Lorenzo Gambini is responsible for the collapse of the mafia in New York City, but he’s just so bored. Can one woman change that?
Once upon a time, there was a guy who got so fed up with life that he resorted to murder and mayhem just to feel alive.
Lorenzo Gambini is bored. So fucking bored. Most people either annoy him or avoid him, afraid to face him. Figuratively. Literally. With his face partially disfigured, scarred, he looks every bit the monster the stories make him out to be: the notorious menace they call Scar. They say he’s a sociopath. Maybe he’s a psychopath. Whatever path he’s on, people tend to stay far away from it.
Until one day, a young woman bumps right into him–a woman just as fed up with life, but for much different reasons. With a Scarlet Letter inked on her wrist and secrets buried deep in her soul, Morgan Myers is running from something… or maybe somebody. Lorenzo isn’t quite sure.
You can bet your ass he’s going to figure it out, though.
Menace by J.M. Darhower
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 STARS
[Mature Audiences; Some Spoilers]
I said before during the cover reveal that no one does mafia romance like J.M., and I stand by that now more than ever! Also, she created Corrado Moretti and I will be forever grateful to her for that.
This series, Scarlet Scars isn’t a part of his universe, though. This one is a spinoff from the Monster series with Naz and Karissa. Last we saw Lorenzo, he was single-handedly taking care of NYCs finest (debatable) made men.
Now, he’s got his own crew, and he’s running these streets, but man, he’s bored. Each day is as tedious as the last, and the only thing getting him up in the morning is the hope that something will be different.
It’s not too long before “different” is sitting near him at a bar, and he’s instantly intrigued, but has some business to attend to so he doesn’t get too far with the pretty woman in the red dress.
Before the night is over, that woman has stolen his wallet, given it back sans cash, and somehow slipped away from him. All he has to go on is her shoe size from the heels she kicked off to run from him and glimpse of the cursive ‘S’ tattooed in red on her wrist.
Let me tell y’all, this book is a wild ride, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Lorenzo is a bad man. He’s a murderer and more than a little crazy. His thoughts are dark, and he comes off as more than annoyed half the time.
He loves his brother, though, and that’s been his saving grace. He started raising him when he was eighteen and Leo was only two. In the novel, he says:
“I poured what was left in my soul into him.”
And you can see it in the way Leo acts. He’s a straight-laced kid. Sweet, thoughtful, caring to his girlfriend. Lorenzo raised his brother well.
When he meets Morgan, things shift for Lorenzo again, and he starts to have weird feelings that he shouldn’t be allowing. He tries to mind his own business, but soon, Morgan becomes his business. He gives her a nickname, too, Scarlet.
Morgan Myers never had an easy life, and it was worsened by running away to NYC at fourteen. She met a man, and he destroyed her world entirely. Now, she’s on the run from him while trying to find the precious thing he took from her.
She never expects to feel an attraction to Lorenzo or to act on it. She’s sold her body before, but it’s just a transaction, a way to survive. With Lorenzo she can’t hide who she is inside even if she won’t tell him the truth about her situation.
Lorenzo and Morgan are on fire as a couple. The sex scenes between them are rough, graphic, and sometimes on edge. It fits with their characters, though. I wouldn’t expect either of them to be the lovey type, but that’s not to say that there’s not intimacy in the couplings between them. There’s such trust between them, especially toward the end.
I don’t want to spoil too much of the story, but Lorenzo stops getting bored and realizes there’s a group he hasn’t been giving much thought to–the Russians. Now with Morgan being his business, and the Russians looking for her, he’s not going to be bored much longer.
Even better is that the sequel, Grievous will be out on February 6th! That’s two full-length novels in just a few weeks of each other! This novel does end on a cliffy, so it’s good news that the wait is short. I can’t wait to find out what happens to Lorenzo, Morgan, and her little Pearl.
JM Darhower is the USA Today Bestselling Author of romance novels of all flavors (erotic, suspense, contemporary, paranormal). She lives in a tiny town in the Carolinas with her family, where she churns out more words than will ever see the light of day. She has a deep passion for politics and human rights, and when she isn’t writing she’s usually ranting about those things. Chronic crimper with a vulgar mouth, she admits to having a social media addiction. You can find her there.