Archive | March 22, 2015

The Bargain, Vargas Cartel 1, Lisa Cardiff

The Bargain, Vargas Cartel 1, Lisa Cardiff
Genre:  Mystery and Thrillers, Romance.
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I’ve found some real gems in this type of read, the captive/capturer one. Karina Halle’s Dirty Angels immediately springs to mind – possibly because of Javier Bernal…oh come on – who’s kidding, of course it’s because of Javier  so I wondered how this one would work out. Its a tough task though, making a violent kidnapper and a drugs/crime background into a love story.
So did it work for me? Well…yes, and no. There were things that went well, and I really got into the story, but then sometimes I just couldn’t see either of the two main characters acting as they did. Whereas in DA it took some time for the relationship to go from hate to love, here its a bit too quick. Its clear Ryker is seriously attractive and Hattie’s really upset after Evan’s betrayal, so the first scene when she’s a bit drunk works well for me, and of course sets the kidnap up. Then she’s a captive, and in real danger if she doesn’t play along. The capture, her reactions and the escape attempts felt very real but…..and this is where it falls down for me, the time span is so short, and she’s still in the mix of hating Ryker and yet wanting him. I just can’t see why he would risk so much. I didn’t feel “the love” between them, certainly the lust on first meeting, but now she knows that was a set up why is she still so ready to let him do whatever he wants – and why does he want to, when he can get sex anywhere, any time? I needed to feel a bit more of a connection between them than just a searing, physical attraction – something that would explain why they both risked so much. In such a short time, just a couple of weeks I just can’t see that happening. If it was a couple of months I could understand more, even 4-6 weeks, there would be time to get to know each other, esp given their scenario where Hattie’s trapped and dependent on Ryker for everything. Here though Ryker gets pulled from the day to day stuff with her after another problem, when his dad decides enough is enough, so he has virtually no contact with her then.
I liked the way the characters were set out, with Hattie being a genuinely nice person, one who’s solid and loyal, and who was devastated by her boyfriend’s infidelity. She’s clearly bright too, and with parents who’re ambitious for her, and I just couldn’t see her throwing all her plans away for someone who she’d known just a couple of days, who’d tricked her, kidnapped her and lead her into real danger into the drugs underworld. Ryker, he’d had a tough upbringing, and yet clawed his way out  into a role where he’s a kind of mercenary, a man for hire for what presumably are some dirty jobs. Now his drug lord father needs him for something, and as its a blood tie, he steps in as ever and helps. That brings Hattie into his eye line and he’s attracted. OK so far but….it’s hard to see why he’d take things further. At times he’s kind to her – well, relatively – given the circumstances, and then he’s promptly an ass, a real jerk, and that gives me the feeling he’s confused, and again with a longer build up that would all work well for me.
Oddly I’ve just reviewed another story, different scene but one where the action again covers a couple of weeks, and the mental turnaround of the main characters is so massive that I felt it too needed more time…maybe its just me, that I need a bit more believability before I can be convinced. Ah well….The end – a couple of real surprises there, that I hadn’t seen coming and  that set up the next book nicely and despite my reservations I do want to read more.
Stars: Three and a half. It’s a mixed bag here but enough to make me want to read more.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers.

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