A Love Of Vengeance by Nancy Haviland (Wanted Men #1)

A Love of Vengeance by Nancy HavilandAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Montlake

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Nikki

Once the most feared member of an Italian Mafia crime family, Gabriel Moretti returns to New York at the request of his mentor, Russian crime boss Vasily Tarasov. Vasily needs someone he can trust in Seattle to protect his estranged daughter, Eva Jacobs, while he avenges the murder of the young woman’s mother. Gabriel is unstoppable in a fight, whether he’s using fists, blades, or bullets; but innocent, onyx-haired Eva may just be the most dangerous—and beautiful—thing he’s come up against.

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.

After finishing this book in one sitting, yes I sat on my ass for HOURS to finish it, I must say that overall I was very impressed with the debut book by Haviland and her introduction to the mafia world.

Twenty-four year old Eva has just become an orphan with the untimely death of her mother. Finishing up her college experience for no other reason than to make her late mother proud, Eva graduates and immediately accepts a position in a large corporation even though the job isn’t really up to the standards of her MBA credentials. Coupled with the man she just met who turns her on like no other man ever has, Eva is hoping this fresh start will be exactly what she needs. A string of close calls has her diving into her mystery mans arms, and surprising herself with how much it feels like it’s the only place she’s ever meant to be.

Leaving his life as an up and coming mafia Don years before, Gabriel has stayed out of the family business in nearly all ways. When he’s asked by a highly influential man, and friend to watch over the daughter no one ever knew he had, Gabriel is pulled back into the dark world. Eva’s beauty astounds him and her fiery nature screams of a family lineage she didn’t even know she had. But the woman has a target painted on her back and several big players are coming for her. Including Gabriel’s own brother Stefano who has had a thirst for blood since Gabriel’s hand in his girlfriends death. Protecting her with his life started out as a job but has quickly become more important that his next breath. Which he’ll gladly give if someone tries to take the woman he now considers his.

As a debut book and the first in a series, there were definite things that worked with A Love of Vengeance and a few things that fell flat. There is a ton of back ground and set up which I think weighed down the story just a bit. This is a very complex story line and there are a TON of characters, which at times can be daunting to remember them all. It would benefit to have a glossary of characters in the front or back to help readers keep everyone straight. POV switches a lot, which is nice because I like to get information from both the hero and the heroine…..but, it also switches into POV of another character only for the end result of setting up the next book. It pulled me out of the story that should have focused solely on Gabriel and Eva.

I love love love that the series is about the mafia! It takes the ‘band of brothers” trope to a level I’ve not read before and gives the men a certain air of fearlessness about them. They aren’t good guys or bad guys, only existing in the gray areas in between. Fiercely loyal and yet able to justify a means to an end. They have no problem taking anyone out who dare hurts someone they love and they have no sympathy for anyone who hurts women or children. Their code of ethics is unrivaled, even if most people don’t understand their laws.

Eva is unlike the women Gabriel has had in the past. They have an instant connection that he can’t explain. She also spends a large amount of time pissing him off. She does some stupid things, even for someone not acquainted with the mafia lifestyle but at 24 yrs old, she’s young enough for me to forgive her I guess. I enjoyed their back and forth banter and the constant strain to control himself when Gabriel would get fed up with her or end up feeling emotions he was unaccustomed to. Eva does a good job of holding her own in the face of some serious revelations and it didn’t feel like the author made light of her situation. Though I will admit that a 24 yr old woman calling a man she’d believed had abandoned her as a baby “daddy” was a bit to sugary sweet for me. Gabriel’s growth as a character was spot on as he dealt with guilt over becoming involved with the daughter of someone he highly respects and drawing her further into a world she didn’t understand. His full circle return to something he had run from years before made sense since he now had something he was willing to protect by any means necessary.

Haviland does a good job of getting the story across but she tends to be a bit long winded, and at times repetitive. She mentioned Ava’s black hair a bunch of  different ways throughout the book….midnight hair, onyx hair, jet hair, darkest of waves, obsidian waterfall, shiny oil slick… We get it. Her hair is black. Let’s move on.

The suspense was well done and built appropriately as the book progressed along with the sexual tension. Sure it was a bit predictable, esp since readers found out early on the true story of the mix up between Stefano and Gabriel, but I still found myself eagerly reading along and waiting to find out who was really behind some of the bodies left in Gabriel’s past.

I will be anticipating book two, due in March 2015. As the series progresses and Haviland settles into the writing I have no doubt that the things I found fault with in the debut will be ironed out as she becomes more seasoned.

Best line from the book:

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.”

I give A Love of Vengeance by Nancy Haviland 4 stars! 


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