Staying in Vegas by Sam Mariano
Series: Vegas Morellis #1
Published by Self-published on April 4th 2018
Buy on Amazon
Available on KU at posting: Yes
You don't want to miss what happens in Vegas...
When I met Rafe Morelli, he didn’t look like the biggest mistake I’d ever make; he seemed closer to the crime family version of Prince Charming. Charismatic, beautiful, and attentive—with an intoxicating air of power—Rafe was the stuff of my darkest fantasies.
What we had should have been a simple fling, no-strings-attached. My hot weekend with the sexy, dominant Vegas boss—a harmless memory to replay once I returned to my quiet, predictable life.
One tiny hitch in that plan: a panty-melting memory isn’t all he left behind. Now the stakes have changed, and I’m faced with a potentially life-altering decision. Do I stay away and enjoy my status as the only woman in known history who has played in the Morelli flames without getting burned, or do I risk everything and step back into the fire?
BOOK 1 OF 3 IN THE VEGAS MORELLI TRILOGY.
This trilogy can be read even if you haven't read the original Morelli family series, but as it takes place AFTER that series, there will be Morelli family series spoilers. Two of the main characters from this trilogy were introduced in the original Morelli series. If you want to read the original series and experience it without spoilers, you may want to start there (with Accidental Witness). Like the original Morelli family series, this trilogy is a continuing story following the same characters, NOT three separate-couple standalones.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
Harsh lessons are learnt during Laurel’s second trip to Vegas and the biggest one of all is that sometimes you don’t leave with the expectations you arrived with. And like Laurel, I empathised with her uncertainty. Then I read over my highlighting and notes and my smile returned. I had to remind myself, this is a first book in the series and patience is the order of the day.
Ok, I have to get this thought on the table – Rafe is not Mateo. He has a tendency to linger in his thoughts which took me by surprise. The catalyst for Laurel’s return to Vegas is not referred to in the synopsis but it is mentioned in the first chapter. That said, I’m not going to mention it here because I believe it packs a punch and it will be best if you don’t see it coming. Rafe’s irrational reaction to Laurel was not based on statistics and I’m going to leave it at that. His need to continue to not stray from his narrow-minded judgment for over half the book wore thin.
“I came here because I met a handsome prince at an enchanted castle, but it turns out he was just a frog in a nice suit,”
Laurel’s timing to visit Rafe didn’t work in her favour. In the midst of dealing with a business problem, Rafe initially welcomes Laurel until he assumes he knows all, making her reconsider her decision to visit Vegas in the first place. Now in all fairness, Laurel is young, they barely know each other but she is a smart woman and he is a crime boss. Feelings, as we know, can rattle a person so I decided to give them both a pass. Then I found myself glancing sideways at Rafe’s main muscle man, Sin. And was I distracted!
“I know they’re sexy beasts, but they’re soul stealers, every last one of them.”
OMG, I thought I was stepping out on Mateo when Rafe came on the page but then I got to know Sin and oh dear all I can say is that I am a goner for these guys. They are everything a woman with an ounce of self-preservation should steer clear of. Sin wormed his way into my good books as so many anti-heroes have done before. My big question is how much of a hero is he?
He drowns me in a pool of desire just to see if I can swim?
So there I was floating around oblivious to the sharks circling my metaphorical happy space and then a sharp bite of Morelli reality snapped me back to my senses. Not all is what it seems and then Rafe decides to up his game, reminding me why I fell so hard for him in the first place. He certainly knows how to impress! The helicopter was a tad over the top but then he went and wrapped it up beautifully with a simple gesture. I was impressed but my heart was torn. Now I am at a loss as to which direction I want the story to head in. I have a couple of thoughts, but the one I initially had no longer has the same appeal as before. Sam has turned my thoughts around before and I am sure she’ll do it again. Hey, it happened between chapter one and the epilogue here!
I can’t wait until I can talk this book out and I am bursting with a growing need to debrief. While I will save my thoughts on what happened in Staying in Vegas for another time it’s important to add that Rafe is his own man, he is not a replica of Mateo and I shouldn’t have assumed as much. What I discovered early on is Rafe’s world is it’s a lot more relaxed but still dangerous. I adored the dry humour and the unexpected chemistry between characters. The cameo appearances of characters from past Morelli books helped me to connect instantly to the story but just keep in mind this is a fresh start!
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