This was one of my rare ‘ah, yes’ books. You probably have your own description of the feeling- the one you get at the end of a satisfying read? Yeah, that one. I started out reading through this book at my usual gale-force wind speed and ended up deliberately slowing down so I could savor it (not to mention that it tugged at my emotions hard a few times so that I had to pause and re-read some parts). I will not pretend to think that this book is for everyone, but it definitely was a keeper for me.
The story is a very conflicted love story that has its moments of that range from loving peace to loving torment. It is the ultimate ‘this can’t end well’ kind of story because it is between a ruthless NY gang leader and a cop in a NYPD department assigned to bring him down.
Gabe is the officer assigned to question the infamous Angelo Pagan about the murder of Pagan’s sister. Their meeting on the surface is quiet enough- he questions Pagan and Pagan gives him little in the way of answers- but below the surface, the meeting is epic. An exchange of a look is all it takes to imprint both of them. Gabe is straight and is on the verge of marriage with a long-time girlfriend. He is stunned by the feeling of attraction to Pagan, but tries to set it aside even as he knows that things are not what they should be in his relationship with Trish.
Their next meeting really is epic because a hot tip takes Gabe and other officers to one of Pagan’s warehouses where something illegal is going down. Gabe stares straight into Pagan’s face when Pagan shoots him. He is hospitalized after taking the bullet in the shoulder and has time to ponder the expression on Pagan’s face when he pulls the trigger. After returning home and being placed on leave while he recuperates, Gabe begins drinking and drives away his girlfriend. He is in a dark confusing place in his mind, but the confusion only intensifies when Gabe finds his shooter awaiting him in his apartment. And it is at that point that the two men begin a relationship that is all wrong, but feels right to both of them.
The plot was above all a romance between Angel and Gabe, but it is laced with some truly intense moments of suspense as Angelo and Gabe navigate their secret affair and Angelo tries to balance his private life with his public figure as a Gangster leader. The pacing was well written with the slow tender moments, hot torrid confrontations and passion that were heart-racing speed, and those moments of intense, dangerous page turning moments. There is violence because of Angelo’s gangster world and also hard heart-breaking confrontations between the two men as their fundamental differences threaten and do, separate them so yes, there’s some angst.
The characters were so much more than 3-D and not just Gabe and Angelo though each was hot and memorable in his own way. I loved Kane, Gabe’s brother, and Mami, Angelo’s mother, while I loved to hate Carlos, Angelo’s rival and bitterly jealous sadistic (yeah, I just keep piling on the descriptive adjectives) Uncle.
This was one of the best written M/M Contemporary Romances out there and I recommend it to those who enjoy slow moving, but steamy relationships with an element of danger and suspense to it all.