TITLE: Dirty Angels (Dirty Angels #1)
AUTHOR: Karina Halle
SYNOPSIS & WARNING
For Luisa Chavez, a twenty-three year old former beauty queen, a better life has always been just out of her reach. Sure, she’s had men at her feet since she was a young teenager but she’s never had the one thing she’s craved – security. Having grown up in near poverty, her waitressing job in Cabo San Lucas can barely let her take care of herself, let alone her ailing parents. Every day is another unwanted advance, every day is a struggle to survive.
When Salvador Reyes, the depraved leader of a major Mexican cartel, takes an interest in her, Luisa is presented with an opportunity she can’t afford to pass up. She’ll become Salvador’s wife and exchange her freedom and body for a life of riches – riches she can bestow upon her deserving parents. But Luisa quickly finds out that even the finest wines and jewels can’t undo the ugliness in her marriage, nor the never-ending violence that threatens her every move.
Soon, Luisa is looking for an escape, a way out of the carefully controlled life she’s leading. She finally gets her wish in the worst way possible.
As it is, being the wife of Salvador makes her an ideal target for rival cartels and there’s one particular man who needs Luisa as part of his cartel’s expansion. One particular man whose quest for power has destroyed lives, slit throats and gotten him out of an American prison. One particular man who will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.
That man is Javier Bernal. And he wants Luisa. He wants to take her, keep her, ruin her.
Unless she ruins him first.
***WARNING*** This book deals with drug cartels and as such it contains a lot of sex and violence and some violent sex. It can get pretty ugly, pretty dark and pretty crazy. There is drug use, abuse, a bit of torture and dubious consent. The hero is not a hero and the villains...well, they're even worse. If this sort of thing bothers you, PLEASE DO NOT READ IT. This ain't no cupcake farting unicorn kind of book. If you are even a bit squeamish about violence, brutality and rape, this is your warning to stay away from a book that you certainly will not like (and why read books that you know you won't like?)***
***While this is a spin-off of The Artists Trilogy, prior knowledge of the books is not needed. DIRTY ANGELS is the first in a trilogy, however each book can standalone and follows or introduces different characters***
So this is my first Karina Halle read. I've got stacks of her books on my kindle, but I just hadn't got around to reading them.
So I started with Dirty Angels, no idea if that is a good starting point, but it was good for me. I loved this book!
Granted I have read a lot of books, that skate around this subject lately, but Dirty Angels, took it's own spot in the running, and was miles ahead in my opinion.
That was obviously partly down to the incredible writing style, and partly down to just a fantastically addictive story.
So Dirty Angels is apparently a spin off from KH's older series, The Artists Trilogy, which I obviously haven't read. So I panicked a little, that I would need to have read that series. Luckily I didn't need to. Yes a character had crossed over, but this wasn't linked to that series, so I felt comfortable with the background.
Luisa, is a beautiful, selfless Mexican girl. She works hard to take care of her parents, who are unable to take care of themselves. Luisa has always put others first, and never fully enjoyed life, the way she would of liked to. But, she doesn't dwell on that.
Luisa lives in a world where, Cartels and drug lords are common faces around her. She words in a bar, with a scummy boss, who likes to take advantage.
One day, Luisa's life begins to take a different turn, when the most wanted and feared man in Mexico, Salvadore Reyes. Leader of the largest, most corrupt Cartel, sets his sight on Luisa.
He offers her the opportunity, to allow her parents to live in luxury, to be taken care of by specialists, and not have to worry for anything.
But, Luisa would have to marry Salvadore, and be his trophy wife.
Luisa decides to accept, as she feels she has no other choice, as nobody turns down Salvadore, and lives to tell the tale. Plus she give to her parents, the security they have never had.
So begins her new life, as the wife of the notorious cartel leader.
It's obviously not all hearts and roses. Salvadore is a much older, and very twisted individual. He walks hand in hand with pain, and believes his new wife, lives to serve him, and do exactly what he wants of her.
But she doesn't have to endure that hell for too long, before another hell steps in.
Upon trying to escape Salvadore, with her carefully thought out plan. She didn't factor in, a rival cartel gang, abducting her before she actually leaves the grounds.
So now Luisa is a hostage. She is the bargain tool. Rival cartel boss Javier Bernal, has taken Luisa, and plans to trade her back to Salvadore, in place for something he wants of his.
"My darling. You're going to be my undoing."
Except his plans didn't factor in the effect Luisa would have on him.
“I will break you.”
“Then do your worst. And you will see that the worst has already been done.”
So that is my summary, and I can't go any further without potential spoilers.
This books was incredibly gritty, and dark. When I first started reading it, it skated around dodgy issues, or scenes that could of been potentially nasty. So I just assumed it was keeping on the edge of being a fully dark and nasty story. How wrong I was.
If you are in any way squeamish, or have an aversion to any scenes of a dubious nature, this book is probably not best for you.
I absolutely loved it!!
I always look for stories that push my boundaries. Make me feel uncomfortable, and shock the hell out of me. It's how I escape and step away from the norm.
So when I started reading Dirty Angels, and thought that it was perhaps a more tame version of a cartel/hostage style story. I was quite surprised, when the story steps up a notch, with some chosen scenes, that actually blow any other shockers, I have read recently, fully out of the water.
Throughout this story, I felt on the edge, not sure what to expect, and what would happen next. It was full of twists and turns, and crazy shockers. The atmosphere was a mixture of darkly chilling, and then sizzling hot with chemistry.
I went from stomach churning, to hot and bothered in the blink of a page. It was that exciting.
I think what made it so incredibly intense, was the faultless writing style of KH. She managed to drag the reader in to the story, and almost feel like you are in the back of each room, watching. Which isn't always the best, with some scenes. :-/
I loved the characters, Luisa went from being someone, who you wanted to shout at, to have some self preservation, but then felt in awe of how she could do a 180, and become so strong and awe inspiring.
Javier, was awesome!! Totally in control of every situation, to the point of actually being scary. I would sit thinking, wow if he is capable of 'that' I wouldn't want to get on his bad side. Of course besides the black and gritty edge to him, he was also stupidly sexy, oozing sex with every word and move. I loved him so much, I actually want to go and read, The Artists Trilogy now. I haven't got enough of Javier, just yet.
All round amazing surprise read. The feelings and thoughts I had when I first started reading, were blown to pieces after the first chunk. This book was intense, dark, sexy, and very dirty!!
“You must feel your soul is dirty then.”
“Oh, my darling. No, I don’t even have a soul.”