Antonio is a killer. He's beautiful, educated, a prodigy of a thief and as violent a motherfucker as ever came of the boat from Napoli.
Theresa knows it, but that doesn't stop her from getting emotionally and physically entangled with him, and this is how, maybe, she got it in her head that she can protect him.
But it's not her job to save him, and she's just not getting that. Every time she tries to protect him, she practically gets him killed, and the tighter he grips her, the more dangerous she becomes.
It's almost as if...well, he'd never admit this....but it's almost as if protecting her the way he does is the one thing he should stop. As if the only way he's ever going to find a moment's peace is to just embrace her as a partner, rather than a defenseless creature.
But he'd never do that. Not this violent motherfucker.
WARNING: This book contains delicious sex scenes with a hot man dirty-talking in Italian; women handling firearms and explosives; and scenes of violence with a crystal Virgin Mary cigarette lighter.
Ruin by C.D. Reiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
5 I need some Valerian after reading this STARS
“His lips were a promise, a blood bond, a kiss of greeting and goodbye, and the years in between.”
I know, I know...I'm late. Tell me something I don't know. But I'm cleaning out my TBR and this one was right on top of my must reads. So, I did a little Spin re-read first and my god, it's even better the second time around.
Suffice to say that I was beyond excited to start Ruin. And it didn't disappoint.
I love C.D. Reiss and her Songs of Submission series, but the Songs of Corruption series is something else. The mafia/organised crime romance trope is one of my all time favourites and Ruin is actually the second book I read in this particular genre this month. I was certain the first one would be my BOTM, but I'm beginning to think Ruin will win the spot in the end.
Ok, but let's see what the Capo and his Contessa are up to.
“Maybe I enrich his life. Maybe I drag him down. I don’t know, because I don’t know what love is anymore. I only know that no man has ever loved me like he does. If love is part of our better natures, he’s a saint. And if it’s part of our basest instincts, he’s an animal.”
At the end of Spin Theresa decided to go all in and completely commit to Antonio. Problem is that since the Capo broke with Paulie, his former business partner, his whole operation is a bit up in arms and Theresa is anything but safe. On top of that she left her job and doesn't really communicate with her family or friends.
In order to keep her from harm, Antonio put her into an apartment and pretty much controls her every move, communication and decision making. Naturally the Contessa is going stir crazy. She is an independent woman and after breaking up with Daniel and hooking up with Antonio she had a taste of freedom and being a little on the wild side. So the last thing she needs is being cooped up and spending her days waiting for her lover to come home.
I absolutely love how Ms. Reiss starts this instalment off. Antonio and Theresa are at an impasse. They want to be together, there is this scorching chemistry between them that prohibits them to keep on any kind of clothing as soon as they are within each others space. But the desire doesn't help the problems they are facing. 'Cause both are willing to go to extremes to make this happen. Talking about a toxic relationships.
Antonio is trying to keep his head above water, navigating his way through the family business and trying to stay alive while he does it. But the Italian Mob is just one part of the problem; Daniel, Theresa's ex-fiancée, DA and candidate for mayor of L.A. is trying to get him arrested and he is not afraid to use any means necessary, even if he has to take Theresa down as well.
“We weren't going to last, not as a couple. Not as lovers or sinners. She loved me. I owned her. Her heart was branded with my name. But she'd loved before, and she'd survived. She'd leave me as a matter of practicality.”
They are worlds apart and yet they can't seem to let each other go. For the most part I was anxious reading this book because just as these two love-birds it is hard to not get invested in their unusual and yet beautifully tragic love story, but in the end I never really could imagine a way out. They are under attack from all sides and they don't appear to be winning.
“She was my second chance to be whole and clean, and to have a life I'd failed at.I wasn't losing her.But I was.”
I loved that we got both Theresa's and Antonio's POV this time around. It was really fascinating to get into his head and learn about his past, his plans and loyalties. Just a really well rounded and complicated character.
“My God. You have the heart of a capo, do you know that? You could have brought Sicily to its knees. No don would stand against you.”
Theresa on the other hand went a little cuckoo. I'm not sure when it happened exactly but at some point she just went 'fuck it all'. The Contessa is very single minded and determined to make her relationship with Antonio happen. She is like a little kid who doesn't want to let go of her favourite toy. How she is willing to cut off her old life without so much as a glance back is a bit scary and yet quite romantic...if you're into that sort of thing. And I'm not even sure it's Antonio's fault, corrupting her. I think she always had it in her and he just helped to let the madness fly.
“I dragged you into hell. Now I have to get you out in one piece.”
By now I really don't need to tell you how amazing Ms. Reiss's writing is. She has a way with words and her world building is remarkable. This was such and intense read and I had this constant feeling that our dear love-birds were digging themselves a bigger hole with every decision they make and my anxiety level went higher by the minute.
I love the battle between loyalties, family, business and love. Boundaries are broken, obligations disregarded. Quite a few sheets are set on fire...metaphorically speaking. All in all a wonderfully stressful read.
Ruin is one of those books you can't out down. It sucks you in, completely messes up your emotions and spits you out in the end. I have absolutely no clue what is happening and I have not the slightest idea how they will get out of this humongous clusterfuck, but I sure will tune in to see what happens next. But apparently I have to wait until summer and I'm really not ok with that.