Doing it at: 34%
Catnip: Mexican Drug Cartels, Dark Romance, Dangerous Criminal Villain, He’s Basically A Criminal, Deep Dark Secret, Gun For Hire
Shame Scale: This is essentially an espionage/action novel with detailed sex scenes, no shame. Maybe be careful that your kid isn’t reading over your shoulder though.
What Do We Taste Like?: Like licking raw coconut
Fantasy Cast: Channing Tatum, Ximena Navarrete
As a flight attendant, Alana Bernal has had her share of suitors. She’s also had more than her fair share of tragedy within her messed-up family. But what she hasn’t had is love. Real, rip-your-heart-out, tear-your-clothes-off, all-consuming love.
At least that was the case until she met an American tourist, Derek Conway, a ripped ex-soldier with steely eyes and a commanding presence.
What started as a chance encounter between the two in Puerto Vallarta, a weekend full of hot sex and mindless passion, has led to something more.
Because Derek isn’t the type of man to fall in love. He’s not a man who sticks around.
And he’s definitely not in Mexico on vacation.
Derek is a mercenary, a killer-for-hire, a man who does the ugly jobs for the highest bidder.
Unfortunately for Alana and Derek, the highest bidder has the power to destroy whatever worlds they have created for themselves.
The highest bidder can destroy everything.
Mary: This is book two in the Dirty Angels series. It’s a standalone, so you don’t need to have read Dirty Angels first, but we would definitely recommend that you do for backstory – and also because it has the hottest motherfucking drug cartel leader hero in book history.
Cleone: You should definitely read Dirty Angels. Or don’t and let Javier be all mine.
M: Dirty Deeds follows Alana Bernal, Javier from Dirty Angels’ sister, and Derek Conway, the ex-soldier turned assassin who was contracted to kill her.
C: Derek is known in the cartel circles as “The American.” He works for anyone who can afford to pay him and doesn’t ask any annoying like questions, like “Hey, why does this person have to actually DIE, like did he mess up your Netflix algorithm?”
Derek goes to take Alana out with a sniper rifle, but he hesitates seeing her in person. She’s beautiful and full of life, and for just a second he isn’t sure he can go through with it. During that moment of hesitation a car comes whizzing up and hits Alana square on, then whizzes off. Without thinking, Derek peels out after the car assailant, catches up to him, and shoots him in the head. He’s the only one who gets to kill her.
We took an immediate liking to Alana. She’s witty and confident, with no prudish hangups about bar hookups. She makes her best friends spring her from the hospital for a night, just so she can have a beer and troll for D. She knows she’s not going to take it home, but she just wants to window shop a bit and boost up her spirits.
C: Alana is fantastic, she has no compunctions about casual sex, and seems pretty together for a girl who has lost 70% of her family to horrific violence.
M: I mean hey, maybe the guy who ran her over with a car was an assassin, but maybe he was just a bad driver? Alana is a glass half full girl. Almost everyone in her family is dead from cartel violence, and she’s just trying to live a normal life and not dwell on the fact that she could be violently murdered at any moment.
C: She’s an optimist! And once she escapes the confines of her hospital room she just wants to be reminded that the world isn’t all death and doom:
I turned my attention to the bar. I was ready to be distracted, and a man was usually pretty good for that. Unfortunately there weren’t a lot of men here to do a good enough job. I wasn’t even that picky, I just wanted someone that made my head turn, my heart skip a few beats, my thighs squeeze together.
M: Derek – going by Derrin at this point, and what a doofy name that is – has been trailing Alana like a total creeper while she’s been in the hospital. Hanging out in the parking lot, walking past her hospital room, you name it. He follows the three girls to the bar, and eventually decides to make himself known to Alana. They have a meet cute where some drunk bro’s knock her over, he catches her, she offers to buy him a beer. This is a dramatically lighter side of Mexican romance than we saw in the previous book.
C: Derek plays it sweet and cute, and charms Alana into going on a date with him when she’s actually released from the hospital. He takes her out for drinks and dinner and dancing. He already knows he likes her way more than he should like a woman he was hired to kill.
Alana has a few too many drinks, and even though she is very blatantly putting the moves on Derek, he chivalrously puts her to bed, takes care of his pesky erection, and goes to bed on the couch.
M: Which was really sweet and all, but at the risk of sounding pro-date rape-y non-consensual drunk sex, I felt very annoyed on Alana’s behalf.
C: But don’t worry, as soon as she’s sober two become one. And its marvelous.
In a second he got his strong arms under my body and was lifting me up in the air. So effortless. I really felt like I was going to get fucked by a superhero or something. He definitely had that whole Captain America thing going on.
M: Derek/Derrin is trying to find a way to stay close to Alana where he can protect her from the threat he is aware of, but she seems oblivious to. So he dick glamours her into moving into his beach-side hotel room. It’s a real hardship. Unfortunately, the bad guys eventually intrude on their sexcation, and they’re forced to go on the run, and things start to feel like a sexy action movie.
C: There is a lot of doin’ it in Dirty Deeds, and it is all just swoon-inducing and hot and made me want a GI Joe of my very own.
M: C and I read this together immediate following Dirty Angels, and I love how all the books in this universe, The Artist Trilogy included, all have their own unique tone and distinct characters. While Dirty Angels felt almost like a funny/messed up Tarantino film, this one was more like a Bond movie, except with wonderful, graphic sex.
C: Like Javier, Derek is a ‘whatever it takes’ kind of guy, but he doesn’t take the same kind of glee in it that Javier does. He’s more matter of fact killer and less sadist. Let me be clear that they’re both hot though. Halle’s heroes are never paper dolls put in to act as window dressing and say all the right things.
M: Karina Halle can not do wrong for us at this point. She’s taken us on a gorgeous tour around the world with twenty somethings having quarter-life crises, written about Cleone’s life and greatest fantasy, aka a struggling single mom in San Francisco who gets the life fucked back into her by a Hot Scot, and so many others, including a grifter, a sexy ex-goth tattoo artist, a psychopath cartel leader, a marriage pact, some ghost hunters, and now: G.I. Joe and his Mexican girlfriend. She’s got a book for everyone, and you can’t go wrong with any of them.
C: We put her in every single one of our ‘How To Ruin Your Friends’ reading lists. Hurry up and read Dirty Angels and Dirty Deeds, because Dirty Promises will be here September 15th, and we’ve been promised the darkest romance yet. We can’t wait.
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