Having a Russian hero is always a nice start. But it has to meet other qualifications, and I'd say Theodora Taylor did that very well. The beginning has one of the best openings I've read in a romance for a while. The language is almost lyrical in those scenes. I have to say that Alexei is just about scrumptious. He's fierce and dangerous/lethal-vibed, but he's also a teddy bear deep down. That combination is so irresistible. I liked very much how Alexei was three-dimensional. While part of him really despised Eva, and was determined to hurt her and get revenge, his heart didn't want that, and he'd never truly stopped loving her. He was very sighworthy. There is no question that Eva is the right woman for him, and I felt his pain and unresolved feelings over their breakup deeply, even though I wasn't sure that Eva was 100% to blame as he thought.
Eva was very likable. She is one of those people that you can't help but like if you spend more than five minutes together. I think her parents didn't realize how lucky they are to have her, considering how terrible they acted towards her. I figured she had a good reason for leaving Alexei, but my jaw dropped when it's revealed why she did. For some reason, I wasn't expecting that. You might say, 'well, duh,' but it was a surprise to me. I normally don't like the plot that is a huge aspect of this book, but I can understand why Eva chose to make that decision, and I like how it was dealt with between Eva and Alexei.
Deep down, I will always be a Harlequin Presents geek. I loved that this has many of the HP tropes that I dig, but with a dangerous twist. And with a black heroine! That's just about perfect for me. I liked how Alexei was wining and dining Eva, but he was also wooing her by doing couple stuff. And having South Padre Island as a rendezvous was a bit novel.
So why not five stars? I doesn't quite feel like a fiver to me. I think a large part was the rough sexual language. I am not a big fan of that, honestly. I think the love scenes were very steamy, but I could have done without the big words that seem obligatory in a steamy romance book nowadays. Personal preference. Thankfully, Taylor keeps the love scenes kink-free (wipes brow). I would have regretted if I had never gotten to meet Alexei just because the book was too kinky for me. Also, it could have been a tad longer. I think that for its shorter length, it was a satisfying story, but this easily could have been longer with more depth.
I'm so picky with five star ratings lately. If I wasn't getting so stingy, this could have been a five. But it was darn close.
Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.
Thanks so much to Teneatha for the Kindle Loan!