Published: May 20th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback, 390 pages
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He makes the rules…
Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksandr will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.
Rules are made to be broken…
Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.
Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true…
I wanted to start by laying out a few facts: 1) I didn’t know this was erotica until I read the first few chapters! 2) I didn’t know it was BDSM erotica until the first few chapters! 3) I do not usually read either of those genres.
Ok! That’s out of the way. I didn’t think I was going to review this book, but I realised I have a lot to say about it and so … here I am!
I got The Professional unsolicited from the publisher. It didn’t look like my kind of read. But I decided to give it a go because I THOUGHT it was New Adult, and because it seemed interesting – it has a Russian enforcer in it!
I was kind of thinking a sexy, raunchier Dimitri and Rose vibe!
I can’t really fault the main character for being as naive as she is, considering that I didn’t realise what I was reading until the first … encounter … between our two protagonist. But yes, she is quite naive, and a little bit silly. She’s a twenty-something virgin attending college, who is very proud of her “ability” to read men and figure them out IN ONE LOOK. But of course, when she’s in a bar and sets her eyes on a tall, mysterious, sex-on-a-stick stranger, her wonderful ability mysteriously stops working. She approaches him, confident in her sexy-powers and her good looks, only to be brushed off by him!
OH THE HORROR. HE DIDN’T TALK TO HER! It’s OK though. She can go home and indulge in a nice, long, warm, bath with some um … physical stimuli.
The hot, sexy stranger from the bar is IN HER BATHROOM … WATCHING HER.
And she doesn’t run away or call the cops or do any of the things I’d do. Nope. She’s thinking of accompanying him to Russia because she (the long-lost daughter of a Russian Mafia Boss) is in danger. And Mr Sexy? He’s her father’s enforcer … protector … assassin. Let’s just call him what he is.
LET US ALL SWOON BECAUSE AN ASSASSIN IS KIDNAPPING US.
The sex in The Professional, which predictably was all BDSM and no cuddling, is confronting. To me anyways, who had never read anything hotter than Abbi Glines’ books before this. But, my comfort levels aside, it didn’t have any emotion!!! It was just … raunchy, kinky sex. And sure, anything’s OK between consenting adults, but I wanted romance with the sex. And there just wasn’t any.
I think it would have helped if I’d found ANYTHING about Sevastyan appealing. But he just scared me. Like, he’d prowl and growl and scowl and I was just plain scared. Of him, of his violence, of how he wanted to literally posses Natalie and treat her like pet or a sex-toy. It. Was. Scary. (for me anwyay)
I liked Natalie for a long time because she kept saying this is the kind of relationship she wants, and she was very happy with the lifestyle they had. But partway through she started craving emotional connections as well. She wanted her assassin bedmate to reveal deep secrets about himself and his past, and he just wasn’t willing to give her any of that.
At that point, I really wanted Natalie to leave, but she wouldn’t. Couldn’t. Because a) you can’t run away from a Mafia enforcer, and b) she didn’t want to. Or more specifically, she got all confused when he was around her because he was SO HOT and she needed to drop her pants RIGHT NOW, and she ended up in this toxic, horrific relationship. And just … NO. I didn’t understand why she stayed. I didn’t understand why she’d forget how unhappy she was at night, and then crash in the morning and cry because of how … unhappy she was.View Spoiler »It was not OK to say that Sevastyan’s crazy was understandable because he’d been abused as a child. NO NO NO. « Hide Spoiler
I’d only read Cole’s YA prior to picking this up, but I don’t think the story quite reaches the standards I associate with her work. The Professional feels haphazard, rushed, and ultimately unclear. The character development is abysmal, and the plotting could be improved on. There’s no real resolution, and there aren’t going to be more books about Natalie and the scary assassin – the next one follows another character we met in this book.
Should you read it? If you like this kind of story, give it a go. I don’t like this kind of story so it’s hard for me to even tell if it’s a good example of what it is. But my gut feeling is there are stories like this that are of a higher standard.
Will I be continuing the series? No. Mostly because of personal tastes, but also because THIS male protagonist scared me, and all indications are that the hero of the next book is even more dangerous.Blogging Outside the Box is a feature at Speculating on SpecFic, where books outside the SFF banner are reviewed. It is intended to highlight some of the non speculative fiction titles I am reading and share my thoughts with readers.