Monday, August 15, 2016

Ruthless (Lawless #1) by Lexi Blake @authorlexiblake

4.5 Stars

Lexi Blake is one of my favorite BDSM novelist and the absolute best when it comes to writing erotic stories that are not only off the charts steamy, but intriguing as well. Yeesh, found within the pages of her books are some of the sexiest flogger-wielding Alpha-Doms ever. (I freaking love all the McKay-Taggart hotties in the Masters and Mercenaries novels). When finding out there was a new series coming along, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the first installment, Ruthless.

Even though Riley and Ellie’s romance was a departure from Blake’s BDSM style that I adore, it was no less captivating. Ruthless had everything I love whenever reading this author’s tales ~ an exceptionally written nail biting story line whose plot twists had me on edge; An un-be-lievably hot yet romantically sweet hero; a sassy heroine; And a cast of colorful characters that left me wanting to discover their stories. From the emotionally heartbreaking prologue that had me all teary-eyed, through to the last page, Ruthless was an angst filled passionate read that I consumed in just one sitting.

As children, Riley Lawless and his siblings suffered the horrific tragedy of their parents’ murder, which was rooted by corporate greed. After years of plotting and positioning, it was time for those responsible to pay for their crimes. It was Riley’s responsibility to insinuate himself into Eleanor Stratton’s company and seduce her. Her firm, StratCast, was founded on stolen technology and his parents’ blood shed. Regardless of the fact that Ellie was not directly responsible for the Lawless’ death, she was instrumental in the grand scheme.
“The sins of the father were about to be visited on the daughter’s doorstep. Ellie Stratton would have to pay her father’s debt.”

Using her was just part of the plan. Consumed with vengeance, Riley was ruthless in his pursuit of bringing down his targets but surprised when the unthinkable happened… he fell hopelessly in love with Ellie.

“I love you, Ellie. I'm going to say it until you understand that I mean it. This started out as a job, as a path I've been on since the night my parents died. But it led me to you, and though I wish my mom and dad were here with me, I have to be happy that I found you.”

The chemistry between this couple was scorching. With their whirlwind insta-romance starting off hot and heavy, but based on Riley’s secrets and lies, I found myself anxiously holding my breath waiting for everything to unravel as the story progressed. All the passion and deceits frayed my nerves.  On top of all the relationship angst, there were plot twists, bad guys and circumstances that had me on edge as well. Secrets, betrayals, murderous plots, unending suspense… with each revelation more questions arose as I became fully immersed within Riley and Ellie’s story. I just love when a book is so gripping, each intricate detail has a meaning, and I’m forced to pay close attention while piecing together the puzzle. Ruthless was exactly that type of read.

Riley was delectably sexy and so tenderhearted, he had me swooning. A shrewd lawyer with a plan of attack, he was fueled by his family’s need for justice. I loved the way his character journeyed from the stone cold man solely focused on revenge, to a true and dedicated hero willing to sacrifice everything for Ellie. And when her world came crumbling down, it was Riley who came to her rescue. Desperate for her forgiveness and affections, Riley worked hard to right the all wrongs that destroyed Ellie, despite his family’s thirst for vengeance. Once deceptive and later sincere, he won me over with his overly romantic ways.
 “He'd seen everything he loved lost at one point or another, but she was different. He couldn't lose her.”

Poor Ellie. She was everyone’s pawn and so eager to trust those who were part of her close circle. Friends, colleagues, family… all took advantage of her sympathetic heart. A businesswoman with ethics, Ellie found herself surrounded by conniving vipers, including the man of her dreams. Living a lonely life, she took a chance on Riley, which in the end shattered her to pieces.

As naive and insecure as she first appeared, Ellie developed a backbone when her life spun out of control, and I admired the way she stubbornly stood her ground against those who betrayed her. But above all, Ellie was compassionate and regardless of her dire circumstances, she opened her heart to the entire Lawless clan. In the end, her love for Riley was genuine ~ she was the perfect woman to break through all of his defenses and help heal past heartaches.

Ruthless was an extremely intense novel that had all the feels. I loved the McKay-Taggart connection and the Lawless family dynamics. Riley and Ellie’s journey was just the beginning of an intricate story line and I can’t wait for it to continue in Brandon and Andrew’s romances. Another great read from Lexi Blake and a perfect choice for lovers of steamy romantic suspense.

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