Monday, February 23, 2015

Christie's review: The Salvation of Vengeance by Nancy Havilland


Title:The Salvation of Vengeance
Series: Wanted Men #2
Author: Nancy Haviland
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Rating:2.5 stars
Cliffhanger: no

Only something as important as her best friend’s wedding to mob boss Gabriel Moretti could allow Nika Paynne a reprieve from captivity. Her abusive husband has kept her under his thumb with footage of her beloved brother, Caleb, killing another man. But the respite from her violent life isn’t the only draw. Vincente Romani—Gabriel’s deadliest guardian—will be one of the best men at the wedding, and Nika has lingering thoughts about the fascinating mobster…covetous thoughts that may put her life in danger.

With the heartbreak he’s suffered and the brutality he effortlessly delivers, Vincente knows he’s the last person who can offer Nika a happily-ever-after. But his vow remains. He will do everything in his power to free his redhead from her violent prison—even if that means losing her forever.

In the second thrilling and passionate Wanted Men book, a dangerous line is drawn between loyalty to the mob and loyalty to one’s heart.

After the nicely executed tease we got in the end of A Love of Vengeance, I was more than ready to get my hands on this couple's story. The immediate attraction and lust they felt was scorching. Add into that the secret abuse that Nika endures at the hands of her husband, you've got one hell of a lead in. It gave this book a lot of tantalizing potential. However, with all due respect to this talented author, this book just simply did not deliver on that potential for me personally. There were a couple of issues I took with the set up of the plot, but they were big ones.

I clicked right away with this author's style of writing in her previous book. She's created a large assemblage of fascinating mafia characters, each one detailed enough to make you desperate to get to know them better in their own book. All the mafia "brothers" are tough, intimidating alpha types that are loyal to the core. That being said, my main emotion threading through this entire book was frustration.

Our hero in this book is Vincente, Gabriel's (the mob boss) deadliest guardian. He's nicknamed "The Reaper", so naturally, I was anticipating quite an intimidating enforcer.

Sadly, I just wasn't feeling that due to the direction the plot took away from any real mafia storylines. I never really got to see proof of his menacing and deadly side. As they say, he talked the talk, but didn't walk the walk. He spent the entire book mentally pining for the heroine while at the same time repeatedly lying to himself and everyone else about how he feels. This dragged on way, way too long in my opinion. Realistically, looking back at it, it took the entire book for him to admit to his feelings and accept a future with her. Yes, he did cave a couple of times physically, but then immediately went right back to denial.
I'm sorry, but when it takes until the 97% mark for his resistance against her to break, that's too much for me to handle. I need to see the main couple strong and united and happy together for more than the last 3 percent of the book.

The main path that this story leads us down is through the discovery of Nika's horrific abuse, her own healing process (as well as her loved ones), and Vincente's push and pull attitude toward her.

After her ordeal, she deserved peace and happiness more than anyone. With him, she'd never get it. Not in the violent, fucked-up circles he traveled.

I want her. Her. Not just the satisfaction of knowing I've helped a woman out of a shit situation. But her, damage and all.

He flip flopped between these two rationales over and over and over until I just wanted to start skimming to where he drops his "I'm not good enough" attitude.

There was also some conflict revolving around her sadistic ex and their attempts to capture him after he goes off the deep end. What I didn't see was an intricately woven conflict rooted in the mafia underworld, and honestly, I really wanted to see more association in the plot than what I got.

Nika's vivid recollection of the terrifying life she endured at the hands of her husband was presented in a gratifyingly chilling manner. And I was very happy with the author's explanation as to why this seemingly strong and confident woman would stay in such a nightmare for so long. Rather than her staying out of fear or intimidation, it's revealed that she's being blackmailed to stay because he has incriminating evidence against her brother who is part of an MC. Her ex was truly a vicious and brutal man, which made her healing process a necessary addition to the story.

Vincente also has quite the sad and tragic past and that was the main thing linking them emotionally, I felt. They both went through hell for their brother or sister and could really relate and identify with each other's lingering pain. But as much as I wanted to feel their connection, Vincente's frustrating as hell stubbornness greatly diminished that in my eyes.

Would I read another book by Nancy Haviland? Absolutely, I would. I fell in love with the amazing group of characters she's created in this series, and while this couple was a miss for me for my own personal reasons, I would happily revisit the series in the books to come. Every one of the secondary characters have the potential for a gripping tale.


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