Luca Rizzoli was nearly destroyed by a brutal betrayal that cost him his family. Now a ruthless crime boss in Las Vegas, he lets nothing touch his frozen heart…until a smoldering encounter with a beautiful stranger ignites his passion. One night isn’t enough for a man who takes what he wants—and Luca will do whatever he can to possess his mysterious temptress…
Police detective Gabrielle Fawkes lives for revenge. She lost everything at the hands of an unforgiving ruler of the Vegas underworld. Now she wants to see him six feet under. But when a near-fatal attack leads her into Luca’s arms, what was meant to be one night of unbridled passion becomes something forbiddingly more. Luca has his own agenda, but when strong, determined, kick-ass detective Gaby sets her sights on her target, Luca feels compelled to stand by her side and protect her at all costs. However, pursuing danger comes at a high price—and both Gaby and Luca must work together in order to eliminate the dark enterprise that threatens them.
I really liked this book! I’m not a huge fan of mafia romances as they tend to be an awkward read for me (I’m Italian, grew up Italian, lots of Italian clichés in mafia books resulting in lots of eye rolling from me…). But, I took a chance with Luca because I’ve read other books from Sarah Castille and really enjoyed them. Thankfully, she didn’t disappoint!
Up front, I will say that there are some Italian mafia clichés or, maybe if I’m truthful, Italian men clichés in Luca. Instead of making my eyes roll they made me smile and I fell in love with Luca Rizzoli. Castille handles him perfectly, keeping his machismo intact while allowing him to grow as a man and father. Gabrielle is just as delightful as she emerges from her shell, leaving behind the heartbroken, revengeful woman she started the book as. She became the strong, fun, sexy woman she was always meant to be.
At the heart of Luca is the story of two people who see the world through blacks and whites, but then learn to live in the grey areas. With Gabrielle a police officer and Luca a member of Casa Nostra, they seem to be doomed before they even start, but when their worlds collide in a hospital room all bets are off. The story plays out perfectly as they each learn new things about themselves that allows them to open up to love again.
I picked up Luca for the romance, but it was the suspense and surprise reveals that got my blood pumping and the pages turning (not to dismiss the amount of HOTNESS Sarah Castille brings to her books. Holy Cow!). The best part of this book was how well Castille wove together a great suspense story, allowing it to be told not just from Gabrielle’s and Luca’s point of view, but also from the POV of a troubled young man who plays a big role not only in bringing the story to its heart racing conclusion, but also gives the reader a newcomer’s perspective into how the mafia works.
There are great secondary characters. Luca’s typical Italian family, including his adorable son Matteo, brought levity to the story when it was needed. Gabrielle’s friends are not only a great support system for her, but Castille uses them wisely in helping Gaby see that not everything is black and white.
Luca can easily be read as a standalone, but you’ll want to grab Nico and read it if you already haven’t (I haven’t, so guess what I’m doing?). Book 3, Rocco, is about the cold as ice Frankie and I hate that it’ll be January before we can watch him melt!
4.5 stars for Luca. Heat level: 4
I received a copy of Luca from the publisher and InkSlingerPR in exchange for honest feedback.
About Sarah Castille:
Sarah Castille is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Redemption Series, Ruin & Revenge Series, Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club series, Legal Heat series and the Club Excelsior series. A recovering lawyer with a fondness for dirty-talking alpha males, she now is a full-time writer, who lives on Vancouver Island. Sarah’s books have been listed as Publisher’s Weekly’s Top Ten Picks and Best Summer Reads, and Amazon’s Best Romance Books of the Year, and have won numerous reader’s choice awards including the Holt Medallion.
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