A Love of Vengeance (Wanted Men #1) by Nancy Haviland
Intense sparks fly between the two, tempting Gabriel to mix business with pleasure while in the Emerald City. But once word gets around that Gabriel has shown up in New York, Stefano—his vengeful brother and the de facto head of the family—decides that Eva is the key to ending the feud between them…permanently.
In this pulse-pounding romantic thriller set against the backdrop of New York City’s storied underworld, loyalties will be tested, secrets will be told, and mob justice will be served.
Always a fan of mafia romance stories, I was anxious to get my hands on Gabriel and Eva’s story! He’s your typical alpha male grown and bred to be the head of his family’s organization, but wanting to separate himself from his father—he’s strong, smart, cunning, and of course, smokin’ hot. So when the man he has the utmost respect for, Russian mafia boss Vasily Tarasov, calls in a favor, Gabriel doesn’t bat an eye. That is, until he sees the woman Vasily has charged him with protecting, which is Vasily's gorgeous estranged daughter. Having just lost her mother, convinced that her father was a pitiful deadbeat who up and left them when she was just a girl, Eva was in for a rude awakening when her life collided with the dangers and cruelty that follows in the criminal world.
Gabriel was the quintessential mafia son, and his tough guy side was as sexy as his sweet side was smooth. Admittedly, his insta-lust for Eva from the moment he saw the photo Vasily showed him was a little much, but I loved how devoted he was to her right off the bat. Eva had no idea what was closing in on her, from the truth behind her loving father who willingly left to keep her safe, to the multiple enemies who were poised to use her to inflict pain on others. It was definitely a thrilling plot, with multiple POVs putting the reader in the presence of some pretty sick and twisted characters. Though a lot of the twists bordered on predictable, there were some unexpected layers unearthed to some of the supporting cast that kept things interesting. The action and suspense often overshadowed the romance, but I actually liked that this wasn’t just Gabriel and Eva going at it every chapter.
A Love of Vengeance does fall prey to the old “every character is model beautiful” storyline (and the virgin heroine…just sayin’), which always takes away from the realism for me. No, it’s not meant to be your everyday romance story, but I need some flaws here, people!! There were also areas where we got a lot of the inner thoughts instead of actual dialogue between characters, so I did feel like the story was being told instead of shown at times. I still really enjoyed it, though, and of course with a character like Gabriel there was plenty of hot and steamy going on! Bottom line, would I recommend it? Yep, and for a first book in the series I’m looking forward to seeing what’s up next for these Wanted Men!
Quan shrugged. “That bruise on her face from a fist?” Gabriel worked his jaw. “I won’t know until she tells me. But if it is, someone’s going to wish their old man had pulled out.” ~Loc 2611
“Caleb knows people who would have helped me if that guy had come back,” she said, distracted, as though she was saying one thing but thinking about something else. Envy sheared through muscle and bone. I know people! He wanted to roar. I am those people! ~Loc 2781
“Morning, sweetheart.” Oh, that voice, deep and rumbling. “Did you sleep well?” His gaze was so heated she was surprised her treacherous body didn’t melt into a puddle of stupidity. ~Loc 3257
Nancy Haviland is a typical Canadian who apologizes too much while obsessing over her Tim Hortons coffee. She writes contemporary romantic suspense but will happily read anything that involves two people smooching, preferably as she sits on a dock next to a lake with a thermos of coffee at her elbow and the sun overhead.
A member of Romance Writers of America and Canadian Authors Association, her Wanted Men Novels are her first published series with Montlake Romance/Amazon Publishing. She is represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates.
Nancy is a single mother of three and a college graduate who worked as an administrative assistant in the commercial mortgage field, and then had the pleasure of being a stay-at-home mom, before becoming a full-time author. She resides near Toronto, Ontario with her children and an arrogant kitty named Talbot.