by Kresley Cole
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Book #1 in the The Game Maker series
Number of Pages: 401
Ages 18 and up
CW: kidnapping, murder, dub con, intense sexual situations, child abuse
He makes the rules…
Mafiya enforcer Aleksei “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.
Rules are made to be broken…
Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.
Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true…
I knew this story would be intense. I knew to expect a whole lot of heat and extreme sexual situations. This book has all of what I was expecting, but the strength of the emotions was a bit unexpected for me. Natalie and Sevastyan couldn’t stay away from each other if they tried. On all levels, these two are connected.
While there is plenty of angst and emotion, there is also humor sprinkled throughout. This is a dark story, so it helped to have a reprieve from that darkness once in a while. Because Natalie is adopted and had been searching for her birth parents, there is a vein of hope throughout the story when it comes to her and her birth father. There is also a hopefulness to the relationship between Natalie’s birth father and Sevastyan. It’s a very sweet and touching relationship.
It was refreshing to have Natalie admit that it’s not a great thing for a woman to try to fix a man when there are so many other men in the world that don’t need so much work. She has to decide if the relationship she envisions with him is worth the work she will need to put in. Sevastyan has to learn that to love someone is not to keep them in a cage. But how can he let go of the overwhelming need to protect what he loves? These two have a lot to work through.
I’m not much for mafia stories as a whole. I’ve read some I’ve really loved, but it’s not a sub-genre I’m generally drawn to. I dove into this story because it is the next in order of the Kresley Cole books being read and discussed on the first season of the podcast Fated Mates. I knew I’d be in good hands, and I was right. The author has a knack of getting her readers to care deeply for her characters, no matter how broken and scarred their souls are.