Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: June 28, 2016
Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.
While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now...
With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her...
The moment he saw her shadow, he knew. When their shadows touched, Stefano Ferraro was certain. Francesca Cappello was the woman born for him...But there's the big obstacle of convincing her to give him a chance, to let him take care of her...Forever.
Christine Feehan can write her heroes. Tall, dark, and handsome, brooding, (over)protective, overbearing, possessive, bossy, sometimes (okay, mostly) jackasses, but with a heart of gold, a strict code of honor, and a soft spot (probably the only one they possess) for the woman that is meant to be theirs. Stefano Ferraro was a typical CH hero. He was all of the above and then some. And I loved him to bits. All his "faults" had a motive in his past, everything he did or said had a reason. Yes, he was an overprotective, possessive, bossy ass, but let's be honest here, girls. Who wouldn't want a guy like that? A guy that can be scary and intense, but deep down you know he'd never hurt you, you know he'd cut off his own arm before hurting you. A guy that could and would give you anything you wanted. A guy whose sole purpose in life is make you happy, and keep you safe.
I would and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'd probably hit him over the head every single day of our life together for being a pompous jackass, but I'd keep him and love him anyway. Pity, guys like these exist only in fiction.
But, if Christine Feehan can write her heroes, she makes a muck of her heroines. Sorry to say, Francesca is a typical CH heroine. I'm glad to say she got better once past the half-mark, but at the beginning I loathed her. She was too proud, a stuck-up backward elitist, scared of her own shadow (yes, she had her reasons, but still, come the f*** on!), low self-esteem, downright TSTL in parts...Jesus wept, the woman tried my patience and the initial scenes with her were very hard to read. But, yes, she got better, so there's that.
What the lady also does well, is the action scenes. They were sprinkled throughout the story and they were all great. Intense, gripping...And the last one (the last chapter, actually), was the best of the best. Vividly depicted, intense, chilling...It read like a movie scene. Slightly creepy with all the raging storm and the shadows and everything, but effective. Loved it.
What I didn't love was the similarities with her Dark series, down to the whole large family thing, Stefano (and Fancesca) being the heart of it, the legacy, the "lifemates", the brothers going "dark", the hope of salvation for them all, and the saving of a teenage girl from the clutches of her abusers.
The other thing I didn't like was all the unnecessary ballast in the story. The repetitions were annoying, and the other fillers quickly grew stale (and also repetitive). It bogged the story down, disrupting the flow, stalling the pacing so much some parts were pretty difficult and too slow to read. I liked the story, I liked the characters, and I wanted it to keep moving. With a shorter length, minus all the ballast, concentrating on the main plot and characters, the story would've been much better and much more entertaining.
And now to my pet peeve. The language. Namely, the sporadic Italian. Namely, the endearments in Italian. I loved the endearments, don't get me wrong, and they do sound so good in Italian, but if you want to use them, you have to know them. Direct translation doesn't work. I've never heard (and I've lived by the Italian border all my life, watched their TV shows and movies) anyone use the term "dolce cuore" or "bambina" while addressing someone they like/love. Sure, "sweetheart" and "baby" work in English, but they don't translate directly into Italian. Using them, Stefano sounded positively archaic, and not a twenty-first century man, no matter his caveman tendencies. Something like "tesoro", "dolcezza", or "cucciola" would've worked better...And it would've made me giggle like a teenager with a crush. Instead, whenever an endearment (beside "amore") appeared, I just rolled my eyes with a frustrated huff.
Also, there were some typos (intentional?) with the names and a big grammatical mistake in a sentence, but let's not split hairs, shall we?
Anyway, it was a good story (could've had 5 stars if it weren't for the ballast) and I'll definitely read the following. I just hope the series will be shorter and won't degenerate like all the rest did.