The sixth book in the internationally bestselling Eagle Elite Series.
*Interconnected Stand Alone*
Twenty-Four hours before we were to be married--I offered to shoot her.
Ten hours before our wedding--I made a mockery of her dying wish.
Five hours before we were going to say our vows--I promised I'd never love her.
One hour before I said I do--I vowed I'd never shed a tear over her death.
But the minute we were pronounced man and wife--I knew.
I'd only use my gun to protect her.
I'd give my life for hers.
And I would, most definitely, lose my heart, to a dying girl---a girl who by all accounts should have never been mine in the first place.
I always believed the mafia would be my end game--where I'd lose my heart, while it claimed my soul. I could have never imagined. It would be my redemption.
Or the beginning of something beautiful.
The beginning of her.
The end of us.
Elude by Rachel Van Dyken from Becca the Bibliophile on Vimeo.
"You weren't kidding about those mimosas." Andi yawned behind her hand as we walked through Lincoln Park. I'd originally thought to take her to the zoo since she had that odd fascination with animals, but after seeing how tired she was, I decided to save it for another day.
"Well…" I held in my chuckle. "…when you have five of them…"
"I had three." She held up four fingers.
"Good to know you're just fine." I laughed. "Should I carry you?"
"Probably." She gave me a dopey grin. "But I think I can at least make it to the car."
"It's about a mile away."
"Oh." Her face fell.
"How about a piggyback ride?" I offered lamely, hating that a simple walk to the car was making her sad because she was so exhausted.
She stopped walking and crossed her arms. "Riding a cowboy was on the list."
"I'm not following."
"Talk to me in a southern accent, and I'll imagine a cowboy hat on that gorgeous head of hair and boom… I'm riding a cowboy."
I pinched the bridge of my nose. "Andi, I have so many different scenarios that would fit perfectly with that statement. None of them, however, include me carrying you through the park while singing 'Achy Breaky Heart.'"
"Oh good. You know it then?"
"I need to learn the art of silence."
"Probably true." She nodded.
"And teach it to you," I added.
"Aw, come on cowboy…"
I rolled my eyes and turned around so she could jump onto my back. "Should I find a park bench, or can you actually jump this high?"
"Never ask a ninja if she can jump — it's degrading."
"My mistake. I thought you were a short Russian masquerading as a baker. Go ahead, ninja. Jump."
She did, probably using the rest of the energy she had left. Her arms wrapped around my neck tightly. "Mush."
"I thought I was a horse."
"I changed my mind. Girls can do that on occasion."
Damn, the girl made me smile. The afternoon sun was starting to set as we walked along the path. Andi was encouraging me to use a southern accent in her most Russian accent.
And I was trying to pay attention to our surroundings, just in case we'd somehow been followed.
I thought we were in the clear until we reached the edge of the park. I could see the street, and immediately regretted that simple fact the minute two black sedans pulled up to the curb.
Five men got out.
Two from the first car.
Three from the second.
Andi tensed behind me.
"Andi." I kept my smile in place like there wasn't anything wrong. "Got any energy left?"
"Enough." She shuddered behind me.
"My gun," I whispered. "It's in the back of my pants. Reach between your legs and slide it up so nobody sees."
"You know in any other situation…" she muttered as I felt the gun slide up my back.
"Good," I encouraged. "The minute I put you down I want you to aim for the guy to the left. Don't shoot for the head. Hit his kneecap so he goes down. If he reaches for his gun—"
"This isn't my first rodeo, cowboy."
"You're right. I forget."
"I'm good. Don't worry about me."
The tension left my body. "I won't. Just don't get shot. I hate having to sew up bullet wounds."
"Please." I could feel the energy riding off her body. "You owe me a massage if my body count's higher."
"So now it's a competition?"
"Russians rarely lose."
"Well, you should get used to it. Because this Italian's going to hand you your ass."
"I'd like to see you try."
The men were trying to look nonchalant, outside their cars, smoking cigars like they weren't waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack.
"One," I whispered.
Andi slid farther down my back. "Two."
"Three." The word fell from my lips just as I ducked to the right. Andi went to my left and popped off two rounds directly into the guy's kneecaps — not just one, but both of them. A crunching sound broke out across the park as he fell on bones, cracking them further. He wailed in pain and surprisingly didn't reach for his gun.
Three of the men started charging me. Gun less, I could only rely on the fact that my fists were just as deadly as any gun could be, and I punched the first man in the throat then turned and elbowed the next. They stumbled back. Another gunshot went off. Andi was seriously picking them off like she was shooting fish in a bucket.
The three men turned their heads to glare at her. Then, rather than attacking, came at me again.
Surprised, I was knocked in the face by the first guy but sidestepped the next hit then landed a hard blow to his stomach followed by a knee to the groin. With a growl, I head-butted the next guy then punched him in the jaw; the sound of teeth breaking was my only indication that he'd be down for the count.
The final man circled me.
"Let me get him," Andi pleaded behind me.
"He's mine," I barked.
The man shrugged and held up his hands. "You should let girl do your work."
I rolled my eyes. "I'll never hear the end of it."
"Andi," the man called, "why not come with us, huh? You've done job. Time to come home."
"Job?" I repeated.
Andi came up beside me and aimed the gun for his forehead. "I've never worked for you."
"Oh?" The man chuckled and glanced at me. "He knows as well as I know… you are never out."
"Please let me pull the trigger."
The man ran at us.
I ducked then heaved my body into his, sending him backward against the park bench. Punch after punch I landed to his face, his blood mixing with the slices breaking out on my knuckles.
The sound of sirens interrupted my blatant mutilation of his body.
"Serg…" Andi kicked me. "…gotta disappear."
I backed up, chest heaving. "Right."
★★★★ 1/2 stars
It's no secret I'm a huge fan of Rachel Van Dyken's Elite Series. Each book has gotten successively better and the action and twists have gotten bigger. I was looking really looking forward to enjoying Elude and seeing Sergio redeem himself as well as see what new antics the family was involved in now.
This story is nothing like I was expecting and days later I'm still thinking about what I read. Andi and Sergio made a great couple. I loved seeing Andi tease Sergio. She was light to his dark. I loved her attitude. She has so much going on, yet she chose to always smile and enjoy the moment. Sergio on the other hand was wracked with guilt from past deeds and didn't feel like he deserved anything, let alone have a marriage he didn't want forced on him. I understood where both of them were coming from and it was a lot of fun seeing their different mindsets clash.
I was surprised by how often I laughed while reading this book. This book was humorous no doubt, but also serious, and I appreciated the moments of levity. I wasn't surprised by the tears running unchecked down my face. I may have ugly cried. Okay, there is no "may", I did ugly cry. Even thinking about it now makes me want to cry. I think I experienced an entire range of emotions while reading this book. I loved seeing the "family" all together. In happiness and in need, the young heads of the crime families and their wives, many who've had their stories told in earlier book in the series, all came together and I loved seeing them happy.
Along the way, new characters were introduced and some major plot twists happened that left me reeling. I know they left of people in the story shaken too. While I know I have more books to look forward to which will answer many of my unanswered questions, the story felt incomplete. While this is and isn't the type of story I've come to expect from this series, it does showcase Rachel's range in writing. I'm very eager to see how the Elite series continues from here.
*Thank you to the publicist for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*
About Rachel Van Dyken:
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
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