Review: Ghost by A. Zavarelli


I have always been a bird. Caged by one prison or another when the only thing I ever wanted was to fly away.
Sold. Beaten. Starved. Drugged. 
Nothing scares me anymore. 
Until him. 
He makes the numbness go away. 
He is hazardous to me. It has nothing to do with his mafia lifestyle, and everything to do with what he offers.
A gilded prison. 
A retreat from everything that I once knew. The reality I have no desire to return to. 
He thinks he’s caged me, but soon… 
I’m going to fly. 
I live by a code. The Vory code. 
In this mafiya world, there are traditions. 
She does not care for these things. She does not care about anything. 
She thinks she has me fooled with her haunted eyes. 
What she can’t know is that I see her better than most. 
She wants to fly. 
But I’m going to clip her wings. 
And make her my wife. 

This is the first book for, this author I've ever read, and I love it!
Talia didn't grow up in a stellar environment. Added to the fact that she placed her trust in the wrong man, she ended up being sold into sexual slavery. Dimitri, "her boyfriend" of a month betrayed her and sold her to Arman. Since then, her life revolved around rape, drugs and beatings. All she craved for at this point was death.

Alexei is part of the Russian mafia and he lives by the Vory code. His life has not been stellar either, being an unwanted child by his father, who was embarrassed of what he called Alexei's "defect", and betrayed by the only brother he knew. When Mack, Talia's friend, asks for his help to find Talia, Alexei starts being drawn to the missing girl. He does agree to rescue her, but it's also to keep her for himself for his own agenda.
These two broken people, who have more in common than what other people see, find their way to each other in this story of trust, lust, pain, love, and happiness.
The certain twists and conflicts that they find themselves entangled in makes for a very painful but interesting read.

Alexei is rough around he edges, I mean, come on, look at his job. He practically has to be. But we see breaks from this persona when he is around Talia. Yes, he still is abrupt and cold to her at times and yes, there were times I wanted to smack him in the head for even entertaining certain thoughts, but he is a very complex character all on his own. Talia manages to delve into each layer and actually see him which, of course, freaks him out and brings his walls back up.
I loved their story. It was chock-full of emotions that I couldn't put the book down for even a second. I felt what they felt, the pain they went through, the betrayal that gutted them, and the anger that coursed through their veins.
I also felt their relief, their love, and the understanding that's shared between them.
But most of all, I loved the fact that each of this two characters loved each other for them, never wanting nor forcing one to change.

More info below:
Book 1: Crow
Book 2: Reaper


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