Summary of book:
Regenia Cortez worked hard to leave her father’s cartel connections behind. However, fate had other plans for her. As bodies start turning up with connections to her father’s criminal activities, Reggie finds herself pulled back into the treacherous and sinister world she had tried so hard to escape.
Uncertain of whom she can trust, Reggie has to deal with Roan Fox. Roan hired by her father to ensure her safety, has Reggie on edge. The lines between allies and enemies blur, and she struggles to discern his true intentions.
Forced into each other’s lives, Reggie and Roan soon find themselves entangled in a web of deception and danger that runs deep. They realize that the situation is much more complex and far-reaching than they had initially believed.
As tensions rise and the stakes grow higher, Reggie and Roan give in to the pull they have toward each other, even as their own personal demons threaten to tear them apart. Their circumstances make it difficult for them to trust each other fully.
Yet, amidst the chaos and uncertainty, one thing remains constant—Roan’s unwavering determination to keep Reggie safe. He will stop at nothing to protect her, even if it means confronting his own troubled past.
In their fight for survival and justice, Reggie and Roan are pushed to their limits. But their shared strength and resilience allow them to overcome the darkness that threatens to consume them. With their lives hanging in the balance, they are determined to find the truth, protect each other, and finally break free from the suffocating grip of the past.
I know this book has all kinds of warnings, but Summer O’Toole means them when she lists them. So before I say anything else about his book make sure you read the TWs/CWs and pay attention.
I have repeatedly talked about tropes and/or themes that I generally do not like except when a singular author writes them. Super dark and degradation are included on this list. Summer O’Toole’s Fox Family Syndicate Series is my exception. This third installment in the series is so very good. I think the key for me is that O’Toole writes a dark romance with an interesting and compelling mystery. I want to know about the bodies. I want to know who The Warden is. And creating a story that expands beyond the DR in a way that is equally interesting makes this story (and series) a favorite.
Additionally, I was not sold on the idea of incorporating a playlist into the actual book. But it is done in a way that works and adds to instead of distracting from the story.
Finally (and maybe this is not fair), Roan not being Finn cost it a star. Finn4Eva! 😊
Roan Fox is not a cinnamon roll or even an alphahole. The term I have been using is that he a burnt marshmallow. Crispy and hard on the outside with a soft gooey inside that can still burn you. Reggie Cortez is tough and smart and wary. And mostly the secondary characters are just that. Interesting but not distracting.
Tropes and Triggers: From the author’s page: Dead bodies, Parental Loss, PTSD, Night terrors, Mentions of off-page suicide, Pregnancy (not between main characters), Off-page death of a pregnant woman, Parental neglect/abuse, Near death experience, Mentions of off-page alcohol abuse, Smoking, Physical abuse, Graphic violence/murder against women, Allusions to rape, Human trafficking, Bombs/Explosives, Guns, Graphic consensual sex, Mutual masturbation, Gunplay, Breath play, CNC
“So no, Cortez, I don’t want to touch you – I want to fuck you, own you, ruin you.”
“I’ll always be your monster, you only have to be my light.”
Thanks to Summer O’Toole for the ARC review opportunity.