August 8, 2016

RELEASE WEEK REVIEW: Ruthless (Lawless #1)

Ruthless (Lawless #1), by Lexi Blake
Publish Date:
August 9, 2016
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(Synopsis) The Lawless siblings are bound by vengeance. Riley, Drew, Brandon, and Mia believe the CEO of StratCast orchestrated their parents’ murder twenty years ago to steal their father’s software program. And there’s only one way Riley can find some solid evidence... 

Heir to the StratCast legacy, Ellie Stratton hires a new attorney to handle a delicate business matter—and she’s shocked by her attraction to him. Over the course of a few weeks, Riley becomes her lover, her friend, her everything. But when her life is threatened, Ellie discovers that Riley is more obsessed with settling an old score than in the love she thought they were building. And Riley must choose between a revenge he’s prepared for all his life and the woman he’s sure he can’t live without...

What a fantastic start to a brand new series from Lexi Blake. Ruthless has it all - corporate wranglings, a hot and sexy romance and family wrongs that need righted. 

I have a confession to make. I started Ruthless a few months ago, and around 10% in, I had to take a break. And it was mostly because I really liked both Riley and Ellie, but I hated what Riley was planning on doing to her. I understood WHY he felt he had to do it. But, that didn't mean I was happy about it. And, that discomfort over his planned actions gave me a bit of pause. I knew I would get back to the story eventually - I just needed some time to digest the beginning of the book before I continued. 

When I came back to the story, though, I was immediately thrust back into it as Riley continues lying to Ellie in order to gain access to her company so that he can take it down from the inside. Now, that's simplifying things greatly - there's no way I can go into all the corporate subterfuge that is going on on all sides, but that's essentially it. Ellie's father and her father' best friend conspired to kill Riley's parents, and he and his siblings have dedicated their lives to exacting revenge. And no one will stand in their way - not even sweet and innocent Ellie.

Except, as is usually the case, there comes a point where Riley's priorities shift. And that comes after a few super hot nights and meaningful conversations with Ellie. Now, Riley wants it all - to take down the company and protect Ellie in the process. Why did he not think she might have a problem with his initial intentions or his final goals??? 

I'm a very character-driven reader, and, despite Riley's initial plan to use Ellie and then get rid of her, I still loved him. I loved how he started to question big brother Drew's plan when it started not feeling right to him. I loved how he started planning to protect Ellie when he developed feelings for her. And Ellie was the perfect blend of strength and sweetness. She had a ton of heart, but when it mattered, she wasn't afraid to stand up for herself. And, when Riley betrayed her, she didn't make it easy for him - not one bit.  

I enjoyed getting to know Riley's three siblings. Drew wasn't always my favorite person, but I loved Mia and Bran. It was interesting how each of them have processed the death of their parents, and how that event, and the immediately follow-up events in their lives have shaped how they have chosen to handle their roles in this revenge plot. 

Ruthless kept me guessing as twists and turns I didn't see coming changed my thoughts on what would happen next. I love being surprised, and Ruthless surprised me more than once. I can't wait to read the next book in this series now - I'm expecting big things. 

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