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S.B. Gorilla McGee
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Format: Kindle Edition
5 STARS FOR NIKOLAI 2
Whew! I GOBBLED this installment up like I was a starving woman! This was a pretty lengthy addition to the Her Russian Protector series, but it really, really needed to be.
On a romance-relationship level we get to see Vivian and Nikolai navigate their new marriage with the added bliss and stress of a pregnancy, major "work" troubles for Nikolai and Vivian's blossoming career as an artist.
The torment that Nikolai puts himself through--the self-flagellation and agonizing over the future, the past and every other motion that he can't control--it's so delicious to watch. This man LOVES his wife so much but can't see himself as worthy of her love. Gah, I love Nikolai. Vivian is trying to learn to cope with the hard parts of being the wife of a mob-boss: Being kept in the dark about things, being constantly watched over by Nikolai's soldiers, losing the freedom of the anonymity she thought she had before she married and also, the worries that she will not be a good or worthy mother to her child.
I love that we get to see what happens after the "I do's". Vivian and Nikolai were damaged, tormented people who, even after the wedding, still had a sometimes-dark-and-nasty-and-scary real life to live. No matter how deeply they love each other, there were still threats and problems that were going to make their lives tough. This book brought that meaty-goodness.
On the Suspense-intrigue level we have hit the motherlode! Okay, if any of you out there found yourselves reading the last several installments of HRP's and the Fighting Connolly's and scratching your heads in confusion---well, this book clears it all up.
Nikolai 2 basically spans the time from In Jack's Arms (the Fighting Connolly's #2), Sergei 2 and In Finn's Heart (the Fighting Connolly's #3). I'm betting a fair share of the future book Kostya, will take place during this time-frame as well.
Basically, we are getting to see all of these crazy dramas play out from Nikolai's standpoint. He is a major player in the Houston underworld and he is trying to minimize the damage that is going to come from an inevitable coup within the Guzman Cartel. We were in the dark and not understanding all of the pieces because we could only see those pieces from Jack's or Sergei's or Finn's viewpoint. But now, everything is clear. Now we really know the motivations for blackmailing Finn, now we know why Holly was chosen for the hit, now we know why Nikolai wasn't on Yuri's plane to London with Vivian.
I LOVED THIS BOOK. Not only did it answer the questions and fill in the gaps from previous books, but it made all of this richer and deeper. And, I expected to finish this book geared up for MY (dibs, ladies) KOSTYA and to get my curiosity piqued about Ten, and to maybe get a smidge more info about Besian and Marley, but I didn't just get all of that---surprisingly I found myself frustratingly jonesing for other characters' stories. Danila, Alexei, Ten, Conn, Besian and of course, Kostya are all set to be written about. But I think Eric Santos NEEDS HIS STORY NOW! And Niels? I'm not one for a billionaire Dom, but, whew, I'll take his story and eat it up the second it's published. Three-fingered Arty?--tragic love history, sweet and protective: NEED IT. Roman Boychenko--young and loyal: I think he needs to get out of this life, do something amazing. Hector Salas--there's an unrequited love or forbidden love story there, I'm sure.
The point is: Roxie Rivera will be able to keep me gleefully, blissfully happy forever with these dark heroes.