"Now that I finally have her in my possession, the idea of someone else tormenting her is unbearable. Everything inside me screams that she’s mine—mine to fuck, mine to punish in any way I choose.
Nobody else will lay hands on her ever again."
Yes, she is, Lucas. She is all yours. Wouldn't we all sort of want to be...
Khm... right. Maybe I got a little too carried away there but this book truly came to me at the right time, especially with the mood I have been in lately. And when I say came to me, that is really what happened, I accidentally stumbled onto the copy of this book and it drew me in, captured me if You will.
This book is meant for adult readers who need to know this is not an easy romance with a little bit of action thrown in. It's dark, it is to some taboo and it is hard but isn't that what makes it all the more worth it? I believe that it is so.
Lucas and Yulia are not living an easy carefree life. Lucas is a second-in-command to a Colombian arms dealer and this is the life he chose for himself whereas Yulia is an Ukrainian spy who had no choice in the matter. Both of their lives are shrouded in danger and when they meet, their worlds collide. Fate seems to be working against them because despite of their attraction to one another, they find themselves on the opposite sides and that will only lead to pain.
When Yulia gets mixed up in almost killing Lucas and his boss, she gets captured by the authorities and eventually she is sent to Lucas to Colombia so he can exact his revenge on her. But the problem is that pesky lust and attraction, that inexplicable attraction that makes them both question themselves, their actions and binds their lives together although maybe not in the healthiest sort of way.
Yulia is a leggy tall slender elegant perfect skin blonde and Lucas is rough around the edges, perfect muscles, ice in his eyes, irresistible kind of man... and if I would just leave it at that you might think this is just another one of 'those kinds', the perfect blonde heroine and the hard exterior mushy inside hero who go through some hardship and live happily ever after. Wrong ! Big time wrong.
What is incredible about this book is how well Yulia is portrayed in all of her perfect exterior and hard life that she has had, and still has. She was recruited as a spy at just 11 and they made her whore her way through politicians to serve their needs since she was a teenager. She was also raped at 15. And all of that just made her tougher than the rest, it made her into a perfectly broken beautiful woman who has been used her whole life just because she has a little brother to protect. Which is something she mentions in a very interesting way:
"For some reason, his action makes me flush. There’s something so wrong, so dirty about that condom lying there. Perhaps it’s because I feel like that condom: used and discarded."
And what is the most incredible of it all, she doesn't sob about her life, she doesn't justify anything with it, she takes it as that is how it was supposed to be and there's nothing more to be said about it but look to the future.
Lucas we don't get to know that well personally and emotionally except for the few tidbits we learn about him, like how he is ex-military, how he has a wealthy lawyer family he didn't want to follow in their footsteps, how he murdered his commanding officer which finally got him into this business he is in now and how he has killed and tortured before and he will do whatever it takes to serve his boss. Until Yulia who got under his skin and all the revenge he had on his mind can't seem to come to life as he wished. He admits he is lusting for her but he doesn't yet see that it is far more than that.
"At that moment, I would’ve done anything to have her, crossed any line... committed any crime."
This book turned out to be incredibly complex. Characters are very well developed, the story is connected to somewhat current state Ukraine and Russia are in with the disturbance in the Donetsk area amongst others, it displays, although we're only scratching the surface of it, of how spies are made into spies and what kind of a (non)life they are leading, it is also borderlines on taboo like the relationship between Lucas' boss and his wife. His boos kidnapped his wife and held her captive and now she is 19, in love with him and married to him... Stockholm Syndrome much? But... you will not see or hear me judging because I actually find it very arousing, just the kind of a person I am. Something similar is now happening between Lucas and Yulia... he is her captor and she is his captive and her fear and lust are so intertwined that it is hard to discern whether she really wants him or he is actually forcing her in a way. Which is mainly the reason I called it dark romance.
For me though, it works, I love this pleasure/pain mix. In fact, I find it amazing. Because life isn't simple and the world isn't simple and you can only know the best of love if you experienced pain.
"Mine. She’s mine.
The words are a primal drumbeat in my mind. I’ve never felt so possessive about a woman, have never wanted to claim one so badly. The desire is purely visceral, a need that’s as dark and ancient as the urge to kill."
I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 and I do have my reasons for it. First one was that Yulia is yet another incredibly beautiful flawless blonde. I don't mind beautiful heroines but she is literally described as a perfect porcelain doll. No one is perfect, everyone has flaws, everyone. That was my first downside. The second was that Lucas should have been on the team to rescue his boss... it would have added an amazing thrill to the story.
This is a page-turner, a book that will captivate you and will not let you go until you have satisfied your need of knowing what will happen next. It is also face paced, you will read it fairly quickly and I imagine you will dive right into book no.2 in this trilogy (like I am about to). What I should also mention is that we read this story from both Lucas' and Yulia's perspective and that adds a certain extra flavour to it because Lucas' raw emotions and needs and Yulia's complicated mess she is feeling can only be understood through their own insight, their own story.