Series: On the Run, #1
Published by InterMix on January 19th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Mobster
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
As the oldest son of a Chicago crime lord, Robert Delgado always knew how dangerous life could be. With his mother dead and his father in prison, heÔÇÖs taking charge of his familyÔÇÖs safetyÔÇöputting himself and his siblings in witness protection to hide out in a backwater Florida town.
Fourth grade teacher Adri Wilson is worried about the new boy in her class. Sherm is quiet and evasive, especially when heÔÇÖs around his even cagier older brother. Adri canÔÇÖt help her attraction to Rob, or the urge to help them both in whatever way she can.
But the Delgados have enemies on two sides of the mobÔÇötheir fatherÔÇÖs former crew and the rival family he helped take down. ItÔÇÖs only a matter of time before someone finds them. And if Rob isnÔÇÖt careful, Adri could end up in the crossfire...
A new sexy and intriguing story about a mob family on the run and entering the Witness Protection Program after someone tried to kill them all. An interesting premise with fascinating characters and complex story line, but sadly fell short in a few aspects.
ÔÇ£She was my meant-to-be, and IÔÇÖm not letting go.ÔÇØ ~ Rob
The Delgado family is one of the most powerful and ruthless mob families in Chicago. With their father behind bars, it is up to Rob, the oldest son, to lead the family business. However, family enemies are unhappy and trying to take over. After a failed attempt at murdering the five Delgado siblings, they enter WITSEC in order to be save and regroup and are sent to a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere Florida. What Rob didnÔÇÖt expect however, is the little sex kitten that hides underneath the schoolmarm image. From day one, she is the one thing he canÔÇÖt resist. She might just be the one thing that makes him abandon his plan of vengeance on whoever tried to kill his family.
ÔÇ£I want to be his lifelineÔÇôto pull him out of the dark pit heÔÇÖs living in and help him see the light inside him.ÔÇØ ~ Adri
Adri Wilson is your typical small town, girl-next-door type woman. SheÔÇÖs smart, beautiful, na├»ve, a little too trusting, and honest to a fault, expecting others to be the same. SheÔÇÖs a middle grade teacher starting her first job at the school in her sleepy hometown the same day RobÔÇÖs little brother, Sherman, is attending his first day at a new school. The minute she meets Rob, the sparks fly between them. She feels an attraction to him like never before, but she can also feel that heÔÇÖs dangerous and hiding something.
ÔÇ£There is nothing I can offer her. IÔÇÖm not the man she thinks I am. I canÔÇÖt even tell her my real name.ÔÇØ ~Rob
I like the premise of this story and I loved the characters. The plot is well-written and the characters are complex, intriguing, and fascinating. ItÔÇÖs definitely a series that I will continue reading. The reasons why I couldnÔÇÖt give this story more than 3.5 stars is that for one, the beginning is slow; it takes forever for the story to pick up and in the beginning we read a lot of rather unnecessary day-to-day activity that could have been shortened. This however, didnÔÇÖt take away from the plot and wouldnÔÇÖt have impacted my rating as much. Sadly, what did is the language in certain scenes, specifically the sex scenes. ÔÇ£Aching foldsÔÇØ, ÔÇ£coreÔÇØ, ÔÇ£channelÔÇØ, and others were too distracting for me. This is a highly personal opinion, and others will be able to deal with them, I sadly couldnÔÇÖt. It has taken me out of the scenes that were smoking hotÔÇöit distracted me more than anything. And being distracted from a story by certain aspects is never a good thing in my book. Other than that, the writing was amazingly complex and intriguing.
While I might only give this 3.5 stars, I will definitely continue reading this series. As I said, the story is intriguing and thrilling and I canÔÇÖt wait to find out what will happen next with the Delgado family.
~Review by Anja
ÔÇ£Is this straight?ÔÇØ Dad asks, peering in the mirror across from the front door and messing with the badge on the breast pocket of his blue shirt.
There is almost no crime on our little island because Dad is legendary for taking down drug rings and poachers, but when it comes to the little things, like pinning his badge on straight, he still needs help.
ThatÔÇÖs why IÔÇÖm here.
When Mom died last spring, I came back from Jacksonville so I could live at home and help Dad. He and Mom were high school sweethearts and married not long after graduation.
HeÔÇÖs always been taken care of. I donÔÇÖt want him to be alone.
I move to where he is and turn him, unpinning the badge and straightening it. I smooth his salt and pepper hair off his forehead and stretch up on my toes to kiss the smooth patch of cheek above the line of his beard. ÔÇ£I seriously doubt theyÔÇÖre going to send the Chief of Police home for a dress code infraction.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖll see,ÔÇØ he chuckles, giving my blond ponytail a gentle tug. ÔÇ£You ready for your first day influencing the youth of Port St. Mary?ÔÇØ
I was over the moon when I got the call three days ago that Mrs. Martin had had surgery and they needed a long-term sub for her class. Not that IÔÇÖm happy they hacked out her gallbladder or anything, but her loss is my gain, so to speak.
I come from a long line of educators. Mom was my first grade teacher. Both of her sisters, her father, and her grandfather taught as well. You could say itÔÇÖs in my DNA. I resisted it for a while, thought I wanted to go into finance, but by my junior year at Clemson I had to finally admit to myself teaching was what I really wanted to do. I changed my major to Education and finished my credential just before Mom died.
Since her death, itÔÇÖs felt even more urgent to me to teachÔÇölike maybe following in her footsteps will somehow keep her spirit alive. But Port St. Mary and the surrounding communities are small, and teaching jobs are pretty scarce. I was afraid I was going to have to try elsewhere come fall. This was a prayer answeredÔÇªwhich makes me a little afraid I might have had something to do with poor Mrs. MartinÔÇÖs gallbladder flaring up. And now itÔÇÖs starting to feel like one of those ÔÇ£be careful what you wish forÔÇØ scenarios.
I rub my sweaty palms down my slacks. ÔÇ£What happens if they hate me?ÔÇØ
Dad wraps me in his arms and squeezes me in a bear hug, crushing the air out of my lungs. ÔÇ£TheyÔÇÖre going to love you, punkin. Your mom would be so proud of you right now,ÔÇØ he says, a catch in his voice. ÔÇ£I hope you know that.ÔÇØ
I swallow back the lump in my throat and look up at him. I canÔÇÖt even remember the last time heÔÇÖs brought her up out of the blue like this. ÔÇ£I know, Dad, but thanks for saying so.ÔÇØ He lets me go and I shoulder my messenger bag. ÔÇ£Time to face the music.ÔÇØ
We step out the back door to where my old electric blue Chevy Lumina is parked in the driveway, next to DadÔÇÖs only slightly less conspicuous cruiser. Dad watches as I slide in and turn the key. The engine chugs but doesnÔÇÖt turn over.
I blow out a breath and pop the hood. By the time I grab the monkey wrench on the floor of the passenger side and get out of the car, Dad already has the hood propped up and is looking over the engine compartment.
ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt mess with Frank, Dad.ÔÇØ I point my finger in a circle at the guts of my poor Frankencar. Me and my best friend Chuck rebuilt most of the insides from junkyard parts when we took auto shop our senior year in high school. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs a delicate balance.ÔÇØ
He grins and steps back, his hands in the air. ÔÇ£WouldnÔÇÖt dream of it.ÔÇØ
I will always love FrankÔÇöhe was my firstÔÇöbut I know I need a new car. DadÔÇÖs offered me MomÔÇÖs T-Bird, but IÔÇÖm twenty-three. IÔÇÖm supposed to be responsible for myself at this point.
And besides, IÔÇÖd rather he sold MomÔÇÖs car and put the money towards his retirement. Even though Port St. Mary is pretty sleepy most of the time, everyday he goes to work, I worry.
I reach between the radiator and the engine and give the alternator a sharp rap with the wrench, then slip back into the driverÔÇÖs seat. When I turn the key, Frank chugs twice, same as always, then rumbles to life.
Dad ducks into the cruiser and gives me a little salute as I pull out.
Port St. Mary Elementary is only about two miles from home. It takes a grand total of eight minutes to drive there. Technically, itÔÇÖs a one-room schoolhouse. The tiny twelve-space parking lot butts up against an octagonal building, which, in fact, is just one big room inside. In the exact center of the building are the bathrooms and storage closets, and from there, folding accordion partitions section off each wedge of the octagon. Each wedge is a grade level, kinder through sixth, and a multipurpose room. To the right of the parking lot is a doublewide ÔÇ£portableÔÇØ that houses the school offices and small staff room. Behind that, children are already gathering in the playground, which is really just a weed-infested lot with a slide and jungle gym that has been there since before I started kindergarten here.
When I walk around the octagon to the door marked with a big yellow four and step inside, itÔÇÖs like deja vu all over again. Mrs. Martin (she told me to call her Pam when we talked on the phone about the lesson plan yesterday, but I canÔÇÖt bring myself to) has had the same posters on the walls since the dawn of time. The presidential chart ends with Reagan. She had already been teaching fourth grade in this same classroom for, like, twenty years when I had her.
I move to her desk, to the right of the door, and set my bag on it. And thatÔÇÖs when I see the note from Principal Richmond.
A new student.
I brush my palms down my slacks again, a fresh jolt of nerves twisting my insides into knots. I was already going to be way over my head with a classroom full of nine-year-olds fresh off Christmas vacation and all sugared up on candy canes.
I look over the instructions. Sherman William Davidson needs his reading comprehension assessment, writing and grammar evaluation, and his math skills worksheet completed by the end of the week.
I blow a wisp of hair off my forehead and unpack my toothpaste and toothbrush, my journal, and a few of my favorite colored pens into Mrs. MartinÔÇÖs desk, careful not to displace her things too much. IÔÇÖm just pulling the assessments for the new kid from the file cabinet when the classroom door opens. I hear Principal RichmondÔÇÖs gravel voice before I turn around. ÔÇ£ÔÇªand his classroom is here. We just got word a few days ago that our regular fourth grade teacher is out on medical leave, but Sherman will be in good hands with Ms. Wilson. SheÔÇÖs a very capable substitute.ÔÇØ
I take a deep breath as I turn and hope heÔÇÖs not lying.
I substituted five times during fall semester. For the most part, everything went great until I subbed for Mrs. YetzÔÇÖs eighth grade class the week before winter break. Somehow, what started out as a math lab on probability devolved into a liarÔÇÖs dice tournament, complete with money changing hands. I wasnÔÇÖt sure theyÔÇÖd call me back after that.
But when I see Principal Richmond waddle his round frame through the door, I straighten the scarf I tied over my favorite teal sweater and try to look as confident in what he said as he ÔÇ£Ms. Wilson,ÔÇØ he says, waving me over. ÔÇ£This is your new student, Sherman.ÔÇØ
Sherman is a wiry little thing with unruly brown hair and clothes that hang off him a little. He looks as if heÔÇÖd vanish into himself if given the chance.
ÔÇ£He goes by Sherm,ÔÇØ the man standing next to him says.
I look up into some of the most amazing eyes IÔÇÖve ever seen. Heavy dark brows curve over irises the color of honey with burgundy flecks through them. Thick brown waves are loose around a strong face with angled cheekbones, and a square jaw covered in two-day stubble. Set in flawless olive skin are lips so firm and red they make me forget the frown thatÔÇÖs turning them down slightly at the corners. HeÔÇÖs just soÔÇªgorgeous, like something out of a magazine or a movie. And heÔÇÖs tallÔÇöwell over six feet of broad shoulders tapering to narrow hips under his blue button-down shirt. The tails are loose over pressed jeans that fit him just so. Everything about him is tailored and cultured and nothing like any of the year-rounders who live on this bumpkin island. But itÔÇÖs not just the way he looks. A blend of confidence and something else I canÔÇÖt identify but makes him feel a little intimidating wafts off him with the spicy cologne I keep catching hints of. HeÔÇÖs nothing like anyone IÔÇÖve ever met, even at Clemson.
I feel my jaw dangling and snap it closed, pulling myself together long enough to extend an arm. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm Adri.ÔÇØ
Principal Richmond clears his throat, and when I flick a glance his direction, I know my ogling didnÔÇÖt go unnoticed. His brow is deeply furrowed and his frown curves so low it makes him look like one of those marionettes, where their chin is a whole different piece of wood than the rest of their face.
My eyes bulge and I shift my outstretched hand to Sherm. ÔÇ£I mean, Miss Wilson.
Welcome to Port St. Mary, Sherm.ÔÇØ
The boy just looks at me with sad eyes the color of hisÔÇªfatherÔÇÖs?
My gaze gravitates back to the guy towering over me. Could he be ShermÔÇÖs dad? He looks way too young to have a nine-year-old. He also looks all business. ThereÔÇÖs nothing soft or nurturing in his cold, sharp gaze as it flicks around the classroom, silently assessing.
ÔÇ£WhatÔÇÖs on the other side of those partitions?ÔÇØ he asks Principal Richmond.
ÔÇ£The third and fifth grade classrooms,ÔÇØ he answers.
The guyÔÇÖs eyes continue to scan the room. ÔÇ£HeÔÇÖll spend all day in here?ÔÇØ
The principal nods. ÔÇ£Except when heÔÇÖs on the playground.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Is there security on campus?ÔÇØ
Principal Richmond looks momentarily perplexed, rubbing his round stomach as if heÔÇÖs thinking with it. ÔÇ£Not as such. We have yard monitors during recess and lunch, and the teachers are responsible for the children when theyÔÇÖre here in class.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£What about lunch?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£He can bring his own lunch, or buy a bag lunch from Nutritional Services for three dollars. Either way, if itÔÇÖs nice weather, the children eat outside at the picnic tables. On rainy days, we open the partitions and they eat inside as a group.ÔÇØ
The guy reaches into his pocket, but Principal Richmond holds up his hand to stop him when he comes out with a thick wad of cash. ÔÇ£We donÔÇÖt allow students to carry money on campus. When weÔÇÖre done here, IÔÇÖll take you to the office and have you purchase a scan card for Nutritional Services.ÔÇØ
The guy nods, then moves to the door and jiggles the knob. ÔÇ£The exterior doors are left unlocked?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£During school hours, yes.ÔÇØ Principal Richmond answers, moving to my desk and shuffling through the papers I pulled for Sherm.
The guyÔÇÖs full lips narrow into a tight line and he scowls at the door. He spins and starts toward the door in the back of the room, leaving no stone unturned.
I wipe my hands down my slacks again and decide just to ask. ÔÇ£So, youÔÇÖre ShermÔÇÖs father?ÔÇØ
His feet stall on the chipped linoleum and he seems to finally notice I exist. ÔÇ£Brother,ÔÇØ he answers, and that one word seems to carry the weight of the world with it as it falls from his mouth.
His eyes make a slow sweep of my face, and as they trail down my neck, the front of my sweater, over my hips and down my legs, IÔÇÖm frozen in place, paralyzed by the intensity of his Principal Richmond shoves some papers in my face, breaking the spell. ÔÇ£You still have fifteen minutes until the bell. Maybe you can get Sherman started on these.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£UmÔÇªÔÇØ I grab the papers out of his hand as Big Brother blinks, some of the thickest lashes IÔÇÖve ever seen hiding those incredible eyes. ÔÇ£Yeah. WeÔÇÖll do that…ÔÇØ
Principal Richmond guides Big Brother to the door. ÔÇ£LetÔÇÖs get out of their way and let them get started. IÔÇÖm sure Sherman will have a positive experience here. Children his age tend to adjust quickly,ÔÇØ heÔÇÖs saying as the door swings closed behind them.