by Faith Summers
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned, and I’m about to do it again …” and with those words, the prologue to this story firmly grabbed my attention. “Deceptive Vows” by Faith Summers is an intense, wild story full of loyalty and betrayal, hot passion and cold hearts, hope and heartbreak … all swirling together amidst the tumultuous underworld of organized crime.
I’m struggling a bit with how to explain this story without giving any spoilers. It’s a complicated book in some ways, although it’s well-written so it’s not hard to follow. There are lots of deceptions going on throughout the pages of this book. For nine years Natalia has been living a miserable life under the control of a vicious cartel leader and his equally horrific daughter. In more recent years it’s become increasingly worse, and the groundwork has been laid for her total destruction. Then suddenly everything gets turned upside down by Mikhail, a hellish Russian bratva leader who looks like a handsome fallen angel. He mistakenly believes Natalia is the daughter of the cartel leader, and she quickly realizes that if she wants to survive, she must let him continue to think that. The false identity turns out to be just part of constant tension that builds and expand as the pages pass by. There were a couple of small parts that seemed repetitive or dragged a little, but overall, I thought the pacing of this action-packed story was good. Some of the twists and turns were seriously startling.
The book is told in dual POV, which is extremely useful in helping us understand the feelings and motivations of the main characters. The combustible chemistry between Mikhail and Natalia is something that shocks them both and may fog up your e-reader. The villains were completely despicable, which made them wonderful in their own way. There were some great secondary characters who also illustrated how sometimes people who society would deem bad are actually also ‘good guys’ – situational perspective matters. There is some violence and organized crime related traumas, but that’s to be expected given the genre. There were times I couldn’t figure out how there could possibly be any kind of happy ending for Mikhail and Natalia, so I was grateful for the epilogue that put such a beautiful finish on the story.