Title – Ember
Author – Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date – February 19, 2015
Series – Eagle Elite, #5
I am a Killer. A Rapist. A Monster.
I know only pain and survival.
That is until the Cappo’s sister walked into my life.
And changed everything.
She’s a light who makes my darkness darker, her smile makes my heart turn to ice, and I can’t escape the fear her seductive looks instill–knowing it’s only a matter of time before I fail–again, and take her for myself.
This is the story of my redemption.
But it’s not pretty…I died, and now I’m alive, but not living, breathing but not surviving. I am Phoenix De Lange, son to a murdered mob boss, estranged brother, horrible friend, monster in the making, newest leader to one of the most powerful families in the Cosa Nostra.
And I will have my vengeance.
Or die trying.
I am Phoenix De Lange.
Death is all I know.
Until she offers me a piece of life–I can’t resist taking.
Whenever there is a new Rachel Van Dyken release in the Eagle Elite series, I find myself getting way too excited. She has created this fictional world that grips you and makes you want to be a part of it. The thought of a mafia enterprise in a modern day setting always leaves me pondering what goes on behind closed doors and I guess that realistic feel is what keeps me continuously coming back for more.
“You love a person for who they are, embracing what they’ve been and hoping for what they’ll become.”
Ember held a much different feel from the previous books in the series. While it did have a romantic aspect, it felt much more like a tale of redemption. Where the previous books had a lot of the family workings and the individual relationships within the larger group, Ember genuinely felt like Phoenix’s book. While I loved each one, the other books could have been anyone’s story but with different names. Ember stayed true to the character that we have come to know. It forced Phoenix to confront every single one of his demons and I thought it was done quite eloquently.
“Everyone loves a bit of darkness – until it consumes them.”
I think it would be hard not to develop a soft spot for Phoenix after reading Ember. He really stepped up to the plate in all aspects and very much allowed himself to be painted in a new light. I admired that he wanted to redeem himself in the eyes of his friends, even if he didn’t believe he could be. There was something so complex that came out about his persona in Ember. Every time Rachel writes a female in this series, I find myself telling me she is my favorite and Bee is no exception. She was vulnerable and insecure, but never stopped seeing the good in people, particularly Phoenix. When he pushed, she pushed harder. When he gave up, she believed enough for both of them. Her character became the perfect complement to Phoenix.
“It was getting harder and harder to ignore her warmth – when I lived in a constant state of near-death cold.”
Overall, I really did enjoy this installment of the Eagle Elite series! There were a couple twists that kept you on the edge of your seat and definitely some romance to keep your heart swooning. I don’t know that I will ever be ready for this series to end. It’s one that keeps branching off, leading me to want everyone’s story. However, I’m glad it won’t be ending anytime soon and I’m super excited to get Sergio’s story next!
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Don’t Miss the Rest of the Series:
Enchant (Eagle Elite #0.5)
Elite (Eagle Elite #1)
Enforce (Eagle Elite #1.5)
Elect (Eagle Elite #2)
Entice (Eagle Elite #3)
Elicit (Eagle Elite #4)
Elude (Eagle Elite #6)
Empire (Eagle Elite #7)
Bang Bang (Eagle Elite Spin-Off)
Enrage (Eagle Elite #8)
I wasn’t sure how to act. Wasn’t sure if I should apologize for attacking him or thank him for not laughing in my face. Embarrassed and irritated that he was most likely going to ignore whatever it was between us even if it killed him, I stared hard at the cement floor.
“How are you feeling, little girl?”
“I’m not little.”
“You want me to call you fat?”
“No.” I lifted my head. “Call me gorgeous like you did last night.”
“Well, shit.” Phoenix ran his hands over his face then grabbed my arm and dragged me down the hall into a darkened corner. “You remember?”
“You kissed me.”
“What’s wrong with you?” I pushed against his chest. “You like me! Admit it!”
Phoenix made a face. “You were drunk, launched yourself at me, and I caught you. Did we kiss?” His eyes went completely black. “Yeah, we did, but it meant nothing.”
“Really.” He hissed out a breath through his teeth.
I pushed him against the wall. “Prove it meant nothing. Let me kiss you now, and if it meant nothing it will be like… what? Kissing your sister.”
“I’ve sworn off women.”
“So this should be an easy test then, right?”
“Bee…” Phoenix’s face was pained, as if I was holding a gun to his head rather than offering to kiss him. Was the idea so abhorrent? “Please…” His voice had a pleading tone I’d never heard before. “Don’t do this.”
“One. Little. Test.” I rose up on my tip toes and kissed him full on the mouth.
His lips refused to move against mine.
I wrapped my arms around his neck.
He stiffened even more.
Irritated, I bit his lower lip. He gasped, and I slid my tongue inside his mouth. He pushed me away with a curse then wiped his lips. “Done. Your little test is done. I didn’t respond. Happy now?”
His eyes were furious; the blue flashed like lightning against his skin. His fingertips shook as he made a fist.
“You like me.”
“Bee…” Phoenix pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingertips. “…find someone your own age, someone who’s interested in you in the way you deserve, alright?” His tone was gentle, and maybe that was what hurt the most.
It was like he was letting me down slowly, hoping I didn’t break.
But the joke was on him.
Because I was already broken.
I didn’t want boys my age — I wanted him.
“You’re a good liar.” My eyes narrowed. “And you’re lucky I’m patient.”
“Lucky?” He sputtered out a laugh. “That you like toying with me?”
“No, lucky that even though you constantly push me away…I keep coming back for more. But, Phoenix… everyone’s time eventually runs out.”
“Go to breakfast, Bee.”
“Go to hell, Phoenix.”
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at www.rachelvandykenauthor.com