by Helena Newbury
Series: Kissing #4
Published by Tantor Audio on March 22, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Suspense
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I know I should be afraid of him. He's huge. Powerful. Cold as ice. But the way he gazes at me makes me weak.... Now we're on the run together. They say he's a monster, but I've glimpsed the person inside. The man sent to kill me is the only one who can save me, and I might be the only one who can save him.
I had no idea a book about a Russian hit man could be so romantic.
I wasn’t sure if this book would work for me, but since I read and loved Texas Kissing so much, I figured I’d give it a try. I’m glad I did because Kisssing My Killer worked for me on so many levels.
Gabriella is a hacker who rarely leaves her apartment (for reasons revealed later in the story). Her latest hack is a particularly dangerous one since it involves a Russian mob boss who is looking to expand into human trafficking.
Alexei is the Bratva hit man sent to kill the hacker who’s been tampering with their systems. When he sees Gabriella for the first time, he’s struck with a serious case of insta-lust. Soon after, he realizes that she’s the hacker he’s supposed to kill. Even though he has killed numerous times in the past, there’s something about her that stops him from completing the job. Rather than kill her, now he wants to protect her.
I found the romance between Gabriella and Alexei unexpectedly sweet. Even though their attraction happens quickly and it seems to be based on the physical (at least initially), there’s something about the writing that just clicked. Alexei’s intense need to protect Gabriella–despite the fact that he’s a killer–made him my new favorite antihero.
There’s a scene where Alexei teaches Gabriella how to disable someone physically in the event that she needs to defend herself. I didn’t expect it to be, but I thought this was a super sexy scene. Alexei’s extreme concern for her safety and desire to protect her at all costs makes him endearing as a character, even though he sees himself as a monster. As he falls in love with Gabriella, that love begins changing him and makes him want to be a better man–a good man, rather than a killer.
As for Gabriella, she has a traumatic past that contributed to her present agoraphobia. She confides in Alexei and this strengthens their bond. Considering her past, I thought she accepted Alexei a little too easily and thought there should have been a longer buildup of her trust.
Also, I think more back story about both characters would have been helpful. We know that Alexei was in the military before joining the Bratva, but I didn’t get a full sense of who he was as a person prior to that. In contrast, Gabriella’s traumatic event so fully shaped the course of her life, so it’s understandable that everything that happened to her later was tarnished by that event.
The story is also pretty comedic at times. I loved how Alexei is in the dark ages with technology and still has an ancient non-smart phone. Gabriella’s horror about this realization is funny, as is their conversation about technology. This conversation proves to be valuable later on.
Even though I’ve only read a couple of hit man romances, this one is definitely up there as one of my favorites. There’s so much peril and heightened emotion involved, so even though I’m normally not crazy about insta-love, it just works in this book. And as I mentioned, the idea that love can change the heart of a hardened killer and make him want to be better is just plain awesome.
I read the audio edition, which has dual narrators, Christian Fox and Lucy Rivers. These are two of my favorite narrators and they did an amazing job reading Alexei and Gabriella.
Kissing My Killer is book #4 in Helena Newbury’s Kissing series. Although characters from previous books appear in this one, it can be read as a standalone. I enjoyed this very much and strongly recommend it.
Rating: 4 stars