Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Eagle Elite #6
Release Date: July 9, 2015
Twenty-Four hours before we were to be married–I offered to shoot her.
Ten hours before our wedding–I made a mockery of her dying wish.
Five hours before we were going to say our vows–I promised I’d never love her.
One hour before I said I do–I vowed I’d never shed a tear over her death.
But the minute we were pronounced man and wife–I knew.
I’d only use my gun to protect her.
I’d give my life for hers.
And I would, most definitely, lose my heart, to a dying girl—a girl who by all accounts should have never been mine in the first place.
I always believed the mafia would be my end game–where I’d lose my heart, while it claimed my soul. I could have never imagined. It would be my redemption.
Or the beginning of something beautiful.
The beginning of her.
The end of us.
Every once in a while, you come across a book that steals a part of you in a completely unexpected way. A book that infiltrates your head and heart before you even know what’s happening, embedding itself in you irrevocably. Elude is one of those books. I knew from the synopsis that this book would be heavy, ripe with overwhelming emotion and harsh realities, but I had no idea the magnitude of that effect. Rachel Van Dyken has written an epic love story that simply transcends the pages of her novel, forcing us to reexamine everything you think you know about life and love. Elude is very much a departure from the previous books in the series. The emotional weight of this story is crushing, changing the tide of this series with its devastating truths and transformative connections. Elude focuses on the family, on the relationships, allowing readers to fully comprehend the meaning of loyalty and love in Rachel Van Dyken’s mafia world. This story epitomizes acceptance in an exquisite and singular way, proving the significance of finding the strength to accept loss, life, and fate.
“You’re dead inside… and you don’t even know it. Forget cancer – and take a long hard look in the mirror – that’s what death looks like.”
It requires a special gift to take a character like Sergio, who you’d gladly punch in the face at times, and transform him into something bigger, something pure and beautiful, but Rachel has blown me away with the growth and development of this character. Sergio’s story was like watching a caterpillar become a butterfly, but with a lot more cursing, tons of innuendos, and a ridiculous amount of firearms. He might have just stolen my heart as far as those Eagle Elite men go, and that is truly saying something. Sergio met his perfect match in Andi, a fiery, verbose little pixie that proves to be a serious force of nature. Her view on life brought balance to Sergio’s, challenging everything he thinks he knows and pushing him to be a better man. Their stolen moments of bliss wrenched my heart, while their easy banter and argumentative natures made me laugh. They butted heads more than they got along, constantly succeeding in pissing each other off, but it gave them a tangibility and relatability that simply can’t be denied. Rachel Van Dyken took this couple and dipped them in darkness before infusing them with light, creating a dynamic that was utterly breathtaking and decidedly unforgettable.
“Either way, life… it is meant to be lived, it is meant to be felt, regardless of how painful or sorrowful the journey.”
As much as I have loved every book in this series, this one in particular spoke to me. Something inside me connected with both Sergio and Andi. Their vulnerabilities and desperate need to feel grabbed at me, until I was completely lost to the emotions of their journey. I sobbed, full on ugly cried more than once during this book. Several times having to stop and take a deep breath because my eyes were too blurred with tears to read. Rachel Van Dyken’s words have a power to them that enchanted me, leaving me feeling raw and somehow altered. Elude took a small step back from the mafia side of things, running it in the background and allowing Sergio and Andi to be front and center. This story was theirs on each and every page, giving Elude the sense of being far more personal than the other books in the series so far. There were times when I wanted to hate this book, where I thought once or twice about launching my kindle out the window, but then a simple word or small gesture would remind me how truly beautiful this story is. Rachel Van Dyken has left me with a desperate need for the next book in the series and a deep ache in my chest, where Sergio’s story has permanently taken a piece of me. Elude is a stunning work of art, that is an absolute MUST read!!
Oh, dearest Rachel Van Dyken – you have COMPLETELY changed the game with this release. In so many ways, Elude was about getting back to what I fell in love with in your previous novels, while also introducing fresh twists and maintaining the integrity within the Eagle Elite series. I can honestly say that I laughed, cried, and fell in love in this book.
“But his heart – damn, it was strong. He didn’t have armor…then again, men like Sergio? Rarely needed it.”
The characters were explored on a much deeper level than the previous books in the series. I’m not sure if it was because I was already so invested, or if Van Dyken just hooked me deeper with these particular personalities, but this writing was easily the best of the series. Sergio begins just as hard and cold as we have experienced. However, we somehow get this whole transformation and see sides of him I never dreamt existed. He was absolute perfection in this novel – full of anticipation, intensity, and passion. His counterpart, Andi, proved to be just as feisty as the other females we’ve encountered. She had such fervor for life and for love, plus she was a dreamer so I think that I saw bits and pieces of myself in her. She was different from the girls in many ways, yet she complemented each and every one of the characters I have come to already love.
“But we’re together. When you have a partner, things are less scary because suddenly you aren’t facing giants all by yourself.”
The story line has less action than the previous books, but the entire novel is filled with heart-pounding, emotionally-charged moments. Rachel Van Dyken’s writing is impeccable and continues to grow leaps and bounds. It’s hard to review the plot line without giving anything away, so I will just say that Elude is a book that must be read and experienced. Readers, prepare yourselves to go on an emotional ride filled with ups and downs.
“I was no longer good. I wasn’t bad either. I was just…existing.”
I feel like with every new release in the Eagle Elite series, I find myself saying it’s my new favorite. After reading Elude, I’m still in this same boat because it’s the best I’ve read, and I don’t know how she could possibly top it in the next one. All of the emotions, the moments of Sergio and Andi alone, but especially the moments with the entire gang together were so special. I wanted to crawl inside the pages and become their friend. I’m anxious to see where the next book will lead, but I know with Van Dyken blazing the path, I will be in good hands.
“You weren’t kidding about those mimosas.” Andi yawned behind her hand as we walked through Lincoln Park. I’d originally thought to take her to the zoo since she had that odd fascination with animals, but after seeing how tired she was, I decided to save it for another day.
“Well…” I held in my chuckle. “…when you have five of them…”
“I had three.” She held up four fingers.
“Good to know you’re just fine.” I laughed. “Should I carry you?”
“Probably.” She gave me a dopey grin. “But I think I can at least make it to the car.”
“It’s about a mile away.”
“Oh.” Her face fell.
“How about a piggyback ride?” I offered lamely, hating that a simple walk to the car was making her sad because she was so exhausted.
She stopped walking and crossed her arms. “Riding a cowboy was on the list.”
“I’m not following.”
“Talk to me in a southern accent, and I’ll imagine a cowboy hat on that gorgeous head of hair and boom… I’m riding a cowboy.”
I pinched the bridge of my nose. “Andi, I have so many different scenarios that would fit perfectly with that statement. None of them, however, include me carrying you through the park while singing ‘Achy Breaky Heart.'”
“Oh good. You know it then?”
“I need to learn the art of silence.”
“Probably true.” She nodded.
“And teach it to you,” I added.
“Aw, come on cowboy…”
I rolled my eyes and turned around so she could jump onto my back. “Should I find a park bench, or can you actually jump this high?”
“Never ask a ninja if she can jump — it’s degrading.”
“My mistake. I thought you were a short Russian masquerading as a baker. Go ahead, ninja. Jump.”
She did, probably using the rest of the energy she had left. Her arms wrapped around my neck tightly. “Mush.”
“I thought I was a horse.”
“I changed my mind. Girls can do that on occasion.”
Damn, the girl made me smile. The afternoon sun was starting to set as we walked along the path. Andi was encouraging me to use a southern accent in her most Russian accent.
And I was trying to pay attention to our surroundings, just in case we’d somehow been followed.
I thought we were in the clear until we reached the edge of the park. I could see the street, and immediately regretted that simple fact the minute two black sedans pulled up to the curb.
Five men got out.
Two from the first car.
Three from the second.
Andi tensed behind me.
“Andi.” I kept my smile in place like there wasn’t anything wrong. “Got any energy left?”
“Enough.” She shuddered behind me.
“My gun,” I whispered. “It’s in the back of my pants. Reach between your legs and slide it up so nobody sees.”
“You know in any other situation…” she muttered as I felt the gun slide up my back.
“Good,” I encouraged. “The minute I put you down I want you to aim for the guy to the left. Don’t shoot for the head. Hit his kneecap so he goes down. If he reaches for his gun—”
“This isn’t my first rodeo, cowboy.”
“You’re right. I forget.”
“I’m good. Don’t worry about me.”
The tension left my body. “I won’t. Just don’t get shot. I hate having to sew up bullet wounds.”
“Please.” I could feel the energy riding off her body. “You owe me a massage if my body count’s higher.”
“So now it’s a competition?”
“Russians rarely lose.”
“Well, you should get used to it. Because this Italian’s going to hand you your ass.”
“I’d like to see you try.”
The men were trying to look nonchalant, outside their cars, smoking cigars like they weren’t waiting for the perfect opportunity to attack.
“One,” I whispered.
Andi slid farther down my back. “Two.”
“Three.” The word fell from my lips just as I ducked to the right. Andi went to my left and popped off two rounds directly into the guy’s kneecaps — not just one, but both of them. A crunching sound broke out across the park as he fell on bones, cracking them further. He wailed in pain and surprisingly didn’t reach for his gun.
Three of the men started charging me. Gun less, I could only rely on the fact that my fists were just as deadly as any gun could be, and I punched the first man in the throat then turned and elbowed the next. They stumbled back. Another gunshot went off. Andi was seriously picking them off like she was shooting fish in a bucket.
The three men turned their heads to glare at her. Then, rather than attacking, came at me again.
Surprised, I was knocked in the face by the first guy but sidestepped the next hit then landed a hard blow to his stomach followed by a knee to the groin. With a growl, I head-butted the next guy then punched him in the jaw; the sound of teeth breaking was my only indication that he’d be down for the count.
The final man circled me.
“Let me get him,” Andi pleaded behind me.
“He’s mine,” I barked.
The man shrugged and held up his hands. “You should let girl do your work.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Andi,” the man called, “why not come with us, huh? You’ve done job. Time to come home.”
“Job?” I repeated.
Andi came up beside me and aimed the gun for his forehead. “I’ve never worked for you.”
“Oh?” The man chuckled and glanced at me. “He knows as well as I know… you are never out.”
“Please let me pull the trigger.”
The man ran at us.
I ducked then heaved my body into his, sending him backward against the park bench. Punch after punch I landed to his face, his blood mixing with the slices breaking out on my knuckles.
The sound of sirens interrupted my blatant mutilation of his body.
“Serg…” Andi kicked me. “…gotta disappear.”
I backed up, chest heaving. “Right.”
With one last kick to his body, I grabbed her hand and ran like hell toward our car, our very easy-to-spot car.
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Don’t miss the rest of the Eagle Elite 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)
Ember (Eagle Elite #5)
Empire (Eagle Elite #7)
Bang Bang (Eagle Elite Spin-Off)
Enrage (Eagle Elite #8) – Releasing July 31st!
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, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!