Published by Cecy Robson, LLC on March 13, 2019
Genres: Crime Drama
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Desperate men do desperate things . . .
Salvatore Romero is a dangerous man. If you’ve lived the life Sal has, rage is to be expected and maybe so is heart. After his father killed his mother in a jealous rage, Sal was left to raise his two younger brothers, becoming a parent long before he was ready.
Desperate for money to support his family, Sal sought help from his old friend, Vincent Maggiano, the son of New Jersey’s top crime boss being groomed to take over his ailing father’s empire.
Sal never planned to join the mob. He also never planned to fall for his brother's sweet and ultra conservative counselor, Adrianna Daniels.
Aedry isn’t the type of girl Sal is usually drawn to. Her skirts are longer, her hair is tamer, and her heels aren’t clear. But he can’t deny the attraction he feels. And Salvatore’s dark, sexy, and dangerous persona is the exact opposite of the clean-cut business men who usually catch Aedry’s attention.
Neither planned on a life of crime nor did they plan on love. But now, both are in too far.
Salvatore is a heartbreaking story of a man forced to sell his soul to the Family in order to save his family. Sal’s fight to be worthy of Adrianna’s love left me in tears.
When I was offered an ARC of Salvatore, my first reaction is that I don’t read mob stories. While I watched every episode of The Soprano, I never saw Tony Soprano as a romantic hero. Truly I don’t need my heroes to be saintly, I just can’t look forward to a HEA for someone involved in prostitution and murder, even if the murder is other mob guys. Yet Cecy Robson has written some of my favorite characters, so I had to give Salvatore a try.
In this story we find a man who suffered an abusive childhood and after his father murdered his mother, he fought desperately to save his two young brothers from being lost in the system. But Salvatore was barely more than a child himself and the system was too busy judging him to be concerned that the boys would be better off raised by a brother who loved them. If not for his childhood friend, the young son of the local mobster, coming to his rescue, Salvatore would have lost custody of his brothers. Salvatore knows that he owes a great debt to Vincent and accepts that he will live his life among the dregs of the city as his payment to keep his brothers safe, but he still fights each day not to lose his soul completely.
Salvatore has spent the last few years guarding Vinny’s gumad, a position which offers him some protection from the seedier world of the Mob. Sal isn’t looking to rise through the ranks. He is doing everything he can not to take that final step and kill for the Family. The problem is that with Vincent’s father dying and Vincent about to step up as boss, the only one he truly trusts is Salvatore and now he wants Sal stepping up to guard his back. It is a position that Sal knows will leave him with no option but to kill since Vin hasn’t earned the respect that his father has, and all the other bosses are literally gunning for Vincent’s territory. Sal is still doing his best to avoid the promotion until Vinny finds the one pressure point that will force Sal’s obedience — Aedry.
Adrianna Daniels is the guidance counselor for Salvator’s brothers and everything would have been fine if she has just stayed in that role. But Adrianna has become more than professionally attached to the Romero boys–all of them. Aedry has shown them a depth of love and kindness that they haven’t experience since their mother’s death and more than just Apollo and Gianno have lost their hearts to her. Salvatore knows that he has no business going near a woman as kind and sweet and good as Aedry and although he tries very hard to keep a distance between them, he can’t seem to stop himself from being drawn to her. And when a chance meeting puts Aedry in the path of Vincent, Vin realizes that he finally has what he needs to push Sal over the line because he knows that Salvatore would kill to keep her safe.
Salvatore wants very badly to be a man worthy of Adrianna but he sold his soul long ago to keep his family together. So now what he needs to do is be a better man and let her go, but does he have the strength to walk away from the woman who showed him he still has a heart?
I expected to have a hard time rooting for the mobster to have a happily ever after, but I found myself crying over the tortured soul of a man who sacrificed everything yet still thinks himself too unworthy to love a good and kind woman.
Unless Aedry tells me to, I’m not going anywhere. Problem is, even if she tries to walk away, I’m not sure I can let her go. She takes care of me and my brothers, cooks for us, fusses over them, and makes sure they do their work. She hasn’t missed a single one of Gianno and Apollo’s wrestling matches, losing her mind right there beside me when they win, and covering her face when she thinks they might lose. She also listens–even though I never realized how badly I needed to be heard.
There are a lot of things I didn’t think I needed, until Aedry came into my life and proved how wrong I was.
I called her late last night and all but begged her to stop by. I didn’t feel right leaving my brothers. With the exception of the past few weeks, I’ve always made it home to my boys. No matter how late, I’m always there when they wake up. It’s my way to giving them stability. But with Vin’s screw-ups, I haven’t even been able to give them that.
Like with Aedry, I’ve barely seen my brothers all week. Aedry knew they were alone and stopped in to make them dinner. She also made sure they picked up and did their laundry. Each morning or afternoon, whenever the hell I was done cleaning up after Vin and Donnie, I’d stagger in, expecting to find the place wrecked to shit. Each time, I was wrong.
Except, as much as Aedry watched out for them, and as much as I appreciate it, they’re my responsibility. I couldn’t leave them to be with her. But I could have her here. She snuck in, but I didn’t let her sneak back out, and given how the past few hours have gone and how content she seems, I doubt she regrets it.
“I have to go,” she says again, her small nails skimming the surface of my chest.
“What if I don’t want you to?” I ask, pushing up on my side.
“I have to work,” she insists.
Pounding on the door interrupts what she has to say next. “What?” I ask, craning my neck.
Aedry scrambles beneath the sheets when Gianno throws open the door and sweeps in, followed closed by Apollo.
“What the fuck?” I yell, clutching Aedry against me.
Gianno stops at the foot of my bed, more pissed than I’ve ever seen him, pointing at me. “You’re an asshole,” he snaps.
At first, I think he and Apollo are pissed, since I haven’t been around, until Apollo lets loose.
“How the fuck could you do this to Miss Aedry?” he demands.
“Wait,” I say, “What?”
Gianno lays into me. “You dragged in this whore, knowing Aedry’s been waiting on you all week,” he says, motioning to the lump in my arms. “That makes you an asshole.”
“Watch your mouth,” I warn, not because of what he’s calling me, but how he’s referring to Aedry. He doesn’t know it’s her burying her face against my chest. That doesn’t mean anyone gets to put her down.
“Fuck you,” Apollo says.
“And your whore,” Gianno adds.
I drag my hand down my face, torn between laughing my ass off and reaming my brothers out for how they’re talking. They’re protective of Aedry. I know that. The more they’re with her, the more they want her to stay. It’s good and bad. Good, because I know they love her, and bad, because…yeah, because they love her.
“You finally meet a good woman and this is the shit you pull?” Gianno demands.
I hold out a hand, trying to silence them as Aedry continues to squirm against me. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” I start to say.
“Like hell,” Apollo snaps. “We heard you–last night and this morning!”
“Oh, God,” Aedry squeaks against me.
Apollo’s and Gianno’s scowls dissolve. They exchange confused glances. It’s not until Aedry pokes her bright red face from the mound of covers she tried to cocoon herself in that their jaws collectively drop. “Sorry,” she offers.
I crack the hell up. Apollo back away, smacking into the wall before taking off in a sprint–like any kid would after finding his parents in bed. Gianno just stands there, watching Aedry cover her flaming face as I laugh my ass off.
“Ah, sorry I called you a whore,” he says. He starts toward my bathroom before realizing where he’d headed. He quickly turns around and heads out to the living room, slamming the door behind him.
“Oh, God,” Aedry says again.