Surviving Mateo by Sam Mariano

April 27, 2017 Book Review 0 ★★★★½

Surviving Mateo by Sam Marianofour-half-stars
Surviving Mateo by Sam Mariano
Series: Morelli Family #2
Also in this series: Accidental Witness, Once Burned, Family Ties
Published by Self-published on April 27th 2017
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 359
Buy on Amazon

Mateo Morelli.
The mere mention of his name is enough to strike fear into the hearts of grown men. The most ruthless crime lord in Chicago isn’t a man you dare cross. But when the second most feared crime lord shows up on my doorstep the night of my husband’s wake, he doesn’t give me much of a choice.
My late husband owed Antonio Castellanos a lot of money, but the magnanimous boss is gonna do me a solid—I get to pay my debt, and keep my daughter alive. All I have to do is one little favor.
That favor?
Seduce and kill Mateo Morelli.
**BOOK TWO OF FOUR IN THE MORELLI FAMILY SAGA. These aren't standalones. If you don't read Accidental Witness first, this won't make a whole lot of sense. ***

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

The dialogue in Surviving Mateo read as if it was being read to me. Whenever I took a break from reading, the characters remained vivid in my mind. It drew me back to the story because it was as if the story was continuing in my absence.

Told from Meg’s point of view, the story presents Mateo in a different light from the man we met in Accidental Witness. This side of Mateo was one you could take home to meet the family. He was my kind of anti-hero. Meg was the woman who brought out his gentle, loving nature. A positive facet of his personality seldom seen by others and one revealed to a limited few.

Relief hit me a couple of times when it was evident Meg was oblivious to Mateo’s line of trade which quite frankly sent shivers of horror running through my veins in Accidental Witness. I haven’t forgotten but I was happy to be swept up in their battle to become lovers.

We meet Meg at her husband’s wake waiting for the mourners to leave. When they finally do, she sighs a breath of relief, knowing a fresh start was awaiting her and their young daughter. Then an opportunity knocks. Literally, knocks. The prospect her late night visitor offers puts her in a position where refusal is not an option. Her mission is to seduce the man who murdered her husband, drug him and leave the rest to the experts.

This is so shitty. 

I finally meet the man of my dreams and I have to kill him.

Seducing Mateo Morelli ends up being a lot more entertaining than Meg anticipated. A compelling attraction to him strikes her fast, leaving her wondering if she can stretch out their time a little longer before she has to follow through. This is where the drama ramps up a notch and Meg realises quickly she was out of her depth.

Meg has nothing left to fear and meets Mateo head on, spiking his curiousity for this woman who has slipped into his life with ease. I adored the entertaining dry humour they and some of the other characters exchanged. Their connection was not instantaneous and Mateo made sure to not rush his first move. Thrown into the deep end of the Morelli household, Meg holds her own brilliantly.

As the story eased into a steady pace, it took a while to place the sequence of the timeline. I expected after the final scene between Mia, Vince and Mateo that a starkly different game would be at play. Mind games skewered and went beyond where I imagined they would. At the same time, there was the similar reprieve of happy times that create a false sense of security.

Mia showed her strength as a worthy opponent in the Morelli household in Accidental Witness.  Meg matched her and raised the bar a little higher with her bravado, complimenting her reckless resolve to not cower and think on her feet.

“Amidst a gang war,” I add.

“It’s all so romantic”

For a dark romance set in a challenging location surrounded by men of dubious means, this was a beautiful story of trust and seeing the goodness in others. The light-hearted moments were a delight, including an impromptu Scrabble game that made me smile! There was one detail that remains a mystery that left me curious. Rest assured, the story ends on a happy for now moment. Meg’s contentment is the reason I am able to take a breath while I await the next installment in the Morelli Family Series!

4.5 Badass’ Play Scrabble Too Stars!

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