Dirty Promises by Karina Halle
on September 15, 2015
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Dark, Erotica, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thriller
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Blood. Sex. Revenge.
Being king comes at a brutal price.
Drug lord Javier Bernal has sliced and diced his way to the top of the Mexican drug trade, presiding over the country's largest cartel. But his rise to power comes at a brutal price: the death of his sister, Alana. Devastated and wracked with guilt, he turns away from his new wife, Luisa, forcing their marriage into a steady decline. But it isn't until she's pushed into the waiting arms of Esteban Mendoza, his right-hand man, that Javier realizes everything he's lost.
And it isn't until he learns the truth about Alana, that he realizes everything there is to gain.
Blood will spill.
Cities will burn.
Heads will roll.
Because Javier will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants.
And what he wants is raw, ruthless revenge.
Dirty Promises is the third and final book in the Dirty Angels Trilogy. While the other two books - Dirty Angels and Dirty Deeds - can be read as standalones, it is recommended you read at least Dirty Angels before reading Dirty Promises.
I had to admit, it was kind of romantic. Her and I drinking coffee, the waves crashing outside, the world dark and sleeping, while we planned the murder and torture of…
Do not mistake this book for romantic fluff. There is absolutely nothing sweet, cute, or adorable about this story. It’s harsh, it’s despair, it’s kind of gross if I’m being honest. Dirty Promises, promises to be dirty. I came this close to putting it down. Not just for the grossness but because of the brutal harshness of these players lives. Knowing it was fiction helped. But you still can’t stop feeling for the characters, even wondering if this is the norm for South American cartels. Yes my brain took me that far.
I could go on and on like I usually do about Karina Halle’s writing, but if you follow my reviews you already know that. She’s amazing, her writing poetic, but now I know just how depraved she is. I would never expected it to be honest. Yes she’s been gritty in the past, even dirty. Just not to this level or extreme.
So the big question is, was it good?
Especially for the Javier Bernal fans who’ve been following him since his first appearance in the Artist’s Trilogy. Dirty Promises is I think, the culmination, the finale for Javier and Luisa. And a bloody finale it is. I never really enjoyed Javier in previous books. I didn’t see the sexy appeal of a drug lord. He was violent, crude, and a murderer. That all changed for me in Dirty Promises. I think we finally had a meeting of the minds. I suddenly understood him. I felt bad for him. I wanted to see him succeed. Ridiculous as this all sounds, I was so engrossed in the story that I read it in one sitting. Javier is the worst you’ve ever seen. He’s driven by guilt and grief over his sister Alana’s death. He’s so lost that he’s pushing away Luisa.
Luisa was my small glimmer of hope for Javier. I thought if anyone can pull him through this it’s her. She tries, oh does she try. But we have remember her background isn’t all butterflies and rainbows either. She’s got to have some ptsd for sure. So when the only stability in her life falls apart what does she do? Who does she turn to?
Esteban Mendoza has a plan, ugh he’s so gross, and he’s after Luisa. I was so angry with her for falling for him. But I can’t say I was surprised. I wanted her to be stronger. I wanted her to stick by Javier. I wanted them to have a happy ending. Esteban is beyond any character I think I’ve ever read. I mean he’s a walking horror movie. So much nasty. Devil incarnate dressed like a surfer. You’ll hate him.
Mexican cartels are vicious. It’s a dog eat dog business. Survival of the fittest. For Javier, Luisa, and Esteban it all comes to a head. And heads will roll…literally. I found my heart racing through a good portion of the book. I was frightened for some of the characters. Actually found myself distrusting of others, much like Javier. Amazing how much I sided with him. I’m still shocked about my feelings for him now.
I love Karina Halle. I love that she pushes and pushes her boundaries as well as ours. I have a new found appreciation for her writing. I’m even a little afraid of her now. Above all though she has my respect. Her ability to write so many different types of romances and write them well is amazing. She’s diverse, relevant, and a must read for anyone who loves edgier romances.
*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*
My gun began to feel heavy in my hands. I needed to use it, and soon.
Light was seeping in underneath the door, so I pushed my goggles up on my head and slowly pushed it open.
The kitchen was empty, and the only light came from above the stove. The fridge hummed and the house was silent except for muffled laughter coming from down the hall.
A terrible scream splintered the room.
A man’s scream.
Had the ambush already begun?
I exchanged a worried glance with Diego as we heard doors further down the hall being flung open. Footsteps.
People ran past the kitchen, heading up the stairs toward the scream, not bothering to look our way.
All of them except for Juanito, that was.
He stopped dead in his tracks at the archway, staring at us like we were ghosts. I couldn’t help but grin.
He snapped out of it, reaching for his gun, but mine was already aimed at him. I shot him in the kneecaps, both of them, just as his gun fired, bullets cracking the ceiling.
Then, as if on cue, all of the outside erupted in gunfire. The sound shook the walls, and through the rattling windows bursts of light filled the sky. My army was here.
I ran over to Juanito who was screaming in pain, and picked him up by the collar, shaking him.
“All right you little fuckface,” I sneered at him, trying to fight the urge to strangle the fucking life out of him. “Tell me where Esteban is and I’ll make your death painless. Don’t tell me and I’ll break your bones with a hammer. Which one is it?”
His screaming wouldn’t stop. I shook him again. “You can’t protect him now. You’ll never fucking walk again and he sure as hell won’t give two fucks about a pathetic piece of garbage like you. So talk.”
But before he could, Diego was calling out my name. I let go of Juanito, rolling over him just in time as the air above me burned with bullets. Diego fired back at the assailants, and I kept rolling until I was behind the kitchen island. I quickly reached for the grenade which I knew could take out enough of them without damaging the structural integrity of the house, and tossed it out of the kitchen. It rolled down the hallway.
They yelled at each other to move but it was too late. I pressed my hands over my ears as the blast went off.
“Jesus, Javi,” Diego swore as pieces of plaster rained down on him. “You haven’t even moved back in yet.”
I didn’t care if it was sloppier than my usual methods — it was efficient. I scrambled to my feet and stared at the wreckage. There was a ragged hole in the wall, smoke and flames licking the edge.
I shrugged. “I wanted to open up that room anyway.”
Miraculously, or something of that nature, Juanito was still alive, holding on to his bleeding and blasted knees as he writhed on the floor.
He was missing half his face though, so it wasn’t like he escaped the explosion unscathed. He was very scathed and crawling for freedom.
I covered my nose and mouth with the crook of my elbow and walked into the smoke, letting it wash over me. Juanito looked up at me with what was left of him, begging for mercy with an outstretched hand.
I stepped on his hand instead, crunching the bones beneath my boot.
“That was for my sister,” I seethed. “I know you intercepted her call when she was calling me for help.”
“Javier, we have to go,” Diego said, coughing and coming over to stop me. A war was raging around me, but none of it mattered. All that mattered was an eye for an eye.
This time I stomped on Juanito’s arm, driving it in with all my might, like I was squashing a cockroach, until I felt it break beneath me.
But I was the furthest thing from happy.
And Juanito couldn’t even speak at this point. His mouth was a flap of burning skin, covering a gaping hole. He was useless.
I slid the hunter’s knife out of its sheath, and with one swift motion, stabbed it downward into the top of his skull.
The screaming stopped.