Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dirty Angels, Karina Halle.

Javier is dirty. Filthy. He’s a drug lord, evil to the core. What he’s missing is a queen to rule by his side. When he captures the wife of a rival, he finds he not only has his prisoner, but the one woman who can match his attitude, darkness, and sexuality.  

Javier was first introduced in The Artists Triology, and while some players from that series are mentioned, there’s no need to read those first. Unless you want – and I encourage it as you understand a bit more about Javier, his relationship with Esteban, and how he became the leader of a drug cartel in Mexico. 

This story picks up with Luisa, a former beauty queen and now struggling waitress, trying to provide for her aging and disabled parents. Salvador sees her in the bar, and decides she’s the one that can be his arm candy and give him what he needs in private. He makes her an offer – marry him and he’ll take care of her needs and provide for her parents. She goes along with this only to find that an evil drug lord is evil in all relationships – not just those that involve his crimes. Seeing an opportunity to escape, she takes it, only to be captured by a rival to be used as a bartering chip for expansion of his own cartel.  

“The wife of the jackal is the greatest card you can play in this game”

When Javier’s men take Luisa and bring her to his safe house, he had no idea that he’d want her for more than just extortion. He decided he wanted her to be his. Holding her hostage, sending demands to Salvador, and torturing her by carving his name on her back, Javier finds that Luisa is not someone that he can easily break. Luisa, finding that her life is going to end if she fights or submits, she decides to fight. He places her in positions to shame her, but finds that it only excites them both.

“Don’t you know it turns me on when you fight back?” he whispered in my ear, his voice ragged. “Though it turns me on when you don’t fight back, too. I guess you can’t win.” 

She wonders what will become of her. Knowing that her husband won’t pay any ransom for her – she’s not that important to him – she reflects on what her life has become. She tries to escape and fails. She continues to be defiant and challenges her captors. She realizes that while Javier is still the leader of a cartel, he’s not like her husband. 

“You’re not a monster”
“Just a terrible person then”
“Yes. There is a difference. I lived with a monster. I know what that feels like”

She starts to question him, trying to discover more about him and while she is captive, she grows more defiant. 

“I changed this past week, in ways I wasn’t even able to understand. Without realizing it, I was starting to relate to Javier Bernal instead of fearing him. I saw his desire to make me break, and I felt the same desire, to make others break, the ones that hurt me all this time.” 

Javier recognizes this in her and their twisted attraction to each other grows. Her bravado grows. She tells him to finish carving his name on her back so she can be his. She wants it. 

“I am more yours than I am Salvador’s. So finish branding me. I want the knife. I want your name.”

While Javier may want her, he knows he cannot keep her. He must hold to his threats: Salvador either gives into his ransom or he will kill Luisa. 

What concludes is what some could call a romance. Some could call it a twisted connection between two broken people. Whatever it is, it’s fantastic. This is not a typical novel about two people finding love. It’s more about two people finding power, giving into their attraction and using each other for mutual benefit. Finding that they don’t want to live without the other – is that love? While never spoken, it’s implied through Javier’s actions and Luisa’s emotions.

Like some of Karina Halle’s other books, this one is gritty, raw, full of things that most people want to pretend don’t exist. As always, it’s a story told with emotion and even a bit of humor. It’s not for the faint of heart. If you’re opposed to abuse, violence, lewd sexual acts, immorality, and well, you get the point, then this book is not for you. For fans of Karina Halle, it’s just another one of her works of art that dragged me in and want to find my own evil drug lord with a sexy smile and dirty mouth. But not really. 

Get this now while it's still at the lower price on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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