Title: The Lair: A Sinner's Grove Novel
After her playboy father dies in a racing boat mishap, innkeeper Daniela Dunn must travel from Northern California back to Verona, Italy and her childhood home, an estate called the Panther’s Lair. To say she’s reluctant to go is an understatement. In fact, she’s petrified. The mansion she grew up in holds terrifying memories and deeply buried secrets. It’s a place where appearances are deceiving and the price of honesty could be death.
Complicating matters is the fact that her flirtatious friend, Detective Gabe de la Torre, is tagging along—without being asked. “I don’t need a babysitter,” she complains, and is even more upset when she learns Gabe has his own secret reason for following her to Italy. As Dani is drawn into her family’s intrigues, Gabe proves he’s much more than a friend, however. He’s a sworn protector who may lose his own life in the process of saving hers.
Gabe de la Torre needs to settle old family debts before starting fresh with the woman he feels could be The One. But when a mystery woman reveals that Dani’s father may have been murdered, the stakes rise dramatically and Gabe realizes they’re now players in a treacherous game. Keeping Dani safe becomes his top priority, even as Dani strives to figure out whom she can trust: her relatives, Gabe, or even herself.
The Lair, a stand-alone novel, follows on the heels of "Sinner’s Grove," the foundational novel for A.B. Michaels’ far-reaching romantic suspense series of the same name. “Sinner’s Grove” centers around the family, friends and associates of a world-famous artists’ retreat on the coast of northern California. "The Art of Love," an award-winning historical romance, recounts the founding of the retreat by Klondike King August Wolff and artist Amelia Starling at the turn of the twentieth century. Both "Sinner’s Grove" and "The Art of Love" are available on Amazon.
Author: A.B. Michaels
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: The Promise: A Story of The Quake
Genres: Dark Romance, Romantic Suspense
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Visit the Author's Website
The Lair is taking us to Verona, Italy, where everything is not at it seems. We all know Verona for Romeo and Juliet, but with this story, we get to know the darker side of the city. It is dealing with some sensitive issues such as human trafficking, rape, and narcissism. It was done with finesse and included in such a way that was a benefit to the story. This is a romantic suspense and a good one. .
This story is full of surprises and twists, the author did a wonderful job incorporating suspense elements. Romance elements were also well done, however, the overall “darkness” in the story overshadowed the love/passion scenes. That is not necessarily a bad thing, it just not as intense as I would have liked those scenes to be. There is plenty of action, the pace is awesome, I was not crazy about Daniela, but Gabriele and Dante saved the day.
Daniela is going to her father funerals in Verona. She has not traveled to Italy since her world was shattered years ago. She has that fire that is getting her through life. At the same time, she is not in touch with all of her feelings, but little by little she is able to get the puzzle pieces together. She had some reactions that were a little off (in my humble opinion) and I had difficulties to understand her underlying motivations. That is the main reason that I had a hard time relating to her.
I really love Gabriele. He is a subtle balance between alpha and beta. Loyalty is one of his most admirable traits. He is the one that made the story so good. He is a light that is shining through the darkness, he is that sparkling hope that I am really looking for in that type of story.
Most characters in this story are broken and trying to overcome some secrets or hurts. I would love to have at least one character that would have been light and entertaining to counterbalance the darkness. That is the main reason I had a hard time writing this review, each time I am thinking about the story I go back to that dark place. Dante and Agnese are great characters. I love how they found strength by turning around what hurt the most into power. Uncle Santo is a deviant character and the author did a wonderful job with him!
The Forcelli is the most broken family I have ever encountered. It is awful to realize how the greed is changing the people that are the closer to us. That’s what is happening with Uncle Santo. I think he completely lost touch with reality, to him it is all about money and lust. I’ll stop right there, I don’t want to give up any spoilers. It was also fascinating to observe different family members giving their power away to the alpha man of the family.
I would have never slept one night in this family manor. Just reading about it was creepy and I would have run as fast as I could from it. It was definitively a ride to the dark side of the human nature. In the end, the author was able to convey a message of hope and redemption.
If you are looking for a good suspense I recommend The Lair!