23 August 2014

Review: The Viper by Kele Moon

Title: The Viper (Untamed Hearts, #1)
Author: Kele Moon
Genre: Erotic / Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Loose Id
Tour Organized by: As the Pages Turn


Marcos Rivera is a fighter. A gang member. Someone who has seen the dark side of humankind and survived. He has lost family and gained enemies. He has stolen cars and destroyed hearts, stripping one for money and the other for pleasure. His past is haunted and his future is bleak.

Until her.

Katie Foster is a high school history teacher. Smart, strong, and sexy. She is a woman Marcos shouldn’t want. Shouldn’t touch. Shouldn’t love. He met her in Garnet, a backwards, hick town that’s the last place in the world he wants to be, but he finds himself going back for a taste of the forbidden.

Katie represents all that is good in the world, and Marcos knows he’s nothing but trouble for her perfect life. He fights and he screws. He commits crimes and he breaks the rules. He will never change and he will never escape his gang lifestyle.

Or can he?

What happens when two different people from two very different walks of life risk it all by giving into the passion that threatens to consume both of them? Can a woman who only knows how to play it safe give her heart to a man who lives hard and loves harder?

Will she survive The Viper?

My Review

I've always loved Kele Moon's heroes. She writes them sexy, rough around the edges, and loyal to a fault. Marcos is all of those things and then some.

The Story

Marcos Rivera is a gang member and a fighter. Wanting to better his life, he went to Garnet only to be met with rejection. On his way to his old life, he collided (literally) with Katie Foster. She's a teacher, a divorce who wants to experience more than what life has offered her so far.

After that chance encounter both of them can't forget the other. While Marcos is trying to distance himself from the violence that had become his life, Katie is trying to get closer to Marcos and she will do anything to have her chance with him.

My Thoughts
The Viper is the first book off Kele Moon's Untamed Hearts series. As you all know, this series is a spin off of her Battered Hearts series. Marcos is Chuito's cousin, an MMA champion who trains with Romeo at the Cellar. A chance encounter with Katie made Carlos reevaluate his life choices but as much as he wants to change, old habits, old friends seems to hard to shake off.

I love the character of Marcos. He's cocky but sensitive. He might be a gang member but he has an inherent goodness in his heart and he has integrity. And he really wants to change. Part of this book deals with Marcos trying to extricate himself from the illegal activities of his gang. As much as he wants to, circumstances keep pulling him back in.

Katie, though not a favorite of mine among Kele's heroine, is a perfect foil for Marcos. She's sweet and sheltered. But she has a backbone and she knows how to stand up for herself. On her own, she was a little bland personality wise but once she's with Marcos and even Chuito, she becomes a lot more interesting. Her banter with Marcos and even with Chuito were great.

The romance with Marcos and Katie was sizzling. I usually have a problem with insta connection/lust/love in books but surprisingly, I didn't have a problem with it here. Because they Marcos and Katie did connect instantly, it took a substantial amount of time for them to finally come together. And once they did, it was explosive.

As much as I love the romance between Katie and Marcos, my favorite part in this book is Marcos and Chuito. They have been through so much together and you just feel the bond between them. Their loyalty and love for each other suffuses the pages of this book. One particular scene that had me bawling, which was strange because it wasn't particularly angsty or anything. But it was just emotionally heartrending to see both of them fight for each other.

When Chuito did what he had to do in order to give Marcos his freedom, that made me tear up because it was just so powerful. The reason why it touched me because in romance, I'm used to seeing the hero sacrifice something for the heroine, but it's not really common to see it happen between the hero and his best friend or brother or in this case, the cousin. Which also made me excited for Chuito's book because, man, I really don't know where Kele is going to take his story now after what happened in this book.

So overall, The Viper is a solid series starter. You'll get a glimpse not only of Chuito but Tino and Nova as well as Jules and Wyatt. As a final note, although this is a spin off of Battered Hearts Series, this book can be read as a standalone.

An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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