Not what I was expecting. This is one of my favorite books of this year and is going on the list of my all-time favorites!
The story of Vasily and Naomi kind of snuck up on me. This is the third story in the Hitmen series but it's the first one of the series I've read and my first book by these authors. I had no idea what to expect but I didn’t expect such outstanding writing, nuanced characters and a well layered plot.
Last Kiss is about Vasily's quest to rise from a hitman for the Bratva (like the Russian mafia) to become the head of the Bratva. He is given a mission by the elders of the Bratva that if accomplished would allow him to rise to power with minimal bloodshed. In order to accomplish the task, he needs a world class hacker, enter Naomi.
Naomi was the most unexpected part of this book. Naomi is a beautiful, genius, computer hacker who also happens to have Aspergers. When I first realized she had Aspergers I admit, I was giving the book all sorts of side eyes. I just didn’t know how to feel about a heroine with a mild form of autism. But therein lies the brilliance of the book. The authors take a condition that many of us have limited familiarity with and do a beautiful job of showing us that love, romance and freaking HAWT sex are available if we can just expand our thinking.
It turns out that Naomi is perfect for Vasily. Or more accurately, it turns out that Naomi's imperfections perfectly suit Vasily's imperfections. Vasily was abused as a child and manipulated by a powerful woman. He didn't need the intrigue of the typical heroine who talks in riddles and suffers from her own emotional issues. Naomi's inability to BS and limited capacity for empathy was exactly what Vasily needed. The relationship in this book is written in a beautiful and compelling way. You will want to see these two people together and you will be rooting for them as they face adversity.
I was particularly drawn to the scenes where we are told how Naomi feels about her Aspergers in her own POV. I thought the description of her insecurities and her desire to be viewed as a normal person was agonizingly well done. Naomi’s feelings about herself are juxtaposed against Vasily’s feelings about himself and what he deserves and the effect on us the readers is deeply emotionally impactful.
As Naomi and Vasily proceed on their quest in the book, there are lots of laughs to be had. Naomi truly says the stuff the rest of us just think. Like at one point she tells Vasily not to sweat on her after sex. I’ve always wanted to say that to my husband but I’ve just never quite had Naomi’s lack of fu-ks. The book is fast paced, filled with action and easy to read.
I give some books 5 stars because I just really really love the story but this 5 star rating is more than that. This is my “truly epic shit” 5 star rating. This isn’t just a story that I loved, these are characters that I love, writing that is compelling and a book that I won’t just forget.
**ARC provided by Publisher**