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Black Hearts (Sins Duet #1) by Karina Halle

Black Hearts Book Cover Black Hearts
Sins Duet #1
Karina Halle
Fiction, Dark Romance
February 15th 2017

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into an obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

But it’s a love with tragic consequences.

Both the truth – and the lies – not only threaten to tear them apart, but threaten their very lives.

Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers.

And they’ll be paying the price with their souls.

NOTE: Black Hearts is book one of the Sins Duet, with the sequel, Dirty Souls, releasing in March 2017.
These books can be read as a standalone – though they are a spinoff of the Sins & Needles and Dirty Angels trilogies, Black Hearts & Dirty Souls are set 20 years in the future and follow new characters. You do NOT need to read TAT or DA to enjoy or understand this duet.

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Sins Duet #1
Part of a Duet
Sins Duet #2
Part of a Duet

ARIANNA’s review

I’ve read several books by this author and I’m a big fan of her stories, but my favorite ones are, without a doubt, her darker ones. She always manages to keep me at the edge of my seat with her dark and gritty stories, her intriguing heroes/anti-heroes and some interesting, captivating twists. ‘Black Hearts’, the first installment in Karina’s ‘Sin Duet Series’ is awesome, enthralling and sucked me in from the start. If you love dark-ish stories and you are looking for a great mix of action, suspense and steam, you must read this one ASAP.

“If Helen of Troy’s face could launch a thousand ships, Violet McQueen’s face could launch a thousand stories, all filled with lust, heartache, and death.”

Violet McQueen is a photography student in her second year at the Art Institute of San Francisco. She has a good, for the most part, relationship with her parents, but she has always felt that something  was off with her family. When she discovers that she has been raised in a house of lies, Violet doesn’t know what to believe, but she definitely wants to find the truth about her parents and their pasts. Violet’s life is changed completely when she meets a gorgeous Hispanic man, named Vicente. He’s different from any other man she has met before – he’s sexy, confident and, for whatever reason, he seems interested to get to know her. She also feels safe with him.

“I’ve had a taste of the power, the glory, the respect, and the money. I’m not saying I don’t want it. But I want it my way. Not his.

Vicente Bernal is the prodigal son, the one who is supposed to take over when his father, ‘Chefe do Cartel de Sinaloa’ retires or commands him to do so. He grew up in the cartel and he has been trained for it. However, he doesn’t want to be the next in line. He knows what it means to have the power, the respect and the money and he wants all, but on his own terms.

Violet and Vicente’s connection is strong, but what happens when their relationship seems to have tragic consequences, when the truths and the lies between them and between their families threaten to tear them apart and also threaten their very lives?

“You’re everything I’ve ever needed,” he says through a lustful groan. He bites his lip, the corded muscles of his neck straining. “I was famished, starved, for you. For this.”

‘Black Hearts’ exceeded all my expectations. I really enjoyed this thrilling first installment. It’s addictive, fantastically written and, like any other dark book I’ve read by this author, kept me guessing until the end. For one reason or another, I was at the edge of my seat the entire time reading this novel and I totally loved it.

The story has everything to keep you entertained – suspense, action, steam, with some dark-ish elements that personally I loved. However, my favorite aspect was the suspense one, which was fantastically done. So, yeah, the story has some heart pounding, nail biting moments that I really enjoyed.

I liked Violet’s character. She’s sensitive, in a very endearing way and a little shy, at least in the beginning. She’s very intuitive, which I loved and I liked how Vicente opens her eyes on some things making her strong and bolder in the process.

“You’re mine, Violet,” I murmur roughly against her mouth, my fingers pressing into her cheekbones. “I don’t care how that sounds, but it’s all truth. You belong to me.”

Vincente, like his father, is charming, sexy as hell and ruthless. While he is cruel and he has been killing ever since he was just a boy, I enjoyed his character a lot. He is intriguing, desirable, yet so very manipulative and driven. I loved his dirty mouth and I loved how slowly, but surely, he introduces Violet to a new world of pleasure, pain and passion. The sex scenes between these two are off the charts hot!

This first installment is told in multiple POVs, which I enjoyed. The plot develops at a steady pace and, as the story unfolds, many questions arise regarding the relationships between certain characters . Needless to say, I’m dying to read the second installment.

All in all, ‘Black Hearts’ is another great tale by Karina Halle – intriguing, well written, with a well-developed plot and multi-layered characters.

“The Bernals aren’t good people. The McQueens aren’t either.”

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