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REVIEW: Take Me Apart by Brea Alepou & Skyler Snow

Vitale Brothers: Take Me Apart – Brea Alepou & Skylar Snow

I have only one goal in life: Become a detective. It’s there, just out of reach, so close I can taste it. When I find out the Vitale family is about to be investigated again, I do what I do best.

Jump in head first.

There’s just one problem; Enzo Vitale. The man is red hot danger, every word a dare from his lips. And I never was one to turn away from a challenge…

But when things get rough, lies reign and deceit is around every corner. I find myself drawn to the one man I should be running from. The criminal whose hands are bathed in blood.

Am I falling for the enemy?

Take Me Apart is a siren song of dark, delicious things, and I’m here for it!

This is the opener for Vitale Brothers, a mafia romance series by Brea Alepou and Skyler Snow. I’ve known Brea Alepou for her poly romances, and this is my first Skyler Snow. They immediately got me hooked on the series.

The premise is similar to my last weeks’ read, Pretty Policeman. Here we have another cop falling for a mafioso in a forbidden love that might just destroy them both. Rookie cop Tex Castor, desperate to become a detective, took it upon himself to investigate the Vitale Family as the short cut to his dreams.

While in a club owned by the mob, Enzo Vitale took one look at Tex, knew he was a cop, but latched on to him anyway. Enzo didn’t tell Tex he knew, and launched into a single minded pursuit of the man. This despite a previous fatally disastrous affair with a guy eerily similar to Tex.

Early on, it’s apparent that Enzo is neurodivergent. It’s never explicitly mentioned, but there were lots of hints, such as his tendency to dissociate or hyper-fixate, as well as his inability to process emotions.

Enzo is described as a non-threatening looking guy with eye glasses and lean build who loves reading, doing projects, and most of all, cleaning. In my head, I pictured him looking like a university professor. He could have been had he not been born a Vitale. Being the younger Vitale and exceptionally adept at torture, he the enforcer and interrogator of the family. This is a neat freak who likes blood and gore.

Tex isn’t TSTL, just a cop with poor impulse control and a reformed drug addict dangerously close to slipping. Torn between his dream of becoming a detective and his growing feelings for the mafioso, Tex is a hot mess with nowhere to go but run, the dork!

Admittedly, the first few chapters were not as riveting as I hoped. Only the enticing performance of Declan Winters kept me going. He’s one of those gifted narrators who could read a grocery list, and I’ll be listening. I highly recommend audiobooking this. He’s the same guy who brought C.S. Poe‘s Magic & Steam series to life.

Things picked up a third way in. Enzo got his claws out and firmly sank them into Tex. I loved his voice!, The narrator gave him this calm, emotionless voice that gets growly when he’s being extra emotional. No wonder Tex can’t keep away!

Enzo is everything here! Dominant, possessive and obsessive, he’s a psychopath, confident in himself and his abilities. He knows what he wants and has no qualms handcuffing the object of his desire to keep it there. The fluffy parts come when he shows his soft side because he’s crazy in love with Tex and would do anything to make him happy.

Meanwhile, Tex needs to make up his mind because he can’t play both sides. I wasn’t impress with our boy stringing Enzo along. I liked him better after he made up his mind. Also, his cat Penelope is a star.

I can’t say the pace is fast, but after moving past the opening chapters, the plot moved in a steady, engaging manner. The authors kept the tension tight and intense most parts of the story. The dysfunctional romance was both frustrating and compelling, cute at certain moments but mostly as deliciously dark as promised.

“From now on, I’m the only one allowed to hurt you or make you cry. Every inch of you belongs to me.” I bit his lip. “Even your life.”

Tex groaned. “Yeah. Where do I sign, Satan?”

The rest of the story gives us violence, graphic torture, domestic abuse, childhood trauma, and betrayal. It’s not pitch black, just dark grey, but reader discretion is advised. The vibe of Vitale Brothers reminded me of my favorite Criminal Delights books. If you like that series, the Vitales will do it for you.

I don’t have a favorite Vitale yet. Each brother is pretty memorable. While Enzo is usually preternaturally calm and expressionless, Giancarlo, a.k.a. Gin, wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s the easy going playboy who goes beast mode on a hair trigger. Benito is the oldest and the deadliest, and I’m so excited for his book. He’s forced to marry a yakuza boss’s son! What a merger!

Take Me Apart is about a cop following his dream and stumbles into a seductive nightmare he’s helpless to resist. Gritty, violent, wild and all the raw intensity of a monster growling, “MINE!

4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

Soundtrack: Pieces
Artist: Andrew Belle
Album: Black Bear

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TAKE ME APARTKindle | Audiobook

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