Review: Ruthless by Lexi Blake (Lawless #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by Berkley Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

Eleanor Stratton has been trying to prove that she's more than worthy to become the CEO of StratCast, the company her late father and his close friend started years ago. She's set to take over and she wants to purchase the current CEO's shares, but her new lawyer wants her to hold off, citing discrepancies in the contract. Riley Lang seems to know what he's talking about and he insists he'll always have Ellie's best interests at heart. But Riley Lang isn't even his real name. He's Riley Lawless, second son of the couple Ellie's father and his business partner had killed two decades ago. He and his siblings have been focused on one goal but now their plans are experiencing an unexpected complication: Riley's intensifying feelings for Ellie. Now, Riley'll have to choose: the vengeance that is his life or the woman who has become his life.

I do love me a well-crafted romantic suspense novel, and with Ruthless being the series starter to Lawless, featuring the three Lawless brothers--Andrew, Riley, and Brandon--who seek revenge and justice for the murder of their parents twenty years prior, I believe I've found myself a new collection of books to obsess over. This also happens to be my very first Lexi Blake read, and because this series is a spin-off of her bestselling Masters and Mercenaries books, I can't help but wonder what took me this frickin' long to read her stuff, especially since the most recent release, Dominance Never Dies, features Mia, the youngest and only girl among the Lawless siblings. With the second book in the Lawless series set for release in January 2017, I'm hoping to have sufficient time to read through the original series before diving into Satisfaction.

We've got ourselves the very interesting family dynamic among Drew, Riley, Bran, and Mia, each sibling distinct but every single one unified by their love and loyalty to the memory of the parents they lost too soon as well as to one another, and it's a loyalty that's tested by the inclusion of Ellie in Riley's life. Among the four, it's only Mia who wasn't forced to live in a group home after their parents were murdered, so her childhood was far more different compared to that of her brothers. Riley is not just haunted by the deaths of his father and mother but also by one particular experience while in foster care. The Lawless brood didn't just have their parents taken from them, but also the life they could have had, a life they think Ellie enjoyed due to her father's actions. Only, Ellie's life under her father's thumb was so far from an ideal one.

I applaud the author for coming up with a cast of characters that are multi-dimensional. You want to learn what lies beneath the need for revenge and if there's anything or anyone that can divert the attention of the three older Lawless siblings. Riley and Ellie survived--him after the loss of his parents and her while her father was still alive. They both carry the legacy that their parents left behind and the weight that they've taken on is a heavy one. They're good people who deserve to have peace of mind and happiness with each other, but getting there isn't going to be easy, especially when the truth comes out. The mystery aspect was one I reveled in, with a sufficient number of twists, majority of which I didn't see coming. With that epilogue, I'm already counting the days until the release of the second novel. Five stars for Ruthless. ♥

Date Read: 11 August 2016

Learn more about Lexi Blake.

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