Series: Dangerous Beauty #1
Published by Montlake Romance on March 26, 2019
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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A strapping bodyguard and a mysterious beauty on the run cross paths and tempt danger in Cozumel…
For Nasir, former Special Ops military man and bodyguard, his new job seems like an easy-money gig: trail a Russian mobster's runaway wife in Mexico, enjoy the sun, observe, and report. Just one rule: don’t get too close. But it’s all Naz can do not to watch the alluring dancer’s every move. A closer look is irresistible—especially when she’s in trouble.
Evalina escaped to the island getaway to live an untraceable life—as far away from the past as she can get. But Eva can’t ignore the dark, muscled stud who rescues her from a drug gang. He says he’s an ex-cop on vacation. When providence throws them together time and again, Eva thinks it’s all a beautiful coincidence. Now she’s giving in to a strange new sensation: trust.
But Naz has a mission to accomplish and a secret to keep. Eva has her share of secrets, too. And as the heat flares between them, Naz knows that trust could become the most dangerous impulse of all.
***Part one of a three part series.***
I loved the chemistry between Nasir and Eva but I am not happy that the book ended on a cliffhanger.
When I saw that Dangerous Beauty was noted on Goodreads as “Dangerous Beauty #1”, I presumed, wrongly, that it would be the first book of a series which would feature other couples like so many that I read. But I know now that it is at least Book 1 of a series featuring Nasir and Eva. I had hoped it is only two books but it turns out that this is going to be a trilogy. I am so unhappy about that right now.
Nasir works for Connor Hughes and Metrix Security (Wicked Sexy). Metrix was hired to watch over the wife of a Russian mobster. He said that his spoiled wife ran away from home and he wants her watched over until she is ready to return home.
Weeks go by as Nasir gives his reports to his client and watches Eva. Everything is fine until he is forced to step in to protect her. Now that Eva knows who he is, Nasir is no longer just a face in the crowd who can watch and observe her. Eva spot him again in a crowded market and makes conversation with him. She sees him again at a bar and after a drink and some conversation, Eva realizes that she is enjoying Nasir’s company and begins to seek him out. He knows that he is supposed to be simply an observer, but he is drawn to Eva as well.
Nasir is struggling with the fact that he is blowing his first assignment with the company by being made by the subject but he is also convincing himself that he is watching over her only more closely now. He might have struggled with this fact a while longer except being closer to Eva, he learns that she is isn’t the mobster’s wife, but a woman who was kept captured by the Russian and was part of his “stable” of women. He also learned that Eva has suffered years of rape and abuse by this man.
Nasir isn’t going to let Eva go back to the Russian and he needs to get her out of the country before he needs to check in once again. They need to go somewhere safe and in order to do that, he will need to convince Connor to betray his client. But even harder than that, Nasir will need to confess to the woman he is falling in love with that he has been betraying Eva’s trust from the beginning. He will have to give up the trust of woman he loves to keep her safe.
I really liked the chemistry between Eva and Nasir, but have to admit that their banter could only really happen between two people who really understand how gorgeous they are. He jokes that she is hideous and fat and they laugh about it. A woman who has body issues, like Joellen from Geissinger’s Melt for You, wouldn’t be able to laugh it off and have fun with it, but it worked for Eva and Nasir.
I like that Eva has found her strength once she escaped the hands of her abuser. But now we need to discuss where Book l leaves off which doesn’t make me very happy.
When Connor and Nasir are discussing killing the Russian, they note that the Russian lives in a fortress surrounded by guns and land mines and how the only way to get to him would be to get him out of that fortress. Now Eva is going to walk into that fortress. There is simply no way that Nasir is going to get to her before she is raped and abused again. Especially if this is a trilogy. Eva is going to be suffering at the hands of her abuser for at least some if not all of the next book.
I don’t want to read a book where we have to watch our heroine be raped and abused. I had some issues with the erotica/BDSM books that came my way when I felt they were too questionable or too degrading in their actions. Maybe I am jumping the gun on my presumptions but I can’t imagine how she is going to avoid being forced to have sex with the Russian. That’s why he wants her. He has been raping and abusing her for years and even letting her believe she escaped and was free was all part of his mind games so she gets a taste of freedom before he takes it away from her.
I am not certain that I will continue with the next story. I might need to wait to see what other people say in their reviews and be ready to be left hanging once again until the final story comes out.
One thing I did find very odd is that the author indicates in her author’s notes that Nasir was known by another name in the Wicked Games series. Since I did not read that series, I don’t know why she would chose to change his name for this book or if he was undercover in the prior series. It just seemed an odd thing to do.
All around us, people were noticing her. Stealing glances. Sending covetous looks. Even some of the women look like they’d like to lick her form head to toe.
How did she think she could hide?
She glances over and catches me staring. “What?”
“I was just thinking how hideous you are,” I say solemnly. “It’s tragic, really. Must be awful, walking around with that face, scaring children. I feel sorry for you. Is there a charity I could contribute to in your name? The Quasimodo society? The Elephant Man Foundation? I feel moved to help.”
She blinks, the picture of innocence. “That’s so strange! I was just thinking the same thing about you!”
“Excuse me, but I’m extraordinarily handsome. Just ask me.”
She’s laughing again, which is becoming one of my favorite things. “You’re demented.”
“I think you mean dashing.”
“More like disfigured. You’re frighteningly large. Do you suffer from gigantism?”
A grin spreads slowly across my face. “Only in certain areas, sweetheart.” I set my drink on my crotch, send her a meaningful look, then turn my gaze to the stars.
She laughs for a long time, with helpless abandon. I feel the strangest urge to leap to my feet, pound my chest, and let rip a crazy Tarzan yodeling yell.
The waitress arrives with our shrimp. “Here you go, guys.” She hands an overflowing plastic basket to Eva. To me she gives two small plates and paper napkins, then she turns her attention back to Eva. “How’re you liking your Dark and Stormy, Thelma? Tasty, isn’t it?”
Eva freezes for a moment, then forces a smiles. “Yes. It’s really good. Thanks, Maria.”
“Great! Let me know when you’re ready for another!” The waitress leaves.
There’s a pause in the music as the jukebox inside changes songs. Eva stares at the basket of shrimp in her hands with intense focus, as if she’s wishing she could disappear inside it. ”
“You gonna hog all the food, or can I have some?” I offer one of the plates, but I’m really offering her a chance to let the moment pass. I already knew she went by a different name, but I still can’t figure out why she told me her real one.
She turns to look at me, and all the laughter from moments before has vanished from her eyes. The firelight dancing over her face shows how pale she’s suddenly become.
“Eva’s my middle name–“
“You don’t owe me any explanations,” I say, holding her gaze. Then I smile. “My real name is actually Wilbur.”
“Wilbur? No, you’re lying.”
“Yes, I am.” I sigh dramatically. “It’s Dudley. But don’t tell anyone–I’m embarrassed.” I grab the basket, shake a few fried shrimp out onto a plate, then hand it to her with a couple of napkins. “Get ’em while they’re hot. Nothing worse than cold killer shrimp. Okay, maybe reheated french fries, but not much else.”
There’s a fine tremors in Eva’s hand as she takes the plate from me. I ditch the other plate on the sand and start to eat from the basket with my fingers, settling back into my chair. “Mmm. Delish. I don’t think I’ll let you have any more. You should really be watching your figure. Another few pounds and you’ll be recruited by the circus.”
After a long moment of silence, Eva says quietly “You’re a very nice man.”
“Nice?” I retch. “Christ, stab me in the heart, why don’t you?”
From the corner of my eye, I see her tentative smile.
“I mean, virile, I’ll grant you. Charming, obviously. And breath-stealingly sexy goes without saying.”
“Breath stealing? Have you been reading romance novels again?”
Without an once of sarcasm, I say, “Twilight’s my favorite. Edward’s so swoony, don’t you think?”
“Oh sure. All that glittering white skin and an overpowering urge to drink your blood. What’s not to love?”
“And the age difference isn’t creepy at all,” I insist, popping another shrimp into my mouth. “So he’s like a hundred and she’s not even old enough to vote? Love conquers everything!”
“Definitely. Just like Romeo and Juliet.”
“Maybe if Romeo had been a hundred-year-old vampire, things would’ve turned out differently.”
“Yeah, Shakespeare really screwed that up. Too bad he’s dead, or we could send him a strongly worded letter about how dumb he is.”
We grin at each other. I say, “Totally,” and hold out the basket of shrimp.
“I thought I was supposed to be on a diet,” she teases.
“Well, big asses are in fashion right now, so…”
She pretends to be offered. “After everything we’ve been through, did you really just tell me I have a big ass?”
“Sweetheart, your ass is so huge it should have its own zip code. Eat up.”
She’s trying hard not to laugh as she takes the basket from me, and I have that feeling again, the one where I want to jump up and beat my chest. Making her smile is additive It gives me a hard, heady rush, like I’ve snorted cocaine.