Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Once Burned by Sam Mariano

Adrian Palmetto. 

Mine is a name known by every lowlife in Chicago. Mateo Morelli's right hand man: problem-solver, hit man, chief strategist, confidante—whatever he needs, I'm his guy. Kinda funny, since I hate the bastard. At least, that's what I've told myself over the last five years, serving a man I consider despicable—a man I once considered my closest friend. It's what I had to do, if I wanted Elise. And I wanted Elise more than I've ever wanted anything in my godforsaken life.

Thing is, I'm free now. I don't have to be Mateo's guy anymore. I paid the price for Elise's freedom and now I can start building a life with her. Only it's not that simple. Nothing ever is in this damn family. Elise carries emotional baggage from her own time served, and Mateo's in deep shit without me. 

You'd think I would've learned my lesson about the evils of Mateo's family at 8, when they ruined my life, or maybe even at 28, when they stole it. Now here I am, 33, faced with one final choice: do I escape this family once and for all, or do I dive back into the flames to save Mateo's ass one last time?

**Recommended for readers 18+ due to violence. Book 3 of 4 in the Morelli Family Saga. NOT a standalone. None of these are standalones. Start with Accidental Witness or suffer the consequences! (The consequence is that you'll be really confused. No one will murder you or anything. But I don't advise it.)**

4.5 stars
Review by Jen Skewes

OMG!!! I don’t even know where to start with this review.  Once again Sam Mariano has managed to completely suck me in to the world of the Morelli family.  She has shocked me with the twists and turns and left me hanging in a big way.  Oh and the ending after the cliffy?  I am not even sure how to process that one.  I cannot get enough of this series.  With each book it gets better and better.  Just when you think you have things figured out and know how this will end, BAM!!.  Ms. Mariano manages to throw in yet another twist that will shock you.  This is Adrian’s story but don’t worry we still get to see plenty of the twisted man that we all hate to love so much. 

Adrian has been paying his dues to Mateo.  He gives him five years in exchange for his freedom and the woman that he has been pining over for the past five years.  Adrian is done with his “sentence” and now it is time for him to move on…..with Elise.  When they first move out, Adrian is so unsure how this will work between the two of them.  He knows how he feels about Elise, but he is no so sure if the feelings are mutual.  There is so much to still learn about each other, but there is also that one obstacle that always seems to get in the way; Mateo Morelli.   And believe me Mateo interferes in their lives in more way than one.  The constant reminder of how women, including Elise, tend to be enamored with Mateo no matter how much of an asshole he is.  And also despite how he feels about Mateo he cannot help but want to be there to help when things start getting worse.  Which leaves him with the decision as to whether or not he will go back to work for Mateo or live the free life he was hoping for with Elise. 

I don’t want to go into any more detail about the story line or how things go with Mateo or between Elise and Adrian. I will say that I for one loved them together.  Adrian knew what he wanted and he was willing to work for Mateo for five years to get it.  He would do anything to make Elise his, but this is not in the way one would think. He really cared for her and wanted to make her happy. He would do anything to protect her.  Unsure of her feelings and the fact that all she has ever known was living in the Mateo mansion.  So his patience with her showed in the way he took things at a slower pace where she was concerned.  But they were just so cute together.  We saw this dark, brooding sort of guy in Adrian with the last two books but I loved seeing a different side of him. 

While this book is Adrian’s and it is told from his POV, there is so much more to this story than him and Adrian’s romance.  Mateo is still very much a part of it, as is the rest of the crew.  This is after all the Morelli series.  There were moments that shocked me, twists that came that made me wonder how this story would even go.  At times making me so nervous that Ms. Mariano would go there and do the unexpected.  Even at the end I am still left hanging and questioning everything. And that is what I love about this series.  Expect the unexpected, hold onto your heart and your emotions and proceed with caution.  Because this series will take you on one heck of a ride and trust me I loved every minute of the drama and angst that I went through.  Now I need the final book to see how this will all end. 

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