He’s a killer. A mobster.
The last man on earth I’d ever want to be with. I won’t lose my head just because he’s hot, Irish, and has a wicked accent to boot.
He’s one of the only leads in my best friend’s disappearance, and I don’t trust him.
So I’ve got a few rules in mind when it comes to dealing with Lachlan Crow.
1.Keep a clear head and don’t get distracted.
2.Do what’s necessary and never forget why you’re there.
3.Never, and I mean never, fall for him.
Fourth and final rule?
Throw out the book altogether. Because the rules don’t apply when it comes to the Irish mafia.
It was only supposed to be temporary, but now Lachlan thinks he owns me. He says he’s not letting me go.
And I believe him.
I don’t know who she is. I don’t know why she’s here.
But if it’s my attention she wants, she has it.
The Russians want her dead, and now it’s up to me to look out for her. This girl is trouble. A distraction I can’t afford.
So why have I already decided she’s mine?
I’ve claimed her and there’s no going back now.
This is a full-length standalone novel full of hot Irish bad boys with accents. Steamy and dark mafia themes throughout. HEA included.
Sounds like the average mafia romance, right?
This book was SO much more.
Crazy, hot passion.
And, the well-known HEA coming in when Mack and Lachlan settle down, and are so in love people probably get toothaches from the sweetness.
So to start, let me just say that Crow was awesome!
Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars
Writing Style: 4 stars- I noticed a few grammar mistakes here and there, but I'm also a grammar nazi, so it might be an overreaction. But I overall liked it, and enjoyed the way Ashleigh wrote the books. Lots of dramatic pauses! I loved that!
Descriptions/Scenery/Setting: 4 Stars- I would have preferred to hear a little more about what Boston looked like, smelled like, etc., because some readers (like me!) have never been to Boston, so filling in some of the holes in our imagination would have added into the story.
Plot/Story Line: Okay, I told myself I'd only go up to 5 stars, but I wanna give this one like 500! It was SO good. It was a total thriller. I've never met an author that flowed her series into one another so closely, and she succeeded at it as well!
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Organized Crime, Dark Romance
Maturity Rating: There are dark themes in this book! Murder, rape, strong language, and explicit sex. DO NOT read unless you are over 18, or if any of these themes will trigger/affect you. Otherwise, you'll enjoy this book!
What is unique about this book?
I'm always a sucker for mob romances (organized crime, sexy bad boy... ummm, yes please!). So, finding a book with a sexy Irishman in the MacKenna Syndicate, (and an Irish accent to boot!) and what seemed like a typical cliche mobster romance sounded good to me. You just need a filler until you find a great book, right? That's totally what I was expecting.
Little did I know, this was definitely not a cliche. (That's kind of an understatement, actually.)
I enjoyed Mack's spit-fire attitude, and the fact that she easily stood up to a man like Lachlan. She was a total badass main character- I wish there were more like her! She was a perfect mixture of hardened and innocent. She had seen things, lived on the streets, yet came out stronger, looking for the next fight.
I saw the change between the two easily flow through the book, but it took a noticeable turn when Lachlan started keeping Mack at his house. It was not just possessiveness and lust (though it's still present, and super hot!), but tender feelings beginning to grow. I absolutely loved watching them fall in love, despite the obstacles thrown their way.
There was a fierce need for one another that they were wholly unprepared for. We watch the smaller parts that slowly turn them, such as Mack giving Lachlan her virginity, Mack taking care of Lachlan after a gun fight, and Lachlan telling her he doesn't want to let her go. (He probably only admitted it because he was slightly high.) Though, at times, in fact, they openly say that they hate they feel this way.
I can't blame them, to be honest.
It is terrifying for them to fall in love, to need someone they way they need each other. They've both been alone in their own way, and are re-learning how to trust, and open up. Even for people who haven't seen the things Lach and Mack would have, new loves like this never truly start easily. I liked how even though they started out fighting against it, they ended fighting for it.
Through this, I was lead through so many questions:
Who's the traitor?
What do the rats even get out of this, besides certain death?
What's with Sasha and Ronan?
Where's Talia? Is she alive?
I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how this author was going to wrap this up. Where was the happy ever after? How can this author create so many tangles and knots, and manage to unravel it, without screwing up the whole book?
When new twists in the plot came around later in the book, I was torn between the anger shown so easily by Mack, and being heartbroken for the situation- especially once the mystery of where Talia ended up comes into light, and the amount of time she actually spent as a slave. I am also impressed by the author's ability to pull my heartstrings into this story, and how engrossed I was in this book.
When you start paging into Crow, most wonder how Mack even gets into the orbit of the Irish mafia.
The simple answer is: Talia.
Immediately, you can see there's more to the book, as the prologue starts with Mack Wilder, crashing into the novel with her kickass, slightly sarcastic, devil-may-care attitude, in a desperate search for her best friend, Talia. She has obvious guilt, due to the fact that they fought before Talia disappeared. They have a close relationship, and grew up on the streets of Boston together (Southie, to be exact.). Mack ended up in foster care when the Russians murdered her father after not being able to beat him in the boxing ring (Her mother died early on, from cancer.). After trying to get help from the police for six months, Mack gets tired of their BS and frustrated, and when one of the detectives tells her, "We have no proof." She decides to take matters into her own hands... by sending herself in the thick of the Irish mafia, basically a vigilante for Talia.
Both are stubborn, and hardheaded, and basically made for one another. Throughout the book, we see both Mack and Lachlan's point of view, and both of them taking caution, because despite what they tell themselves, they're falling for each other from the very beginning. Ashleigh does an amazing job at portraying the struggle that Mack and Lachlan have:
Mack, searching for Talia, desperate to find the woman she considers a sister. She's torn up over lying to Lachlan about why she was so desperate to work at Slainte. (Talia was working there right before she disappeared.) Mack is determined to either save Talia, or give her a final resting place. Either way, someone's gonna pay.
(Slainte is pronounced SLAN-sha, if that helps. Also, side note: 'Slainte' means 'Health'. Cause what's better for the Irish than plenty of drinks and women? I dunno about you, but that makes me smile a bit.)
Lachlan, knowing he can't have Mack for forever (as he eventually admits he wants to.), and knowing he will eventually have to leave her behind to take his rightful place in the MacKenna Syndicate. His grandfather, one of the leaders (Niall's right hand), has died, and is close with the leader, Niall. He goes on to talk to Lachlan about promoting him. He is to solidify the Russian's alliance as well, by taking one of the leader's daughter's as his wife. Along with that, he knows a few Russians are after her. (She's a "loose end" since one of them killed her father.) She's no good for the Syndicate, and Lachlan has always had it come first.
"And one in particular stares at me with dark curiosity. Lachlan Crow. He's third in line to the throne of the Irish underworld, and his reputation proceeds him."
The story continues, and Lachlan and Mack's passions heat up. They resist at first, but eventually find a few heated moments in between the search for Talia, and the storm the Armenians (A new mob, trying to take whatever they get their hands on.) are stirring up. It becomes apparent that there is a traitor in their midst, as the Armenians find the secret stashes of the Russian's money in Slainte, and seem to know when and where meetings are being held. After the first attack, Lachlan decides to take Mack back to his house to keep her safe, with his right hand man, Ronan, watching over her. They have the time to really start spending time together.
"I've got you Sweetheart," Lach wipes away the tears that fall down my cheeks. "I've got you, Mack, and I'm not going anywhere."
Mack and Lach's story slows (but certainly doesn't end.)
They get married, and it opens with Sasha speaking to Mack about Ronan. She notices the way they're trying to ignore each other and fail miserably... creating curiosity about what, exactly, was going on between the two. (It clears up in the second book.) This is about a month after all the drama that went down, and the territories were once again settled, and alliances strong.
But... that's not where our story ends. As Lach and Mack drive home, Mack gets a call from an unknown number, and when she answers, it was the last person she expected: Talia. She simply said she was safe, and congratulated Mack on her wedding.
Alexei had found her... and saved her.
Overall, I was pleased with how great this book was! While it leaves an opening for books 2, 3 and 4, you still have closure on the story, and know what happens with most, if not all the characters. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who want a good, new twist that you don't see in mafia romances. It was sexy, new, engrossing, and had one of the best mystery/thriller romances I've ever had the pleasure of reading. If you have the chance, read this book!
I know, I know... cliffhanger! Read the series!