks’s hand immediately snaked inside his jacket and came out with his nine millimeter. It was gone from sight before anyone had a chance to lock eyes on it. At the same time, Vasily was sending Sheppard back around the car and opening the door to help Sacha into the passenger seat with a quiet farewell that Alek didn’t hear her return.

“Justin Sheppard.”

He paused with one foot in the car, appearing remarkably unfazed by the undercurrent surrounding them.

“Take care of her. She’s precious in a way you couldn’t possibly understand.”

Finally, a reaction came when the blatant warning caused the muscle in Sheppard’s jaw to jump. “I understand that just fine, Tarasov. She’ll be fine. Goodnight, gentlemen.” He disappeared into the car, and the tinted windows shut out prying eyes as they drove away.

{ playlist } .

{ review } .

This is a series that honestly keeps getting better and better. Whenever I see that a book is coming, I see a new teaser, or see Nancy Haviland posting something new on her Facebook, I cannot help but get excited for the next book.

Each book brings a little something different to the table. We've dealt with some of the Italians of our group, and we've started on the Russians. One of the friendships I have been enjoying, that I enjoyed so much more this go around, is the friendship of Alek and Maks. These two... Oh my goodness, they're like a bunch of grown boys. But on the flipside, Maks is a great outside view on some of the things Alek goes through in this book, and is a great voice of reason.

And of course, there's Maks's Sydney, who proves to be a great friend for Sacha as the story progresses.

But let's back up.

This isn't a story about falling in love. Oh no. Alek and Sacha already did that. Sacha already proved she was an independent woman who could handle Alek's life, as scary as it was. They'd fallen in love already and had a great apartment together at one time. But one bad day at the office had Alek pushing Sacha away.

This is a story about forgiveness. It is a story about listening to your heart, your gut, your head. Alek and Sacha lost sixteen months and both were extremely hurt by it.

"...He looked at you like you were life."
--Angela to Sacha

One of the biggest things with Alek that I loved was that I could feel that his actions were done out of protection. Start to finish, Alek has a hard time showing his emotions, but the one thing he always has his protection for his Sacha. While Sacha reacted to her hurt with a vengeance that Alek didn't think she had in her, Alek was never far from her mind.

He'd given up his life, to ensure she was able to live hers.

Not once in this story did I want either character to push out their secrets. Everything felt organic and felt like it was done in an appropriate time table. The steps to forgiveness felt real; the re-opening of their hearts never felt forced or rushed. It helped that the love was always lingering in the background. I loved the friendships surrounding everyone, and I loved the loyalty our core group of people have for one another. Sacha was part of the group long before Eva joined, so while she didn't know the girls, she knew the men -- and the men knew her. Maks and Sydney are huge secondary characters in this story, and their friendships had my heart happy on more than one occasion.

Maks also had me cracking up on way more than one occasion, as well. Oh, that Maks. He proves to be quite the meddler.

"[G]et her...naked. Treat her dirty. Admit to her all the nasty things you'd like to do to her. Beg her to do them to you. Crack that reserve so you two can talk candidly about what happened. Syd always spills shit after sex. Says she feels connected and it's easier for her to open up."
--Maks's advice to Alek

Let's not forget Vincente and Nika and their dog. Oh my goodness, that is a scene that will have you cracking up..! Another great scene was when everyone was dressed up for an event. The relationships between friends and lovers was so incredibly real; I absolutely loved every extra moment we got with the couples.

"I think the shape of my wife's body is a direct testament to how harmonious our exchanges already are, Mahatma," he said as he walked away.
--Gabriel on harmonious, aesthetic living
{ cracks me up, along with a few other Eva/Gabriel scenes }

In all of these Wanted Men stories, there's an element of suspense. How could it not, we're dealing with the mafia? Generally I have found the added suspense line has had a lot to do with the women, but the particular line in this story has a lot to do with the family as a whole... It was slightly unexpected and incredibly well executed.

I can't wait for Jaks's book, but I think we have a bit of a surprise as to who is next. The epilogue is a real winner...

{ giveaway } .

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