3.5 charms – This would have probably been a 4 charm book if I had read the previous books in this series but I haven’t and there was a lot of backstory that took place in these books that was referred to. I wasn’t lost but I did feel like I was missing some pieces of the puzzle and that I would have had a deeper understanding of some of the characters had I read the previous books. Although you can read this as a stand alone I don’t think I’d recommend that since I believe the enjoyment level would be higher if you read the previous books.
This book centers around Sloan who is the quieter and usually obedient sibling in an Irish Mafia family. Sloan knows that she is to be married off to another Family for the purpose of an alliance and so with the help of one of her brother’s and his wife she disappears. She just wants a fresh start and to be able to do some of the things she’s never been able to previously. Sloan is staying in a cabin that belongs to her sister in law’s aunt and working for the first time as a waitress at a diner. Her next door neighbor is a gorgeous, mysterious man who has made it obvious he doesn’t want to get to know her but she can’t help but be intrigued.
Jude MacNamara is pretending to be a writer but he’s really there for vengeance and he has no time for the innocent woman who is staying next door. Jude is the last surviving MacNamara and he wants revenge on the family who ordered the slaughter of his father and brothers. His mother raised him to seek retribution and that is his only goal in life. Jude knows that the cabin Sloan is staying at is connected to the family he wants vengeance on but he doesn’t know who she is or how she fits into the picture.
The background of three Irish Mafia families who have ruled the underworld of Boston for generations is fascinating. Things have started to change recently though with the mixing of the families through marriage and the new Russian Family that is trying to move in. Sloan’s family is in a state of flux dealing with the rapid changes of marriage, family members in prison and different goals between siblings.
The dynamic changes once again when Jude discovers who Sloan is. He has a lot of tough decisions to make and forces from varied places pushing him in different directions. He wants Sloan but can he give up his need for revenge in order to keep her safe? I really enjoyed both Sloan and Jude and the chemistry was intense. Jude and Sloan had some hot sex scenes and Jude’s dirty talk was explosive. Sloan was able to go from quiet, obedient good girl to a woman who knew what she wanted and who was willing to go after it. I loved watching her come out of her shell during this story. She has very complicated but loving relationships with her siblings and this book kept me on the edge of my seat to see how it would all play out in the end.
The typical forbidden romance trope took on a new and fresh life in this book and the secondary characters have me wanting to go back and read the previous books. An intense, suspenseful story with complex characters and motivations!