Series: The Game Makers #1
on 6th May 2014
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He makes the rules…
Mafiya enforcer Aleksei “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.
Rules are made to be broken…
Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.
Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true…
Natalie Porter, a post-grad student studying for a PhD in history, never expected for her search for her biological parents to get her involved with the Russian mafiya. But when her birth father, Pavel Kovalev, learns of her existence, he sends his most trusted enforcer to protect her and bring her back to her homeland. It’s a long way from the corn fields of Nebraska to the palatial mansion her father calls home in Russia in more ways than just geographical distance.
Enter Aleksandr Sevastyan. He’s not like any man Natalie has ever encountered before. Dark and mysterious with an air of lethal danger surrounding, Sevastyan tempts Natalie on a primal level. He is almost like a son to her father and off-limits but sometimes it’s the forbidden fruit which is the most enticing.
The Professional is an incredibly hot read. The sexual chemistry between Natalie and Sevastyan is intense and erotic. Their sensual interactions are a highlight of this book with the two burning up the sheets (or the sauna!) whenever they got together.
But outside of a sexual relationship, Natalie and Sevastyan didn’t seem to have a lot in common. As a darkly intense alpha male, Sevastyan is fairly stereotypical. He’s not used to not having his orders followed in a timely fashion and as a result he doesn’t quite know how to deal with Natalie. His behaviour towards her went back and forth between treating her like a princess and using her as his play thing. Normally when reading an erotic novel I find myself falling for the leading male but Sevastyan is fairly bland in terms of personality. He only came alive during the intense sexual scenes with Natalie. And there is my main problem with the novel.
Natalie and Sevastyan didn’t have an emotional connection outside of sex. For me, this kind of book works best when the characters are emotionally involved with each other and not just when they’re sweaty. I wanted to believe they were falling in love but even by the end I didn’t get that feeling from either Natalie or Sevastyan. But that said – I still enjoyed this book without that connection. This is well written erotica. Deep and dark at times with Natalie embarking on a journey of sexual domination and submission, The Professional is a tasteful interpretation of this kind of relationship especially when compared with others I have read.
I liked the Russian angle of this book. Natalie’s father being a vor and being involved in the mafiya is something I’ve not read before. I liked the use of the Russian language throughout the novel and it added an extra something to the novel. Natalie manages to maintain her sense of humour throughout all she has to face. Trying to push Sevastyan to show more of his history and feelings isn’t an easy job but Natalie copes admirable. Her conversations with best friend Jess offer up some of the most humorous lines in the book and nicely contrasted the darker type of relationship Natalie shared with Sevastyan.
Overall, The Professional is a sexually intense and well written read. There’s a lot of variety in the erotic nature, the characters are interesting and whilst the romance lacked a certain something I enjoyed reading Natalie and Sevastyan’s journey. Domination, pain and pleasure – the darker side of kink – are all explored in this book in a tasteful way and I’m excited to see where Kresley Cole takes this series in the future.
Thanks to Simon and Schuster for the review copy.