Taken by the Jakhua Clan as a teen, 194 was stripped of his name, his identity, and his freewill, meticulously honed to be a ruthless, soulless killing machine, trained solely to spill blood and stop hearts. This is a role he resents with every fiber of his being, but one he embraces to gain back the precious leverage the Georgians wield as their weapon of control: his younger sister, 152.
Zoya Kostava is in shock. After fleeing her mafia family’s massacre in Georgia as a child, Zoya lives in secret, hiding from her enemies in the dark shadows of Manhattan. At age twenty-five, believing all her family is dead, word reaches Zoya that her brother Zaal is very much alive… and living with their family’s greatest enemy: the Volkov Bratva in Brooklyn.
Yearning to be reunited with her beloved Zaal, Zoya risks her safety and anonymity for the brother she had mourned since childhood. But just as she reaches Zaal’s apartment, Zoya is seized and taken captive by a strange man, who is strong, dark, and brutal… Unyielding, he demands her utter obedience as he locks her away in darkness. He is highly skilled in torture and inflicting pain, and demands to know everything about her brother Zaal and everything about her. He is a man that’ll do anything to get what he wants.
Sometimes love requires the sacrifice and betrayal of those held most dear. But is finding one’s true love worth committing the greatest sacrifice of all?
*I received a copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Tillie Cole has become a master at toeing that fine line between darkness, and acceptable savage. A woman who thought she lost everything, and a man who believed there was no hope.
When Zaal takes Zoya he has no idea what he’s in for. All his life he’s been thought that Georgians are the enemy, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get his answers. Though he did not count on Zoya actually making him feel, emotions he has long-buried. Feelings he’s unfamiliar with, and she draws them out.
Zaal will never be a gentle soul, too much has happened for that. Tragedy clouds Zoya’s past, and while she’s been alive all these years, she has never lived. Now forced together with this brute, she will have to steel herself against the physical pain he will throw upon her. Though in time she can see behind the drugged up eyes of Zaal, see the torture and pain that he hides.
In this extreme situation, these two broken souls slowly grow together. Cut off from the outside world they explore this connection. I do have to say that at times it felt a bit Stockholm Syndrome to me, though in the end I still feel very content over their happiness.
By now I do feel a bit of a repeat in these stories, as in a lot of the same elements come back again, and again. Still I very much enjoyed reading Zaal and Zoya’s story, I was completely caught up in it, and had trouble putting it down.