Everyone has one.
Some are close.
Some are dysfunctional.
Some are simply gone.
Nine-year-old Shae Black entered the Witness Protection Program after the murder of her father, mob boss Luca DiMarco. New name. New identity. And a ready-made family that had no idea who she really was.
Fourteen years later, a letter from a ghost thrusts Shae back into the life she was forced to leave behind. As secrets unravel, revealing unexpected truths, Shae sees an opportunity to avenge her father’s death by destroying patriarch Sal Ambrosi, the man responsible for her father’s murder. Getting to the heart of the family will be difficult, but nothing and no one is going to stop her—not even the heirs to the Ambrosi family empire.
She’s prepared for the two brothers, Dante and Rex, to put up a fight, but she isn’t at all prepared for the danger they will bring to her life and her heart.
One will love her.
One will hate her.
One will vow to protect her.
One will vow to kill her.
All in the name of family.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. At one point, I was sure I had only read about 10% farther than the last time I’d checked when, in reality, I’d read another 30%. That, my friends, is a sure sign of an engrossing story.
KL Grayson didn’t pull any punches with Black. It was gritty and intense, included a touch of the taboo, and was altogether wonderful. It was also nothing I expected from KL Grayson. Her other books tended more toward the softer, sweeter side of romance, while this one toed the darker side. I loved it. From the very start of the book, I knew I was going to be in for quite a ride and I was not wrong.
It’s difficult to surprise me, so I was able to guess the direction the story was going, but it did not take away from the story at all. All of the secrets and lies and cover-ups made this story so much fun to read. I’m a sucker for a good romantic suspense and Black fit that bill well. I hope that KL Grayson continues to write books within this genre, as her signature sweet romance gave a lovely nuance to a genre that can sometimes venture into the unbelievable.
I particularly loved the characters in this book. Each of them was developed enough to feel complete, but there is still enough to learn about all of them, including Rex and Shae, the main characters, to leave plenty of things to learn throughout the rest of the series. I found myself especially curious about Shae’s roommates and hope to eventually learn more about who they are in addition to the character whose book was teased at the end of Black.
After devouring all of KL Grayson’s published works some months ago I found myself anticipating each of her releases since with great longing. Her works always find a way to tug at my heartstrings and it was no different with Black. I dare say that this book may be her best to date. Though I only finished this book a mere hour ago, I am already antsy to get my hands on the next one.
“So, Shae, tell me a little about yourself.”
“Really? You want to talk?”
I chuckle. “You sound surprised.”
“Because I am.”
“What’s wrong with getting to know the woman I’m about to fuck?”
“Are there things about me you’re dying to know?”
You have no fucking idea. “As a matter of fact, there are.”
She studies me for a moment and tips her glass, finishing off what’s left of her wine. She sets it on the counter, strides across the kitchen, and opens the curtains, revealing a breathtaking view of the Chicago skyline.
With her back to me, she takes a deep breath and when she exhales she says, “Let’s have it.”
In one gulp, I finish off my wine and set the glass next to hers. I slowly walk across the room, enjoying the view in front of me as I do.
And I’m not talking about the skyline. The dips and valleys of Chicago’s cityscape may be impressive, but they have nothing on Shae’s soft curves.
Her skirt is a little rumpled, her blouse untucked, and her long, dark hair falls in waves around her shoulders. Her body draws mine like a magnet, and when I step into her, pressing my chest against her back, she doesn’t move. There is no gasp of surprise, no stiffening spine, she’s just here in this moment with me.
“Let’s start with your favorite color.”
“Purple.” Her voice is shaky, and when I run my finger down the back of her neck, she tilts her head, allowing room for my lips to graze the silky smooth skin.
“Great choice.” I kiss a path along her shoulder. A shiver runs through her, and I smile against her skin. “Favorite sport.”
“Mine too. Favorite team?”
“C-Cardinals.” I nip at her soft skin, and Shae sucks in a breath. “What was that for?”
“I’m a Cubs fan.”
“That’s okay; I forgive you.”
I nip her again, run my tongue along the side of her neck, and blow lightly. Goosebumps race across the creamy skin.
“You’re so responsive, Shae. I can’t wait to see what else I can get your body to do.”
She takes a shuddery breath, and I can tell by the flutter of her pulse against my lips that my words excite her.
“What did Erin mean when she said you hadn’t been with a man in quite some time?” She doesn’t immediately respond, so I turn her in my arms.
Her cheeks turn the prettiest shade of pink as she looks at the floor. “You caught that, huh?”
“It’s pretty much all I’ve been thinking about.”
She looks up. “Really? Why?”
Fuck if I know. Maybe because I like you and the thought of other men touching you makes me want to strangle someone. But telling her that now probably isn’t the smartest idea, so I just shrug.
“Don’t know. Just curious is all.” Shae still doesn’t answer, and I can feel the air around us growing thick. “How many men have you been with?”
Her eyes grow as wide as saucers. “I don’t see how that’s any of your business.”
“It’s not. But I want it to be.”
Glancing down, she fiddles with the hem of her blouse. “Not many.”
“How many is not many?”
She tries to look away, but I don’t let her, so she opts to fold her arms over her chest. A universal defense mechanism. She thinks she’s shielding herself, but all she’s doing is fluffing her tits, putting all of that smooth, silky skin on full display. “I’m not a virgin, if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“I never questioned whether you’re a virgin.”
“Good, because I’m not,” she says firmly, and then her voice trails off. “I’m just not that experienced.”
Finally frustrated, she throws her arms out to the side. “Why does it matter?”
Running my hand up the back of her head, I thread my fingers through the silky strands of her hair. Something I’ve wanted to do since the moment I laid eyes on her. Gripping it tight, I tug and her head dips back. She looks up at me, her eyes smoldering, and I wonder what else she’d let me do.
“Because I want to fuck you, and I’m not a gentle man, Shae.”
Sucking her bottom lip between her teeth, she bites gently as I wait for her to respond. Something…anything would be good. Then she looks at my mouth, and what happens next isn’t at all what I’m expecting.
“We should probably kiss first.” She smiles coyly, and I do the only thing I can do.
I kiss her.
K.L. Grayson resides in a small town outside of St. Louis, MO. She is entertained daily by her extraordinary husband, who will forever inspire every good quality she writes in a man. Her entire life rests in the palms of six dirty little hands, and when the day is over and those pint-sized cherubs have been washed and tucked into bed, you can find her typing away furiously on her computer. She has a love for alpha-males, brownies, reading, tattoos, sunglasses, and happy endings…and not particularly in that order.