Book Review : Reaper (Boston Underworld #2) by A. Zavarelli
He’s dark and mysterious.
Quiet and lethal.
And Irish mobster.
Pure sin wrapped up in beautiful package.
But there’s also something off about him.
He doesn’t feel anything. He shows no emotions.
Sometimes I question his humanity.
He hasn’t spoken to me in two years. Not a single word.
But we share a secret, he and I.
And if it ever comes out, I have no doubt in my mind…
He won’t have problem killing me too.
I’ve slain for her. I’ll do it again.
When it comes to Sasha, there isn’t a line I won’t cross.
I watch her. She doesn’t know it.
She thinks I hate her. Sometimes, I think I might too.
But I’m always there, lurking in the shadows.
Craving her. Trying to keep the beast within at bay.
I’ll keep her safe. I’ll slaughter anyone who tries to hurt her.
The only thing I can’t do… is protect her from myself.
“Reaper” is the second installation to the Boston Underworld series. Check out the first book in the Boston Underworld series, “Crow” : here.
A Sneak Peek Into The Story :
All it took for Sasha is a simple mistake of agreeing to date Blaine. To be truthful, she isn’t even that interested in Blaine to begin with. Yes, he is easy on the eyes, but the spark isn’t there at all. Sasha does not feel any attraction whatsoever when she looks at Blaine, and she thinks she never will. But he is relentless, he keeps pushing and pressing. Showering her with gifts and sweet words, and Sasha eventually relented. She gives in and agrees that she will go out on a date with him. However, what is initially supposed to be just one date become two, three, and before she knows it, Blaine has had his web spun so tightly around her that she cannot escape.
Sasha should have known better than anyone else that there is no such thing as knight in shining armor in her life. It will always be just her and her alone to defend for herself and the people she cares about. And she is proven to be true when Blaine eventually stops telling her sweet words, stops sending her flowers and jewelries and starts to show her his true color.
“I’ve never believed in fairytales. There is no white knight in my story. Only me.
And I’m not the girl who gets the prince. I’m the girl he bangs because he can.”
Sasha is already resolved that she will forever be living in her personal hell with Blaine. But things changed when Blaine brought her to Slainte for her to work as an exotic dancer. Eventually, she finds herself starting to take notice on this man, the man with mournful whiskey colored eyes. In his eyes, she sees something different, something that makes her want to believe that there’s something else concealed in those shadows. Something similar to hope, but Sasha know that it is too good to be true.
“ He’s the only one who sees past the fake smile on my face. Like he understands that the laughter echoing from my chest when Blaine cracks a joke is as fake as his whole persona.”
But he doesn’t talk. He is always deadly and quiet. Closed off and mysterious. He doesn’t talk just for the sake of talking, and that only piqued her curiosity about the man. She knows what they call him in the MacKenna syndicate. The Reaper.
“He’s like a trip wire, rigged to detonate a category five hurricane of emotions inside of me.
But I’m a masochist of the highest order, so I let him obliterate me. Again and again.”
The name speaks for itself, yet whenever Sasha tries to start a conversation with him, his cheeks will flush pink and his jaw strains as if he cannot stand the sound of her voice or being near her. She doesn’t understand what cause him to have such a reaction to her. He speaks to everyone – even to the new girl, Mackenzie – but not Sasha. She wants to hate him. But instead, his reactions to her only makes her want him. He makes Sasha feels as if she is not worth his attention, not worth a moment of his time. And yet, whenever he walks into the room, everything seems to cease to existence and she can’t focus on anything but him.
Many people thinks Ronan does what he does because he enjoy it, because he enjoys his victims pleading and begging for mercy that he will never give. They cannot be further from the truth. To Ronan, killing is nothing more than a business transaction. It is what he does, what he was taught to do and it is what he is good at.
“Conversation, understanding others, making decisions. These are not things I am well versed in. But killing, I can do. Without question. Without hesitance. Without a shadow of doubt in my soul.
I was born to take life.”
Because of his upbringing, Ronan finds it difficult to understand emotions and feelings. People getting offended, or sentimental over little things will be something he will never grasp. He tries to make sense of it, but in the end, it only result in him being frustrated and angry. Because of that, he has promised himself that he will swear off anything that provokes emotions that he doesn’t understand.
But then, there is Sasha. Whenever she is around, she always seems to bring out a myriad of emotions that he doesn’t understand. Whenever she is near, he feels overwhelmed. He doesn’t know what to do, as he wants to get away, but can’t seem to make himself to. He wants her, but he doesn’t want to hurt her. Ronan knows that she knows what he does for a living. He is worried that he will scare her away. She can hate him, he can handle that, but the thought of her looking at him in fear? No, he would not be able to bear it.
“I don’t know anything other than that it’s always been her, from the moment I saw her three years ago. She’s the thing that I’ve yearned for more than anything else. But I was too fucked up. She’d never want me. A murderer. A freak. A mobster. The only thing I knew how to do was kill.”
To Ronan, Sasha is the purest form of pure. She is filled with gentleness and goodness that he can only dream of ever experiencing. And he worries that she will hate him, or he will scare her away because of who he is. So he keeps his distance and he watches from afar, never letting himself get too close.
I have always been curious about “The Reaper” ever since I read “Crow”. In that book, he was always broody and quiet. Even when he is upset, he doesn’t seem to say a lot other than grumble. So with me being me, you already know my interest will be piqued and I would want to know more about Ronan a.k.a The Reaper. I start this book immediately right after “Crow” and must I say, this book delivered. Ms. Zavarelli more than delivered in this book, she freaking ram the point home.
Ronan’s character is way off from what I imagined him to be. Because of how he acted in book one , I was quite certain that in this book, he will be the brute kind. The kind of man who is mysterious and quiet most of the time, but have no qualms in taking whatever he wants, when he wants it. And boy could I not be more wrong. While it is true that he is quite and mysterious, he is one of the most attentive character I have had the pleasure to read.
While he is indifferent to his peers, he does a total 180 when it comes to Sasha. I think in his mind, he quite literally put her on a pedestal. Whatever she wants, Ronan will make sure that he can provide it for her. And while he might be inexperienced in many aspects because of his past, he is very observant and will try his hardest to learn.
“What do you have there?” I gesture towards the bag.
His cheeks flush as he dumps the contents onto the bed.
There’s an entire armory of condoms, lube, foams, and other over the counter birth control methods.
“I didn’t know which ones you like,” he says.
Before Sasha, he could not have cared less what women like and don’t like. But whenever he is with her, he always makes sure to pay attention to her needs and wants. I just really like how he is with Sasha. While he is a cold-blooded killer, in so many aspects of his life, he is still very innocent. And knowing him and his past, it makes it all the more precious and valuable the trust that he shares with Sasha.
Sasha too, is one of the strongest female character I have ever read. She by no means have an easy life. While her history isn’t surprising to me, it is obvious that just like Ronan, she too has struggled and survived some terrible things in her life. In book one – Crow – readers get to see Sasha as this strong, guarded woman who seems to have everything figured out. But it could not have gotten any further from the truth.
In “Reaper”, readers get to see another part of Sasha. A part where she is vulnerable and open. We get to see just how things are stacked against her in life, and yet she chooses to keep fighting for those she cares about.
Her relationship with Ronan is definitely complicated. While in “Crow” , it was all about steamy scenes and sexual tension, in this book, it is more about seeing them both trying to work out their feelings for each other. While there still are a lot of steamy sex scenes, I think “Reaper” is more focused on how Ronan and Sasha try to handle their past and slay their past demons to be with each other.
“This man resting on my lap is my whole world. My whole life. The sun rises and sets with him. ”
For me, “Reaper” might have easily topped “Crow”, if only the author went a little bit deeper on how Sasha and Ronan handle his past together. While there are scenes where Sasha helped him overcome his past, I still feel like there still need to be some more of those scenes to make the readers see just how much Ronan’s past impacted him.
Overall, as unexpected as this read has been, I definitely enjoyed the hell out of it. The storyline is very natural and it doesn’t seem forced, as in, the author does not randomly make things up just for the sake of conflict. I love how Ronan and Sasha’s characters developed as individuals and as couples. This is a series about mafia/mobsters, so if you are looking for some good action scenes to top with romance, then this series is definitely for you.