Family meant everything.
Good, bad, right, wrong, legal, illegal—none of that mattered when it came to family. Family was and always would be number one.
Catarina Lambardoni stayed on the legal side of the family businesses by running Lambardoni Enterprises. Professionally, she was beyond successful. In her personal life, however, she was not, having just walked in on her boyfriend cheating on her.
Jag Maratelli, the boss’s right hand, worked extremely hard to sustain his position in the family and honored it with his life. When he was summoned to the East Coast for an unexpected meeting, a chance encounter with Catarina and one look into the fire within her made him a very determined man.
The chemistry between the two scorched hot, and Jag had been with enough women to know Catarina was something special, something he couldn’t allow himself to walk away from. Life had other ideas, though, when a betrayal in the family sent him two thousand miles away from her while danger lurked closer than anyone realized.
Would their connection be strong enough for both of them to pursue more?
Or would people and events from the past and present make that choice for them?
It took me a bit to get into Blood & Loyalties as I didn’t initially find Catarina to be a character I really connected with. However, once the story progressed she became a lot more appealing. Jag was that hot combination of badass and romantic.
The relationship between Catarina and Jag develops fast and furious. They have a shared connection through ‘the family’, which is good for them – shared history and an understanding of where each other is coming from without having to have that awkward ‘I can’t tell you anything’ conversation; and bad for them – Catarina is one of two family princesses and protected by her father, brothers, and cousins. Jag lives and works on the west coast and Catarina resigns herself to a short term fling, even though she falls for him hard.
The conflict in Blood & Loyalties comes when Catarina is blackmailed into ending her relationship with Jag. Of course, she doesn’t tell her family, who could help her and figure out who is blackmailing her. For once, I actually go it – why she didn’t tell her family. The author did a great job of explaining Catarina’s fear and anger so instead of thinking she was being a stupid girl, I understood why she chose not to involve her family.
I’ve never known anyone in the mob or mafia so I am in no way shape or form an expert, but at times the characters seemed a bit cliché – the ‘godfather-esque father and uncle, the hot-headed younger brother, the bodyguards, etc, but it wasn’t to the point that it was comical or farcical.
Overall, I enjoyed Blood & Loyalties and you should definitely add it to your TBR list.
***ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review***