Series: Wanted Men #3
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: July 21st 2015
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
Maksim Kirov is a mobster who gets what he wants, both at his posh gentleman’s club in Hell’s Kitchen and in the bedroom. Sexy, dangerous, and obsessed with control, he’s risen through the ranks to become a highly respected leader in the tight-knit Tarasov crime syndicate. He rules with an iron fist…until he meets Sydney Martin.
The Australian-born Sydney is determined to refuse Maks’s advances, despite their electrifying chemistry. The owner of a neighboring nightclub, Sydney rules her own domain. But when a deal with a Mexican drug cartel goes terribly wrong, she has no choice but to turn to Maksim and the Tarasov organization for protection. Could giving in to their intense attraction be what saves both Maks and Sydney? Or will their all-consuming passion—and her shocking secret—destroy their lives?
In the hot and scandalous third installment of the Wanted Men series, lust and loyalty clash in New York’s mob underworld.
Just when I thought that Ms. Haviland could not match The Salvation of Vengeance, she proves that she can almost do it with AN OBSESSION WITH VENGEANCE. Readers usually have different things that they look out for in books, but I tend to gravitate towards the emotions the characters go through and the appeal of this series to me lies in the way the author humanizes these men of the underworld. These are men that would on a normal day make an average person cross the street to avoid them either because of their looks, appearance or reputations, but in spite of all of these, they are still everyday people who love, hurt, suffer loss and are very family-oriented. The only thing that sets them apart is that they straddle the line between good and evil, leaning heavily towards the evil side.
Maksim Kirov is one of the original gang of friends, operates a gentleman’s club and and is highly-placed in the Tarasov crime family. In his spare time, Maks is a super hacker and quite a ladies man, whose reputation precedes him. In the previous book, Maks met Australian-born club owner Sydney Martin while helping out his friend and determined to get the classy but aloof beauty into his bed. Well, under him, bed optional. Now Sidney needs the Tarasov family to protect her from a deal gone bad with a Mexican drug lord and Maks is the man this falls on. Maks has to put his quest to get Sydney on hold until the issue at hand is dealt with while publicly playing the role of Sydney’s lover in order to dissuade the Mexican drug lord from his plans for her. Soon the lines between pretense and reality blur and Maks has a hard time keeping his head in the game.
Maks was always the playful one of the group but there were tidbits about him that hinted at a painful past. He lost his mom at a young age and was subject to the whims of his uncaring father, whose determination to toughen him up led to his abduction and abuse at the hands of his captors until he was rescued by Vasily Tarasov, the man he considers his father and has vowed absolute loyalty to. These days Maks is loyal to and loves very few. While he may be a fun-loving ladies’ man, the skills he learned as a teen make him a very dangerous man who will go to very great lengths to protect who and what he considers his, with absolutely no remorse.
Sydney Martin was born with a different name to very rich and influential parents in Australia, but she ran away to America as a pregnant teen, to save the life of her unborn child. Now that child is her number one priority and she would do everything in her power to keep him safe, including resisting the advances of Russian mobster and man-whore, Maks. While I liked Sydney and respected her determination to overcome all she had to get to where she was, I cannot understand why she did not tell Maks that she had a son early enough, especially when she knew that the Mexican cartel had threatened his well-being!
I enjoyed AN OBSESSION WITH VENGEANCE just as much as the previous books, even though it is different. The adrenaline-inducing action that was a huge part of previous books is missing from this, at least until the very end. This is more introspective, with lots of internal monologues from the characters but I loved it because it gave me an insight to what was on the inside as well as the struggles Maks and Sydney had with their changing feelings for each other.
Another thing that stands out with this book is the introduction of the secondary and more dangerous villain. While everyone is focused on the obvious threat to Sydney, the real danger lies in the grudge against Sydney and the attack on what is most precious to her.
In what is fast becoming Ms. Haviland’s trademark, we get some parts of the story through the view of a secondary character (which I really love by the way) and the secondary characters are front and center, allowing us to catch up with those from previous stories and get a look at coming stories. Now I’m not sure if I want Lorenzo and Teague’s story first or Alek’s or… the possibilities are many. I’ll say this: there are so many story arcs that it was some work keeping everything and everyone straight, but I enjoyed it.
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