West Coast Mobsters: His Lethal Desire – Leighton Greene
There’s nothing more lethal than a hitman in love.
Johnny “Jack” Jacopo was once the Castellani Family’s top hitman, but one terrible mistake saw him kicked back down the ladder. So when the Boss orders him to look into the disappearance of a Hollywood starlet, Jack sees an opportunity to rise back up the Family ranks.
His first move is to question the missing actress’s twin brother. Miller Beaumont is charming, gorgeous, flirty…and he’s the same guy who was hitting on Jack in a bar the night before.
Jack tries to keep things strictly business, but Miller has access to inside information that Jack needs to solve the case. And it’s just too tempting when Miller proposes that they team up to find his sister.
As their search leads them into danger, Jack finds he has more to lose than he ever expected. Someone is coming after Miller, and Jack finds himself torn between duty to his Family and his own foolish heart.
Because despite himself, Jack is making one more mistake, the biggest of them all, the one dumb thing he swore he’d never do.
He’s falling in love.
His Lethal Desire is the first 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.
I picked this up only because I was intrigued by the 5th Book’s premise about a virgin butler framed for murder. And since I always have the compulsion to read a series in order, I have to start here.
His Lethal Desire, Book 1 of West Coast Mobsters, quickly made me realize it’s more than just a necessary hurdle. It has everything I love about mafia romance!
The thrill of flirting with danger, the possessive smoldering passion, the intriguing mix of dark and good wrapped in a gorgeous bad boy persona. And if we’re lucky, there’d be a lot of bi-lingual sweet nothings and cusses, too.
The story also has a bonus twist that caught my attention immediately. Johnny ‘Jack’ Jacopo, formerly top hitman for the Castellanis, was demoted to foot soldier and bar security. It’s rare for me to encounter a demoted mafioso, usually they don’t even get second chances when they fuck up.
The WCM series is a spin-off of the Morelli Family, and in the last book, a Vegas mob boss put a hit on Jack. Don Ciro Castellani offered protection, so Jack is stuck in LA.
Jack is in the unique position of being very good at what he used to do to just be thrown away. Also, he saved the Don’s son, Sandro’s life in a way that forced him to do something Sandro considers betrayal. The two used to be close friends, but Sandro has reserved the rights to kill Jack. He’s only alive because of the Don.
Now, the Don is giving him a chance for a re-promotion. He’s tasked to find a missing actress, Anais Beaumont, and he’s given a lead, the actress’s twin, Miller. The same person Jack’s been eyeing across the bar for weeks. The person who shamelessly flirted and kissed him the night before.
I’m not too familiar with the technicalities of a story, so I my reviews are just me squee-ing at stuff. But sometimes, I hear people say it’s a character-driven story. Not sure if this book is like that, but I could definitely say Jack is the main driving force for me here.
He’s your typical mafioso, a bit jaded and too used to violence. But he’s internal dialogues are compelling, showing his vulnerable side, his fears, and sometimes, when he dare hope, his plans to get away from LA.
And my favorite part about Jack is his loyalty. Even Ciro Castellani recognizes that Jack’s brand of loyalty is not something that could ever be bought by money. That’s why he wants him to guard Sandro, but sure as hell, the two will end up killing each other.
The best part is when that loyalty shifted to Miller.
We Jacopos only ever got one shot at love, my father had once told me. You won’t give a damn about anyone until suddenly you do, and that’ll be it. Forever. Even if they leave, even if they die. You’ll still love them, and you can try with someone else, even make it work for a while, but it won’t be the same.
One shot at love, Johnny. It’s just the way things are for us Jacopos.
Miller and his sister were child actors. But unlike his twin, who still a star, Miller is mostly forgotten, and he spends his time partying hard to fill the emptiness. He doesn’t do substance abuse, thankfully. Secretly, he’s a talented painter, but years of being belittled did a number on his confidence.
I didn’t warm up to Miller immediately, but the more I knew about him, the more I learn that he has a big heart. He puts the people he loves first, and it is unfortunate that those people are narcissists. Miller doesn’t deserved how his family treated him.
From their meet-cute at the bar to the very last page, Jack and Miller’s chemistry is DELICIOUS! Their romance developed organically, not too insta and not too slow-burn. And it’s just FANTASTIC all the way through! Jack’s world is Miller, and our boy Miller, with his selfless heart, deserves all the love in the world.
Aside from the romance, the rest of the book was a solid read. The mystery was fascinating. There were a lot of clues and personalities involved, and I didn’t put it together until the part Miller saw the USB.
The action and suspense were engaging, and I loved how the resolution left room for more Jack and Miller in the succeeding book. The only thing I didn’t like was how the thing with Annie was left open.
There were plenty of secondary characters whom I’m super excited to read about, like Sandro and Teddy, Sandro’s half-brother and resident psycho Julian, as well as Miller’s friend Nate and Jack’s friend Freddy.
And I really appreciated Leighton Greene‘s writing style. Aside from her well-executed storytelling, she writes in short paragraphs. I hope other writers would keep this in mind because most people read ebooks nowadays. Short paragraphs are easy on weak eyes if you’re reading from a screen.
His Lethal Desire is a story of dysfunctional families, shifting loyalties and plans gone awry, where a demoted hitman falls in love with a washed up Hollywood star, and the powers that be lay claim to their bodies, their souls, and their lives.
Overall, squee-tastic like butterflies in the stomach, lethal like arrow straight to the heart.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
I wanted this so badly in audiobook. This deserves a Michael Ferraiuolo performance!
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