Doing it at: 68%
Catnip: Mexican Drug Cartels, Dark Romance, Dangerous Criminal Villain, He’s Basically A Criminal, Revenge, Hate To Love You, Stockholm Syndrome, Virgin
Shame Scale: I don’t even know why we’re still rating this. We’re hardly ashamed of anything anymore. No shame, even though the hero is a savage who literally enjoys sawing off people’s body parts.
What Do We Taste Like?: Seductive, more delicious than milk and honey. “I should drink you with my tea in the mornings.”
Fantasy Cast: Gael Garcia Bernal, A young Penelope Cruz
For Luisa Chavez, a twenty-three year old former beauty queen, a better life has always been just out of her reach. Sure, she’s had men at her feet since she was a young teenager but she’s never had the one thing she’s craved – security. Having grown up in near poverty, her waitressing job in Cabo San Lucas can barely let her take care of herself, let alone her ailing parents. Every day is another unwanted advance, every day is a struggle to survive.
When Salvador Reyes, the depraved leader of a major Mexican cartel, takes an interest in her, Luisa is presented with an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up. She’ll become Salvador’s wife and exchange her freedom and body for a life of riches – riches she can bestow upon her deserving parents. But Luisa quickly finds out that even the finest wines and jewels can’t undo the ugliness in her marriage, nor the never-ending violence that threatens her every move.
Soon, Luisa is looking for an escape, a way out of the carefully controlled life she’s leading. She finally gets her wish in the worst way possible.
As it is, being the wife of Salvador makes her an ideal target for rival cartels and there’s one particular man who needs Luisa as part of his cartel’s expansion. One particular man whose quest for power has destroyed lives, slit throats and gotten him out of an American prison. One particular man who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.
That man is Javier Bernal. And he wants Luisa. He wants to take her, keep her, ruin her.
Unless she ruins him first.
Some men were born to create empires, some women were meant to be queen.
Mary: This book was so much fun, you guys. It’s a dark romance, but it’s also really light, if that makes any sense? The hero is a ruthless savage who kidnaps the heroine and literally carves his name in her back, but it was also incredibly funny and sexy. And not in a torture pain sexy way, but in a legit that sex sounds real fun way.
M: We met Javier in The Artist Trilogy, and admittedly, Cleone and I were both strongly #Team Cam, but with sympathy for Javier – so I was looking forward to him getting his HEA.
C: Javier is a real bad man, he’s not like villain-lite or a guy who just made some bad choices, he’s damaged and dangerous. He’s everything Dylan McKay claims to be when he says he’s mad, bad, and dangerous to know.
M: This book picks up several years after we last saw Javier. He’s back in Mexico, and is now the leader of a medium sized drug cartel.
C: He has money and power, but not as much as he would like, Javier is looking to move up the ranks and control more of Mexico’s drug trade. Reading these books is making Mexico sound like a really scary place, googling cartel+violence is making it seem even scarier. You might want to safe-search your images if you decide to do that, I don’t know your level of comfort for pictures of corpses on pastoral roadsides.
M: Luisa Chavez is a ex-beauty queen, struggling to make ends meet while taking care of her parents. (Note – googling “Mexican beauty queen” is also a terribly depressing search) One day, Salvador Reyes, the leader of Mexico’s largest and most powerful drug cartel, walks into the bar where she works, asks her some really intrusive questions, and just generally scares the crap out of her.
When he asks her to marry him, she says yes, because it would allow her to give her parents a better life. And also because she’s no dummy. She knows that if she says no he’ll kill her.