Rachel Van Dyken
Published By: Rachel Van Dyken
Released : Available 10th December 2013
RATING: 4.5 NIXON STARS!!
Would you die for the one you love?
Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family's enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.
Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family's sworn rival, and she knows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend... But Trace isn't ready to give up on a future with Nix--and if he won't fight for them, she will.
In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . .
BOOK REVIEW by Michelle:
“Every Saint has a past, every sinner has a future.”
I had always wondered which I was. The saint or the sinner?
I really enjoyed this installment told from Phoenix, Chase and Nixon’s pov’s.
Getting inside the lads heads really helped me connect with them and their fears. It made sense doing it this way as we learn so much. I think it added that much more to the story. It gave the reader a much more real mob life feel to this book.
This is very much a man’s voice book. Trace and Monroe were definitely quieter characters in this one. I think I enjoyed it this way. I wanted to know these lads more.
What is it like being sons and growing up in an environment that was full of violence? Monroe and Trace missed out on that.
Hearing the first time Phoenix or Chase had to do what their fathers ordered them to do. That is frightening stuff to a teenager. It is violent and setting the tone for ongoing violence and even rape.
Mil is the exception to the other girls. I like her. I am intrigued by her.
Sometimes Trace felt like she didn’t belong in this world. But then she up and does something that shows me what blood she has running through her veins.
This installment is about sacrifice.
“ Trust me. Trust in us. No matter what I say, no matter what I do - and I’ll do some terrible things - know that I love you. No matter what.”
... “I’m going to break your heart every day...”
I definitely connected more with understanding what these lads are going through. They are made men and they are trying to keep the peace. They are only in their early twenties and they have a lot they are carrying around on their shoulders.
They are all prepared to die. It seems inevitable they will not live a long life. They know this. It comes with the job description.
“But Trace, you’re never really free from this. You’re always going to be watching your back. You’ll always carry a gun with you just in case, and you’ll still never trust the other families or sometimes, even your own.”
Chase is taking advantage because he honestly can’t help himself, in his role of bodyguard to Trace. His feelings are taking over. Trace is a little naive I think to Chase’s feelings. Maybe a little too dumbed down to his feelings.
Chase is a great guy. Being in his head you can’t help liking him. He seems more casual, even almost like he couldn’t do what Nixon can. But, you may be mistaken. They are all still the sons of the mob. They are all made men.
Let’s just say I’m not as scary as people would like to think I am. No, that nomination goes to Nixon. The things I’d seen that guy do would put nightmares into even the worst sort of prisoner.
Nixon is doing his damnedest to keep Trace away from himself for her own good and Phoenix is showing us a side that had me feeling sorry for him. He has made mistakes. He has not had an easy life.
I would hate me, too. I did hate me. I hated what I was, I hated what I did, I hated what I represented; but most of all, I hated that the legacy I would leave behind as a De Lange was that of an attempted rapist and a rat.
There is a mystery to solve. A who-dunnit?
“Don’t hold back,” he whispered. “When you interrogate, don’t hold back. Pull fingernails off, rip skin, use hammers; get as graphic and scary as you can. Because if we don’t figure this shit out soon -"
Nixon is definitely a leader. A boss. He had me peeking through my fingers at what he must do, to get answers.
My words held a double meaning. My asking what I could do for him. He knew who I was; he knew what my family did. I always chose my words carefully for that very reason. Most people asked for favors in public - not in private. So the art of deception was my specialty. If he answered that he needed something taken care of, then I’d know he wanted to deal with Nixon Abandonato, mafia boss.
Sometimes I wondered what normal would be like.
Careful how you answer, Faust. I wouldn’t hesitate to slice you open where you sit.”
Mr. Ryan was waiting in the hall. “Do I even want to know?”
“Nah...” I shook my head and offered him a smile. “That may just get you killed.”
This installment definitely picked up what I thought was possibly missing from Elite. It gave me that sense of believability, what was more real with the life these lads lead, what these lads are capable of. They can do what is necessary to get answers. They will have done terrible, violent things in the past because they were ordered to.
“Living in a constant state of fear wasn’t living - it was hell on earth.”
“Let’s make a pact.” Chase put his hand on my shoulder.
“A pact?” I sniffled and turned to him. “What kind of pact?”
“One that’s forever. One that protects people rather than hurts them.”
“How do we do that?” I was suddenly interested. What if I could make all the hurt go away? What if I could save everyone!
“We do this.” Chase pulled out his pocketknife and cut open his hand, then nodded to me to do the same thing. Without pausing I cut open my hand and handed back the knife. “Blood brothers. We’re never gonna hurt each other and we’re gonna save those like your ma, Nixon. Ones who can’t save themselves. We’re going to protect them.”
“How?” I watched as the blood dripped from my open palm.
“Rules.” Chase shrugged. “They keep people safe, right? At least that’s what my mom says.” He smiled. “We make rules and we start our own club. That way, we don’t have to listen to anyone but us.”
I liked it. I chewed on my lower lip. “What do we call ourselves?”
“The chosen?” Chase offered.
“No, that sounds lame. We have to sound… more powerful than that.”
My eyes flickered to the road, and a sign poked into the ground. It said election. “Elect.” I pointed. “Let’s call ourselves The Elect.” It made sense; after all, the president was elected, wasn’t he? We weren’t exactly chosen, but we were making the choice, we were electing ourselves protectors. That’s what we were.
“Who else can join?” Chase asked.
“Tex and Phoenix. They’ll want to.” A weight suddenly felt like it was being lifted off my twelve-year-old shoulders. “Should we shake on it?”
“Yeah.” Chase smashed his hand against mine as our blood mixed. “No going back, Nixon.”
“No.” I shook my head. “No going back.”
I pressed my fingers to my temples and watched, replaying that moment over and over again in my head as the outline of Chase and Tracey flickered in the moonlight. Would he really do this to me? After all the shit we’d been through?
I gauged her reaction, hoping that I would be wrong. Praying to God that Trace would just this once listen to me. Her eyes flickered with interest for a few brief seconds before she looked down at the ground.
“Shit.” I waited in the shadows. A part of me knew this would happen. The part that told me to damn my feelings to hell and ignore all the warning signs that I’d been seeing. But now it seemed like it was too late. I stayed, planted where I was, watching, waiting.
“Chase, you can’t…” Trace shook her head. “You can’t be like this. We can’t do this!”
“We aren’t doing anything,” Chase said in low tones, reaching for Trace’s hand. “Don’t you?” He looked directly at me, although all he saw was a shadow. I knew I was well hidden. “Don’t you feel the same way?”
Trace jerked her hand away from Chase’s. “It doesn’t matter what I feel. It’s not about me, Chase.”
“But it is.” Chase reached for her again. This time her hand grasped his in such an intimate embrace I thought I was going to vomit all over the ground. The outside air was cold as hell as little pieces of ice tried to find their way into my wool coat.
“It isn’t.” Trace sighed. “It never was.”
Chase jerked her toward him. She fell against his chest and looked up into his eyes. “What are you doing?”
Chase sighed. “What I should have done a long time ago.” He grabbed the back of her head and pulled her in for a kiss. Their lips touched.
I had to look away.
The only sound in the night was that of my soft footsteps as I walked away… leaving my heart in broken pieces where I’d last stood. She was lost to me; it wasn’t even the Sicilians that had taken her, but my best friend.
A gunshot rang out loud and clear in the night air. I turned back around just in time to see Trace collapse into Chase’s arms.
Author’s Social Networking links:
Barnes and Noble
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
SIGNED Forever gift bag, Signed PRINT copy of ELITE
(to catch you up on the series!)
5 WINNERS: 5 digital copies of ELITE