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    SERIES REVIEW: Boystown Books 1-3 by Marshall Thornton

    Boystown Books: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries – Marshall Thornton

    Finalist for the Lambda Award in Gay Mystery, Boystown: Three Nick Nowak Mysteries takes place in Chicago during the early 1980s. Haunted by his abrupt departure from the Chicago Police Department and the end of his relationship with librarian Daniel Laverty, Nick Nowak is a beat cop-turned-dogged private investigator. In this first book of the series, Nick works through three cases: a seemingly simple missing persons search, an arson investigation, and a suicide that turns out to be anything but. While working the cases, Nick moves through a series of casual relationships until he meets homicide detective Bert Harker and begins a tentative relationship.


    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Boys Town
    Artist: Babes
    Album: Leave Your Leather On


    Boystown Books: Three More Nick Nowak Mysteries – Marshall Thornton

    The Boystown Mystery series continues as Chicago private investigator Nick Nowak finds himself involved in three new cases. He’s asked to help a young man who murdered his stepfather but refuses to assist in his own defense, hired to find the murderer of a dead porno star, and, in a case that traps him between the two men he loves, must search for a serial killer’s only living victim. Set in the second half of 1981, Nick juggles his deepening relationship with Detective Bert Harker with the return of his ex, Daniel Laverty. Which man will he choose? Or will he be able to choose?


    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: OOO
    Artist: Karen O
    Album: Crush Songs


    Boystown Books: Two Nick Nowak Novellas – Marshall Thornton

    In the two novellas that make up the third book in the popular Boystown Mysteries private Investigator Nick Nowak works two challenging cases and grapples with an even more challenging personal life. In Little Boy Boom, Nick’s car explodes when a thief attempts to steal it. Realizing the bomb was meant for him, Nick sets out to discover who wants him dead only to find that the list of possible suspects is longer than he’d like. When he begins to run out of suspects he wonders if the bomb was truly meant for him. Little Boy Tenor finds Nick investigating the murderer of a church choir’s star tenor, while at the same time his friend Ross asks him to discover the truth behind his lover, Earl Silver’s mysterious death. As he juggles the two cases, he becomes increasingly disturbed by what he learns.


    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Slipping Away
    Artist: Moby
    Album: Hotel


    A bit strange to call a series set in a decade you lived through as historical, but I considered Boystown by award-winning author Marshall Thornton as such. My first series from the author, The Wyandot County Mysteries, was entertainingly bitchy, and another modern historical (if we can call it that) set in the 2000s.

    The usual Regencies and Victorians are not working for me as of late, so I’m hoping to dive into more books set in the mid-century and later eras.

    Boystown starts in 1980, with prequels set in 1979. It chronicles the life of ex-cop-turned-PI Nick Nowak. He’s 33 years old and in the prime of his life. He’s good at his job. His business is going well and he’s free of debts He lives in a garden apartment, a.k.a. basement apartment in downtown Chicago in the known queer neighborhood called Boystown. Every weekend, he works as a bouncer at a gay club owned by a friend.

    The storytelling is one of the best and a top favorite in my reading history. Nick has a very compelling voice and a charismatic character. The books are written like episodes in a TV series. Also, Marshall Thornton has always been fantastic at flavoring his stories with period-specific events, culture, technology, and so on. They have a palpable patina of time and they always feel authentic and lived-in. 

    Nick’s cases intertwine with his private life, and threads from the previous books are continued or mentioned in the succeeding. There are many recurring characters or references to past events that Nick would follow up on or would impact the current story. We see Nick’s everyday habits and work routine, plus the more action-packed moments.

    My favorite part is the cases. Almost all mystery series tend to default to murder as the crime, so I loved that Nick’s cases vary from background checks to missing persons to arson to car bombing, and sometimes protection for rock stars. I loved that they realistically portray the variety of work a PI handles.

    And Nick’s one hell of a PI! He doesn’t give up until he’s satisfied, not even if his client feels the matter is already settled. He’s got wily investigation skills and is not above lying, impersonating someone, seducing the gullible, or breaking inside an apartment to get answers.

    Nick knows he’s a looker and enjoys an active sex life. There is no shortage of people eager to throw themselves at him and Nick’s not inclined to say no. From informants he’s interviewing, to corporate lawyers, to friends with benefits, beat cops mistakenly apprehending him while undercover as a homeless man and even the very person he’s investigating, as well as orgies. A couple of times, he asked himself if he was giving off some kind of pheromones.

    Nick is also pining for his ex, Daniel Laverty. They had a bad breakup after a homophobic attack that left Daniel with a broken cheekbone. Daniel wanted to report what happened, but Nick, then a closeted cop, refused.

    Nick eventually develops a relationship with a closeted police detective, Bert Harker. Theirs is an open relationship, which means Nick still goes around fucking any willing body. Nick is also torn between Daniel, who recently reunited with him, and Bert, currently living with him. The series is not romance, and it didn’t make promises of a romance HEA, so the open relationships didn’t bother me.

    What bothered me was the APPALLING lack of protection in all the sex scenes. There’s also some scenes where the characters take drugs. It was a wild, hedonistic era and Nick is in the thick of it. In contrast, contemporary MM books make it a point to mention rubbers or an exchange of health status. 

    Knowing what we know now of the 80s and the AIDs epidemic, it is heartbreaking that some of the characters here were among the early victims, and Nick and his friends have no clue yet of what is happening. It’s going to hit very close to home. I almost don’t want to read the succeeding books because the impact is going to crush Nick. 

    As mentioned earlier, Boystown is written as a continuous chronicle of Nick Nowak’s life and should be read in order. I had grand plans of reviewing the entire series until I learned there are 13 books. It’s a lot for me, so I’ll probably do three books at a time.

    The first three books of Boystown opens a highly engrossing mystery series that captures a pivotal era through the eyes of a gay PI. Blending Chicago grit and 80s sex appeal with LGBTQ+ issues and noir mystery, these stories are authentic, steamy and as irresistable as Nick Nowak himself.


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    SERIES REVIEW: Necromancer Rising Books 1 & 2 by Richard Amos

    Necromancer Rising: Death Eternal – Richard Amos

    Death is supposed to be the end.
    Not in my world.

    The dead never move on, not since Death walked off the job and disappeared. As a necromancer, it’s my job to police the spirits while they remain stuck and, well, problematic a lot of the time.

    Death really needs to take his head out of his backside and get back to work, wherever he might be.

    After a horrible incident in the tunnels of the London Underground, my life takes a sharp turn. It’s all my fault and I’m sent off to a small town, a move to keep me out of sight and mind for the time being. Shamed, reputation dragged through the dirt.

    I’m not getting that promotion anytime soon.

    On my first day in the town, I get caught up in a strange murder case, and Death saves my life.
    Yes, the Death. The delectable, mysterious Death.

    Goodness, he is hotness personified. But what happened to make him walk away from his responsibilities? And why is he so deliciously tempting, my desire a raging inferno every time he looks at me with those incredible eyes?
    I shouldn’t be thinking of an immortal being like this, but with every passing hour I can’t stop myself from falling deeper into infatuation.

    I want him.

    Resistance is… impossible.

    Death Eternal is the first book in an M/M Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance series packed with mystery, danger, a knitting necromancer, a delectable immortal being, plenty of sizzle, and rather disgusting liquid mushrooms.


    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Cosmic
    Artist: Benjamin Carter
    Album: Self_Portrait: Vol. 1


    Necromancer Rising: Death Enraptured – Richard Amos

    Follow my heart and make a mess…
    That’s putting it mildly.

    My life has really taken a complicated turn here in Oakthorne. I keep hoping some fairy godmother will show up and offer me a nice bit of time reversal. Not too much, just enough to ease this pain.

    Yeah. Right.

    Anyway, as much as there’s hurt, there’s also Death. He is the complication, but a beautiful one I can’t resist when I really, really should. He consumes my every waking moment, submerges me in raging desire I never want to break free of.

    Damn.

    On top of that messiness, there’s a mystery to solve, a bad guy to defeat, and other new developments within myself to deal with.

    So much to do.
    So much danger to face.

    Where the hell is that fairy godmother?

    Death Enraptured is the second book in an M/M Paranormal Urban Fantasy Romance series packed with mystery, danger, a knitting necromancer, a delectable immortal being, plenty of sizzle, and rather disgusting liquid mushrooms.


    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Enter The Mirror
    Artist: Everything Everything
    Album: Mountainhead


    In the graphic novel Sandman, Lucifer quit his job and handed the keys to Hell to Morpheus. Then, he went on to have fun. The world went on spinning.

    Necromancer Rising, an urban fantasy by Richard Amos, sets a world where Death quit. Which begs the question, WHY?

    Death hanging up his scythe means ghosts. Lots and lots of ghosts and people acquiring necromantic powers to handle them.

    Necromancers are easily identified by their silver hair. They have five threads of magic that can be used to bind or release ghosts to sanctuaries, a place made specially for them since without Death, they cannot move on to the afterlife.

    Marcel August is a London-based necromancer suddenly transferred to Oakthorne after a mission gone awry that left his bestfriend, Jenn, severely injured. On his way to the town, he encountered a ghost that led him to the famous caves, where there were some trouble. He got injured and was rescued by a mysterious man.

    Later, Marcel met his new boss, the High Warden, a friendly man named Nicholas West and his taciturn husband, Leon. Nick was a stark contrast to the stone cold High Warden of London, Emma. Marcel has the worst luck in bosses as it later turned out.

    Marcel is tasked to look for a missing ghost. Then the mysterious man who rescued him turned up his door bearing gifts.

    This is where things get dicey and hell of a lot swoonier.

    The overarching plot is to stop the lich from taking over the world. As an urban fantasy, this is a twisty-turn-y, action-packed necromancer procedural, a.k.a. murder mystery, with plenty of magic spells thrown about. I loved how the events of Death Eternal and Death Enraptured go from grim to complete clusterfuck to freakin’ catastrophic. No rest for our weary boy, Marcel.

    Marcel goes from dreaming of a promotion to pretty much exiled to a small town to being lulled into a false sense of security to being lich fodder, only to evolved into something more. Add to that his forbidden romance with Death that has apocalyptic consequences, this series has all the mellow drama and the epic awesomeness!

    So, Death. Hmm, I don’t know. The immortal is conflicting mix of drool-worthy and cringe. That he’s gorgeous is pretty much a given. But the fashion sense, ew!

    The lich is right in criticizing his lame style. Tight leather pants, satin shirt open at the chest with multiple piercings? That screams sleazy rather than sizzling. I’d rather he go the John Wick route in tailored suits or a 70s punk in plaid bondage pants with distressed sweater.

    But as a love interest, the immortal is a master of seduction and muffins. Death could be a cheesy mofo but mostly, he says the most romantic things.

    At first doing the hot/cold dance, then later a steadier presence in Marcel’s life, Death fights a secret battle against the forces that kept him and Marcel apart. Been doing so for centuries, he and Marcel are cursed to repeat the cycle of love and destruction.

    In Death Eternal, it took a while for the book to get to the meat of things, taking its time to establish the world and have Marcel interact with the secondary characters. Death lacked depth as a character since he was presented as a mysterious entity.

    In Death Enraptured, the lovers work to circumvent the curse. They make questionable decisions, suffer betrayals, and just plain suffer. High Warden Emma is the worst character here, absolutely heartless.

    The books in the series end in cliffhangers so they must be read in order.

    Necromancer Rising is an entertaining series I’ll be reading till the end. The romance is one for the ages, heartbreaking but so fun to root for. The characters are a mix of intriguing and abysmal. The fight scenes pulled no punches. Overall, a bit all over the place, but worth hanging up the death scythe.


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    REVIEW: His Guilty Pleasure by Leighton Greene

    West Coast Mobster: His Guilty Pleasure – Leighton Greene

    When Redwood Manor’s butler Darian is accused of murder during a high-stakes Mafia parley, he has to rely on the infuriatingly attractive Raffi DeLuca to prove his innocence—before one of the mobsters decides to take justice into their own hands.

    Darian Thornfield-Hayes has always been content to fade into the background while he conducts his work with precision and perfection. But when murder threatens the fragile peace between rival Mafia factions staying at the Manor, he finds himself in the spotlight in the worst possible way.

    Raffi DeLuca, acting head of security—and the flirtatious thorn in Darian’s side—jumps in to give him an alibi, claiming they spent the night together. But in doing so, Raffi finds himself compromising his honor and his vows to the Don.

    When Darian and Raffi are forced to share a room to keep up the charade, the attraction simmering between them flares to life. Raffi sees past Darian’s defenses to the real man underneath, awakening desires the untouched Darian never dared admit to before.

    But Darian hasn’t been telling the whole truth…

    Torn between his heart and his duty, Raffi must decide how far he’s willing to go to protect Darian.

    Will their guilty pleasure be the key to solving the murders, or will secrets tear them apart?

    ***

    His Guilty Pleasure is the fifth book in the West Coast Mobsters series. Follow the men of the Los Angeles underworld in this page-turning romantic suspense series as they find love, danger and mystery in the most unexpected places.

    Each book in West Coast Mobsters tells the love story of a different couple who find their happy ending, as well as a resolution to the mystery they’re investigating, but there are cliffhangers to the wider suspense plot for the series.


    From the super-loyal Alfred Pennyworth to the devilish Sebastian Michaelis, butlers are fascinating, pivotal figures who perform miracles while being as unobtrusive as possible. However, the personal lives of butlers are a subject that doesn’t get talked about often, so when I learned about this book, I had to grab it.

    His Guilty Pleasure is the 5th book of West Coast Mobsters and the very reason why I started this series. Darian Thornfield-Hayes, Redwood Manor’s new butler, and Raffi DeLuca, acting head of security while Max Predetti is away, are in charge of making sure the parley between opposing Bernardi factions goes smoothly.

    Somebody threw a wrench into the works by murdering the mediator of the parley, a retired mobster last seen arguing with Darian. As the number one suspect, the young butler has to prove his innocence not only to the Castellanis but to the rest of the people involved in the parley.

    Darian’s and Raffi’s views from ‘below stairs’ gives us well-rounded look at the power players of the West Coast after seeing it through the Castellani leadership’s POVs from the previous books. The ‘dynamic duo’ juggled regular work, investigation of the murder, and their passionate, if complicated, romance while putting out fires and trying to keep everyone alive in a house full of killers.

    As subordinate members of the Castellani Family, Darian and Raffi felt very much like secondary characters in their own book despite it told in their dual 1st person POVs. It is fitting in a way because they are working in the background, supporting the Castellani bosses, performing minor miracles to satisfy the difficult and deadly guests of the Manor.

    As a peek into the private life of Darian, it almost didn’t feel like he had one because, no surprise, the butler has little personal time. How he seemed to be present everywhere at the same time is a mystery, but the man is a consummate in the art of hospitality.

    The most personal he got was finally acting on his attraction to white knight Raffi after a nudge or two by the matchmaking Julian. It was a hot/cold romance I’m neutral about because I am more invested in the murder mystery and the disaster of a parley.

    It is obvious from the get go that this is Julian Castellani’s show. He was hellbent on hiring Darian, even going so far as using Raffi when Darian first turned him down, knowing Darian would have a reaction to the security specialist. From then on, his “favorite butler boy” was guaranteed his protection because, it turned out, our lovable Castellani psycho collects and protects his toys, a.k.a. people he’s fond of. And never lets them go.

    Julian is also a genius schemer, a shadow ninja, and a creative killer who lends a helping hand to key players when needed, lays clues here and there, and makes bold moves lesser men won’t dare make. All for the Family and revenge.

    My favorite part, however, is Alessandro. The man is now a stronger, wiser Don Castellani. So wise, in fact, that he mastered the art of plausible deniability and weaponized it. It was a damn clever move and so low-key, yet it made the Castellanis more powerful than before!

    The only thing missing is Teddy. Our boy only has a cameo so I need another Sandro/Teddy book, pleeeease!

    His Guilty Pleasure satisfied my curiosity about butlers and while the romance was lukewarm, the mafia politics was a powder keg about to explode. It’s one heck of a gripping twisty-turn-y story, stealthy in its attack, gleeful in its revenge, and pleasurable in its unfolding.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Pleasure
    Artist: Feist
    Album: Pleasure

    West Coast Mobsters has an ongoing suspense plot that runs through the all the installments so they should be read in order.

    Johnny Jacopo lost a hat and gained a boyfriend in His Lethal Desire.

    Alessandro Castellani looked for justice and found a teddy bear in His Brutal Heart .

    Julian Castellani went on the prowl and tamed a lion in His Fatal Love.

    Max Predretti uncovered a traitor and discovered a mafia prince in His Sinful Need.


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    REVIEW: His Sinful Need by Leighton Greene

    West Coast Mobsters: His Sinful Need by Leighton Greene

    Two men. Two Families. Too many secrets.When Castellani security specialist Max Pedretti is reluctantly loaned out to the Esposito Family, he’s thrust into close quarters with their youngest Capo, Bricker Soldano. The magnetic pull between them is undeniable, but Bricker is strictly off-limits, for multiple reasons.

    For one thing, he’s an Esposito.

    For another, he’s half Max’s age.

    But most of all, because Max shares a hidden criminal history with Bricker’s father—a secret that could shatter the tentative trust building between them.

    So Max vows to focus on the job instead, and finds his old skills as a bank robber are put to the test as he works with Bricker and his crew on a heist that could change the power dynamics in Los Angeles.

    But when a tragedy reveals a mole in their midst, Max and Bricker must investigate together to uncover the truth, blurring the lines of loyalty and desire.

    Can Max and Bricker uncover the traitor and find their way to love, or will past sins cost them everything?

    ***

    Each book in this series tells the love story of a different couple who find their happy ending, as well as a resolution to the mystery they’re investigating, but there are cliffhangers to the wider suspense plot for the series.


    Massimo Pedretti is a man who smells like aftershave and gunpowder. A good smell for a security specialist, according to the sharp-nosed Julian Castellani in Book 3, His Fatal Love. Next to his underboss, Jack Jacopo (His Lethal Desire), and his brother Julian, Max is the other person Don Alessandro Castellani (His Brutal Heart) depends on the most.

    His Sinful Need is Book 4 of West Coast Mobsters. Each  book features a West Coast Family, from the Castellanis, Bernardis, and now, the Espositos. This Family is unique in that they accept women in their ranks, and they rarely interact with other Families. 

    The head of the Espositos is the formidable Maestra Anna-Vittoria Esposito. She specifically requested Max to work with them, cashing in the favor Alessandro owed her. He is to join the team headed by Bricker Soldano, a young capo almost half his age.

    Half of Bricker’s team is experienced, and the other half green-as-grass rookies who can barely shoot. They are preparing for a bank heist, but most of their practice runs end in disasters, so Bricker was forced to admit there is a mole in their ranks. And whether he admit or not, he could use the help of a veteran in the field like Max. But can the Castellani be trusted?

    I’m not sure whether it is because I skipped the sex scenes since I am not a fan of age gap romance, but Max and Bricker’s book felt different than the rest of the books. Not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just there are less sex-related thoughts than the rest.

    Max’s internal dialogues are more about the missions and the angst over secrets from the past that might come back to bite him in the ass. There’s some worrying over his attraction, the age gap and Bricker’s connection to a ghost from the past.

    I loved Max! He oozes calm, confidence and dependability that jump off the page. This is also why his book feels less hectic and less violent than the rest. It’s like you know things will be okay because Max.

    With twenty-odd years in Castellani service, he is fiercely loyal and well-liked in the Family. It may have been a surprise that he was chosen, but still fitting because no one else would be a better envoy to the Esposito Family than Max.

    Bricker’s lusting after the older man, but it’s mixed with suspicions and worry over who to trust. As the youngest Esposito capo, he’s eager to prove himself and his team.

    I’m neutral about Bricker. There’s a lot of hot/cold treatment from him, but he’s a good leader who cares for his team like a family. I loved that he doesn’t do shortcuts when preparing his team for their missions, ensuring not just success but everyone’s safety as well.

    The plot weaves an age gap romance, trust issues, mafia politics, action, and several major and minor mysteries, some nothing more than a casual mention that you know will be pick up again in the future. The mole was easy to guess, and the romance wasn’t doing it for me, but I still loved this book.

    My favorite is the revelations regarding the Espositos, proving that the enigmatic Anna-Vittoria has a heart underneath the iron will. I loved how the WCM and Morelli Family world expanded, satisfying my curiosity that was piqued since mentions of how aloof, unique and mysterious the Espositos are from the previous books.

    Every Castellani cameo gave me life. Our boy Jack, always gregarious but deadly. Julian was particularly significant as the man is the dreaded bogeyman of the West Coast. I enjoyed seeing Sandro as the mighty Don Castellani from another person’s POV. I need another Sandro and Teddy book!!!

    HIs Sinful Need didn’t have the sizzling chemistry like the other WCM books, but it’s still a solid installment. The thrill is in the revelations of family dynamics, the twisty turn-y mafia politics, and the interactions of well-loved characters who rule the West Coast. All in all, steadily gripping, wholly likable, not that sinful, totally necessary.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Trust
    Artist: Half-Alive
    Album: Now, Not Yet

    P.S.

    West Coast Mobsters should be read in order. Last time, I realized the WCM books are retellings.

    His Lethal Desire is Cinderfella falling in love with a hitman. His Brutal Heart is Beauty and the Beast with a cyber twist. And His Fatal Love is Romeo and Julian, BDSM style.

    I can’t still figure out which retelling His Sinful Need is. Let me know if you know.


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    REVIEW: His Fatal Love by Leighton Greene

    West Coast Mobsters: His Fatal Love – Leighton Greene

    Easily bored, completely manipulative, and utterly deadly…and that’s just in bed.

    As an assassin for the Castellani Family, I live for the thrill of the job.
    I’m devoted to my Family and my Don, because they keep me safe.

    To Leo Bernardi, I’m a monster.
    A killing machine.
    And a puppet that his Family can use for their own ends.

    To me, Leo is just a pawn in a game that I’m playing.
    A means to an end.
    And if I have a little fun with him along the way, who cares?

    Leo thinks he can seduce me. Tame me. Use me.
    In this game of cat and mouse, the Bernardi Lion is about to get a big surprise.

    But the more entangled we become, the more I start to feel…

    Things I didn’t think I was capable of feeling.

    Things I’ve never wanted to feel.

    In my line of work, love is a fatal flaw. But the more time we spend together, the harder I fall.

    Leo Bernardi is my greatest enemy…
    Could he also be my greatest love?

    **

    Dive into a forbidden romance between a psychopath assassin and a Mob Enforcer. Get ready for seductions and betrayals, scorching love scenes, and an unforgettable romance as a cold case comes back to haunt two Families sworn to destroy each other.


    If you have read the Morelli Family series, Julian Castellani most likely made himself memorable with his specially made intimate jewelry, attempting to seduce a well-placed Morelli. Unlike Alessandro, who prefers a low-key profile, this Castellani brother embraces the limelight and his notoriety.

    His Fatal Love is Julian investigating the murder of his beloved mother he witnessed when he was five years old. A lil mystery that I didn’t realize until the big twist was revealed was why Julian was questioning the identity of the killer despite seeing the crime happening right before his eyes.

    Julian has been called many names, psychopath being one. To which he is quick to reply, “undiagnosed“. An expert assassin on par with Jack, Julian is practically a ninja the way he can go in and out any tightly guarded place. He either feels nothing or feels too much, no in-betweens.

    Two complicated relationships are with Alessandro and Jack.

    Alessandro and Julian have always been antagonistic. There were even moments I felt Julian was going to kill his brother. Book 2, His Brutal Heart, put that to rest, and happily, Alessandro and Julian have somehow come to a truce, and along with Jack coming back to the fold, it makes for a stronger Castellani Family.

    I think Julian has a teeny-tiny bit of brother complex. Alessandro has a thing for blonds, and light-haired Julian always tries to provoke his brother by mentioning this in his on-going game of notice me, onii-chan.

    Also, the way he describes Alessandro by smell that was somewhat too intimate for brothers, even half-brothers. Turns out, he catalogues everyone’s smell. There’s a reason for this and I loved the stealthy way the story connected it to everything that’s happening.

    Trust is one of the major themes, and Julian is known to be spectacularly untrustworthy. Jack, the top Castellani assassin from His Lethal Desire, wouldn’t let his boyfriend, Miller, anywhere near the younger Castellani.

    When Jack tried to explain what trust is and why he doesn’t trust him, Julian struggled to understand the concept. This psychopath assassin is somebody who will kiss you passionately then, quick as a snap, give you a Sparta kick down an oubliette. 

    As Leo Bernardi discovered.

    Leo is the second son of Don Bernardi and works as the Enforcer. He struggling to gain his father’s respect, which was doubly hard since his father is homophobic. The connection between the Bernardi Lion and Julian is a convoluted scheme cooked up by the don that makes use of the fact that Leo is gay and has to seduce the younger Castellani to the Bernardi side.

    The plot was a thrilling game of seduction, secret identities, double agents, hard bargains and rough sex. It was gripping and twisty turn-y, weaving Julian’s investigation and mafia politics with his character development, relationship with Alessandro, growing feelings between him and Leo, and a surprising secret vulnerability that explains many quirks.

    Leo might be less flashier than Julian, but the Bernardi Lion has a dominant presence, similar ruthlessness, and indomitable will to finish a mission. Used to being the brawn, he’s a lot smarter than he gives himself credit for.

    Leo is loyal to a fault but has no qualms withdrawing that loyalty when a person is no longer worthy of such gift. So when his loyalties shifted to Julian who earned it the hard way, it stayed with him for good.

    I couldn’t imagine before who Leighton Greene would pair Julian with. But now that I’ve meet him, Leo Bernardi is the perfect match. He softens Julian’s rougher edges without stifling the feral wildness that makes Julian who he is.

    We may have come from different worlds, but we fit together perfectly. We have our own secret language—a language of revenge, of love, of passion and violence.

    My favorite parts were the scenes where Julian was confused why his chest feels tight or almost painful. He was so endearingly bewildered, not realizing he was feeling emotions he never felt before. Feelings like concern, fear, happiness, and love. All because of Leo.

    His Fatal Love is a fascinating tale of vendetta, blood ties and Family vows. It is one man’s heart-opening journey and a second son coming into his own. All in all, intensely feral, wildly passionate and fatally emotional!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Love and War
    Artist: Fleurie
    Album: Love and War

    P.S.

    West Coast Mobsters should be read in order. They’re delicious mafia romances with a fairy tale flavor.

    Witness a Cinderfella hitman style in His Lethal Desire and a darker take on Beauty and the Beast in His Brutal Heart.


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