⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 out of 5
Love the kids, hate the parents!
Rake: Finn and Sasha’s story
Finn is the second son of James Carney, but in his father’s eyes he’s just a pawn that he can use when he wants something. Until Finn refuses to do as he’s told, now he’s the son that James Carney treats like a hated employee. He still wants his father’s respect and approval, but at what cost? When he is assigned to take care of the Union Rep that is disrupting the Casino they own, Finn has all kinds of second thoughts about how to go about it.
Sasha is a young woman that is just trying to keep her brother and her in a home by working hard as a Union Representative, but she also has to support her dead-beat dad that treats both of them like they are his slaves and berates them as often as he can. Sasha just wants to help the employees of the Casino to get respect, decent wages, and treated as they are valued employees. When she gets in the cross hairs of James Carney her life is on shaky ground and she has to protect the employees, herself, and her younger brother at all costs.
Finn and Sasha’s story is a captive to lover story. It’s dangerous and intriguing. Sasha stands up to James Carney as well as Finn, she may be shaking on the inside, but she’s strong and hides her fear. After the first encounter with James Carney’s men, she has PTSD, but that doesn’t stop Finn from adding to it. He has a lot to apologize for and find a way to get Sasha to forgive him for them to move on and find a path together because they have figured out that they can’t live their lives without each other in it. Finn will defy his father to make Sasha happy. He no longer cares what his father thinks. He has his own path now and his own plans for a happy life.
Grift: Patrick and Jessica’s story
Patrick is the oldest Carney son and the muscle of the family as well. He doesn’t have the respect of their father either, but he doesn’t seem to mind that. He’s still loyal and will get redemption for the family if someone is stealing from them or hurts one of his siblings. So, when he takes care of a card counter in the back of the casino before he even knows who the person is, he gets reamed by his father and is told he has to marry a woman he’s never met for redemption from the mistake he made by acting now and not asking any questions.
Jessica is the daughter of Senator Kensington and the sister of the card counter. Her father is a huge investor in the Casino and has threatened to pull his support after the mix up of his son being beat to within a hair of his life. Jessica is not a valued member of her family either due to a scandal when she was in college, but the problem is that the scandal was not even her fault. She has no idea what the videos entailed, and her family just shunned her afterwards.
When Patrick and Jessica are forced together, Patrick tries to give Jessica the option of moving on in her life after he helps her discover what happened to her in college, but their lives are intertwined now and now that she has the choice, she wants to stay married and make a life with Patrick. Neither one has had family support or love from their parents for quite a while and if they can find that with each other and make a happy life then why shouldn’t they?
Wild Card: Gio and Catriona’s story
I love Catriona, she’s strong, sassy, beautiful and a woman that takes no prisoners. When she finds herself in the hands of a man that wants money for her return only to meet a man that wants to protect her and save her, she finds that she is not as alone as she thought. Her siblings will go to any lengths to find her, rescue her and protect her. Something she doubted for a while. She’s the daughter of James Carney and the one that he doesn’t treat special like her older and younger sister. She’s the daughter that rebels against her father and once she is rescued, she really finds herself and her happiness.
Gio De Luca has hated the Carney family for years. James Carney is the reason for Gio being an orphan and the cause of his pain for losing his parents, or so he’s believed for years. Until his uncle becomes the man that Gio wants to destroy for hurting an innocent woman and putting Gio’s nonna in danger as well as himself.
Lorenzo, Gio’s uncle is a wanna be gangster with a chip on his shoulder and when he messes up a delivery, he puts his whole family in danger with the head of the mafia in Providence. So, he thinks he’s found a way to cover the loss, but he destroys the one thing that Gio is so happy about and he also sets into motion the destructive path of his relationship with his nephew and his own mother. When he’s desperate and trying to show Gio that he’s the strong, powerful one he confesses to his past discretions and Gio’s hate for him skyrockets. Lorenzo’s destructive path brings Gio and Catriona together in the worst way, but they find their own path when the danger is settled.
I really enjoyed all of these stories and they proved that you don’t always have to be a product of your environment or upbringing. The Carney children are loyal to each other at least and when they are put in the position of showing that loyalty, they are stronger for it and stronger together. I will be purchasing the next collection to read as well, because I need to know how things end for the Carney’s. Then it will be onto the Doyle’s. This was my first read of Sophie Austin, but I will be looking out for more of her books.