I am one of the few that was Team Javier all through The Artists Trilogy by Karina Halle. So I couldn't wait to get more of my favorite bad guy! Though you do first meet Javier in The Artists Trilogy, you do not have to read those books first. This series can be read separately from that, but I would recommend starting with The Artists Trilogy anyways because for one it is fantastic, and two you really do get to understand so much more about Javier and the life he lives. Make sure that you take the warnings seriously though, as these books aren't for those with trigger issues. These are dark books that contain drugs, violence,and a lot of sex that is sometimes violent. Readers should be prepared for that before deciding whether this story is right for them.
Former beauty queen Luisa Chavez will do whatever it takes in order to provide for her family. Growing up poor, she works hard to provide what little she can for them. So when she attracts the attention of cartel leader Salvador Reyes and he offers her money and security in exchange for marriage to him she can't afford to say no. Immediately following their marriage, she realizes that there is more to her new marriage than just the finest things money can buy. Soon she is facing the ugliness and violence or what being Salvador's wife means. Looking for any escape, she finally breaks free from him only to find herself in the hands of Salvador's enemy Javier Bernal. Soon she is wondering if it would have been better to remain with the devil she knows, rather than the one she doesn't. Javier is determined to ruin Luisa, but along the way he begins to realize that she might ruin him first.
I didn't think it was possible to love Javier more than I did before, but Karina Halle proved me wrong. I find his character absolutely fascinating! While Javier claims to have no soul, it is clear that there is something there. He does do incredibly bad things, and he is tougher than anyone. Yet he also lives by a code that he refuses to break. He honors his promises, and he does have feelings even if they are buried deep and don't come out often. I loved seeing him get to know Luisa here, and it was clear that they had a connection right away. Luisa might have come off as weak and mild-mannered at first, but she was incredibly strong to sacrifice everything about herself in order to try and provide for her family. It was fantastic to see her come into her own as the book progressed, and I loved how perfect she became for Javier. These two had a great connection building that started off in a very unconventional way, but their chemistry was so intense. I couldn't get enough of these two and the sparks between them.
Overall, this was a great story! I cannot go into everything I loved about this book because I really don't want to spoil anything! This one just needs to be read and experienced. I have to say that the end was my absolute favorite, and I really loved how things turned out. It was absolutely perfect, and I thought that Luisa and Javier were beyond what I had ever imagined. As I said before, I have always been Team Javier, so I was upset for a long time that he didn't end up with Ellie. But after reading Dirty Angels, it was clear that he didn't end up with her because while they were great, it wasn't who he was meant to be with. I firmly believe that Luisa is everything he needed and more, and these two could not have been better suited. I cannot wait to read more in this series and from Karina Halle in the future. If you haven't read anything from her yet, you are seriously missing out. Her stories aren't always an easy journey, but yet they are well worth the ride! She is one of my favorite authors, and she continues to prove just what a talented writer she is in whatever she chooses to do.