Synopsis: The star: Joley Drake was born with a legacy of unexpected magical gifts, but it was the gift of singing that made her an overnight sensation—a rock and roll goddess trapped by fame, fortune, and ambition. Heated by the flush of success, Joley could have any man she wanted. But there’s only man who can give her what she really needs.
The bodyguard: Ilya Prakenskii, cool, inscrutable, dangerously sexy, and working in the shadow of his infamous reputation—that of a secret Russian hit man on the payroll of a notorious mobster. He’s the last man Joley should get close to, yet when her life is threatened on tour she has nowhere left to turn. But in the seductive safe keep of Ilya’s embrace, is Joley really as secure as she imagines?
Review: The story of Ilya and Joley had a rocky start in the previous books. They really didn’t appear to like each other that much, at least on Joley’s side of it. On Ilya’s side, well, he didn’t give much of anything away ever, so the verdict on whether he liked her was anyone’s guess. That changed during Hannah’s book, for me at least. When he became livid with how she went on national T.V. to show the world that the Reverend was a pervert, and how she hated that he had seen how she acted in order to get the Reverend to confess, showed the beginnings of what could turn out to be a volcanic relationship.
So when their story begins, I was ready for some tense moments, butting of heads, and fights. Joley does not want to acknowledge that she is attracted to Ilya, and Ilya has pretty much come out and bluntly said to her she is his, his alone, and she will just have to accept that. I will admit, his approach was off-putting in the beginning. It came across, sometimes, like he was tormenting her until she gave in, then it became apparent that the “deep-dark secret” Joley has kept from her family is that she needs someone who is very dominant, or she finds them too weak and wants nothing to do with them. So in the end, what she really, truly wants, she is finding very annoying in Ilya. The plot was entertaining and the confllct kept you guessing as to who was behind the attacks against Joley. It had a fun “who-done-it” mystery-vibe going on. The surprises about Nikitin help humanize him in the end. Overall, good read. I did like Hannah and Abbey’s books better, but this comes in third for favorites in the series.
Favorite Quotes 1: When Joley realizes that Ilya has a grim reaper-like aura.
The musical notes representing him clashed and burned with passion and darkness, feeding on violence and swirling with the need to destroy. She wanted to press her fingertips to her eyes, to keep the images from her mind, but there was no escaping the sound and sight.
Breath strangled in her throat, and her heart slammed hard in her chest. Knots formed in her churning stomach. She was looking at the grim reaper. She’d had a brush or two with the death collector, but at that moment, watching the way the colors around him changed, she recognized with a sinking heart what she was seeing.
Ilya could smell her fear. Hell, he could see it on her face. She took two steps away from him, never taking her eyes off of him. Foolish Joley, thinking those meager steps would make her safe. She turned to run toward the front of the bus and what she clearly thought was the safe harbor of her driver’s presence. Ilya caught her when the bus lurched, and she almost went down. Drawing her against him, he caged her between his much larger frame and the door of the closet…
“Why are you suddenly so afraid of me, Joley?”
Favorite Quote 2: A tense moment between Ilya and Joley entitled, “Kiss me, Joly”
“Kiss me, Joley.” His voice was nearly a growl.
She recognized the command. He wouldn’t close that scant inch between them; he was insisting she give herself to him.
“I know.” His hands framed her face, his body shifting even more to blanket hers. “Kiss me now.”
“If I do this, there’s no going back for me. You’re asking me to give myself to you, and I won’t ever be the same.”
One hand, warm and rough, slid down her throat, over the swell of her breast, moved with infinite slowness over her thin shirt to find the hem. Fingers bunched the material and his fist caressed her stomach, still holding her shirt. “Kiss me.”
Molten liquid pooled low and wicked. Inner muscles rippled and heated. His voice was implacable. Imperative. Commanding. The sound sent a shiver down her spine, teased her nipples into hard pebbles. She took a ragged breath. She was so susceptible to him.
“Ilya.” His name came out a raspy whisper. A plea to save her from herself.
His head lowered, his silky hair brushing over her skin like caressing fingers. His lips brushed over her neck just below her ear, tongue licking wickedly, teeth scraping, sending her nerve endings into shock. He lifted his head again, his gaze, hot and hungry, colliding with her desperate one. “Kiss me, Joley. Stop running and kiss me.”
Heat radiated from his body. His need for her surrounded her enclosed her in raw sexual hunger. His song crashed around her, demanding her compliance, terrifying her even as it seduced her. Her womb contracted. Her obsession for him stole her breath. She knew what he was asking–no–demanding. He wanted surrender–complete surrender.
She touched his lips, tracing the firm, warm curves. “Do you know what you’re asking of me? Do you really know who I am?” She was really asking if she was safe, but she could see by his expression he wouldn’t let her get away with that. He insisted on blind trust.
“Damn it, Joley. Fucking kiss me now.”
Favorite Quote 3: Internal dialogue between Joley and Ilya before he has to go to work, entitled “Not Good-Bye”.
He reached out his hand to Joley. She let him pull her to her feet. He caught a glimpse of her surprised expression as he tipped her face up to his and took possession of her mouth. There was no hesitation on her part; she kissed him back, melting into him, giving herself to him the way she always did.
You’re coming back to me. Don’t say good-bye.
I’m not saying good-bye. He tried to be reassuring, but he was saying good-bye. In his business, there were no guarantees, and he had a bad feeling about the night. I’m saying, no matter what, I love you with every breath in my body.