Title: (Watch Me) Break You
Author: Avril Ashton
My Rating: A-
Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: Run This Town #1
Main Characters: Dima and Xander
Release Date: September 2014
Publisher: Sinner's Haven
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: erotic
Men. Women. Drugs. Dima Zhirkov’s favorite things. Add in the element of danger and he should be right as rain. But not today. It’s not working, hasn’t for a long time. He’s grasping at the flimsiest of straws to prove he’s indeed strong enough to run his streets. Until he sets eyes on him. In the midst of a room full of strangers, Dima is drawn to a man as cold and dangerous as he’s beautiful. Captivated, Dima embarks on a ruthless campaign to get his new toy into bed.
Here comes the danger…
Xavier "X" Storm is content to pull the strings while someone else handles the day to day dealings of his gang, The Rude Boys. He’s after what Dima holds closest—the Coney Island streets. He contracts out the job of killing the Russian, except Dima isn’t that easy to kill. When he suddenly shows up in X’s path, tempting him to indulge in the dirtiest play, he finds Dima isn’t all that easy to shake, either. His cocky attitude and rough submission tempts X to go where he’d vowed to never return, and they plunge head first into an affair fueled by possessive obsession.
Run for cover.
Sex and pain Dima can handle, and X delivers the most depraved kind. Their connection is explosive, their games addictive, but Dima can end it whenever he wishes. He doesn’t see that X is breaking him down, giving Dima everything he wants and even more than he ever thought to need. By the time he realizes who X is and what he wants, Dima is raw and bullet riddled. It’s run or fight. And Dima doesn’t back down. Neither does X.
I have debated and debated how to rate this book...anywhere from an A rating down to a B...which has A- and B+ in between (so that's more of a spread than it sounds like). The tough thing is...I loved reading the book. The experience itself was really good. I liked the book.
What I didn't like were these two characters and what they stand for. They are NOT nice guys. Both Dima and X are mob bosses, fighting for territory in NYC. They are brutal, vicious, and their lives are filled with drugs, gun-running, and prostitution...and they're okay with that. Even with the fact that people are dying because of them. See, not nice guys. But what Avril Ashton does with these two men is brilliant because she made them empathetic. I wanted them to find their happily ever after, whether they honestly deserved it or not. There is NO character growth arc in this book. They are mean mothers at the beginning and they stay that way until the end. And I mean that seriously. These guys are NOT guys you ever want to have a run in with, because they will kill you without a second thought. Hell, they love one another and that still doesn't keep them from physically, awfully hurting one another.
But even in the gritty, dark underworld of this book, I found moments of redeeming qualities between these two. Their love is so incredibly unlikely. It made me root for them more. These are not guys who easily have/develop emotions, so when they do, that vulnerability is attractive AND that's what drew me to the characters and this story.
It's a haunting story, and even though I had my issues with the bones of the set-up, I'll admit I went and one-clicked the next three in the series. Maybe this series will be my dirty little secret (which I'm sharing with all of you)...I don't want to like the characters and what they stand for, but I just can't help myself.