Empire (Eagle Elite #7) by Rachel Van Dyken

25544961._SY475_I have lost everything.
My purpose.
My love.
My soul.
Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle–the promise I made her, brings me back.
So I breathe.
I live.
I hate.
And I allow the anger to boil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade.
I am broken, I dont want to be fixed.
One last trip to New York, one last chance to redeem a lost part of the mafia family. The Empire is crumbling and it’s my job to fix it, my job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago.
The only issue is, the only way to fix, is to do something I swore I’d never do again.
An arranged marriage.
Only this time.
I won’t fall.
Or so help me God, I’ll kill her myself.
My name is Sergio Abandanoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate–you have no idea.
I am the mafia.
I am the darkness.
Blood in. No out.

MY REVIEW

5 Stars

I skipped Elude… and I don’t regret it.

When Sergio and Andi were introduced in Ember, I was thrilled for their story. And when I read the description of Elude, I was so excited. An arranged marriage in the mafia, yes, please! But then… I read some reviews full of spoilers and found out about Andi’s death.
Sergio falling in love only to lose her, yeah my heart couldn’t bear that. And I didn’t want to get attached to And only to have her die and then for Sergio to marry another.

I’m not that strong. I need a HEA.

So, therefore, I skipped their story and read Empire. And my god, did I love Valentina and Sergio. Especially Val and her whole family. Sergio is left a shell of a man after Andi’s death. When they had married, there was no love, and he vowed not to fall in love; however, he did. Now, he’s broken and nothing like the man he was before. And although his wife is dead, duty doesn’t let you take a day off.

Val is naive and knows nothing of the mafia. She doesn’t know they exist outside of books and movies, and when she finds out that she is the daughter of the once mafia boss, Luca. Not only that, she’s also betrothed to a man in the mafia. Her fiancé is broken, she finds out that his recent wife had just passed and that he’ll never love her.

Val is the most innocent in the group and also very naive, which I found quite funny. She never believed in violence and to then be thrust into a world full of drugs, guns, and murder does things to a person. But Val kept her belief, and her innocence brought only light into Sergio’s dark life. But how do you stay with a man whose hearts belongs to a dead woman? What do you do when that man only pushes and pushes and never gives?

“When you move on with your life, when you find that person, whoever she may be, she isn’t going to remove every last remnant of Andi from your heart. She isn’t going to take over and squeeze out memories. She’s going to fit with them. Live with them. Laugh with them. It’s not a matter of replacing, it’s a matter of joining.”

I understood Sergio and his pain. When you’ve loved and given your heart, how do you let go and move on? When is the right time? And to then be forced into another marriage with a woman so young, how do you not feel guilt.

But Valentina was absolutely perfect and patient. She did not take shit from Sergio and made her place in the group. I loved how all of them were so protective over her and would give Sergio shit for always hurting her.

What if his wife was still alive?
Would he choose her or me?
Who would he keep alive?
Her. Every. Single. Time.

I believe if I’d read Andi’s story with Sergio, I wouldn’t have liked this one as much as I did. I love Sergio’s soft side with Val. How he’s intention was never to hurt or scare her but to only keep her at a distance so that he wouldn’t fall again.

Only he does. And she does. But will he be able to let Andi go and completely give himself to Val?

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