Release Day Review: Menace by J.M. Darhower

Menace by J.M. Darhower
Series: Scarlet Scars #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Links: Ebook • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Once upon a time, there was a guy who got so fed up with life that he resorted to murder and mayhem just to feel alive.

Lorenzo Gambini is bored. So f*cking bored. Most people either annoy him or avoid him, afraid to face him. Figuratively. Literally. With his face partially disfigured, scarred, he looks every bit the monster the stories make him out to be: the notorious menace they call Scar. They say he’s a sociopath. Maybe he’s a psychopath. Whatever path he’s on, people tend to stay far away from it.

Until one day, a young woman bumps right into him–a woman just as fed up with life, but for much different reasons. With a Scarlet Letter inked on her wrist and secrets buried deep in her soul, Morgan Myers is running from something… or maybe somebody. Lorenzo isn’t quite sure.

You can bet your ass he’s going to figure it out, though.

J.M. Darhower is one of my top favorite mafia romance authors, and every time she has a new release (which recently usually comes as a surprise), I get SO excited and ready for it. Menace is the first in the Scarlet Scars duet, which is a spinoff of the Monster in His Eyes series. Admittedly, I’d completely forgotten who Lorenzo was so I had to do a little reread of the Monster in His Eyes series, which I couldn’t complain about – it’s only my favorite mafia romance series ever. But thankfully the reread got me prepared for Lorenzo’s story, which was an absolute fantastic experience to read. I loved it so much, even though it’s not a typical love story. You just need to read it to experience it!

Lorenzo Gambini is anti-hero personified. He’s not a good man – in fact, many are terrified of him and you could say that he’s a sociopath. He’s got issues from his past and a scar on his face, but that doesn’t stop him from being top dog in his underworld. Nobody crosses him without getting punished, so it’s a surprise to him when he bumps into a gorgeous woman… who ends up robbing him of his wallet. Rather than exacting his revenge though, Lorenzo ends up intrigued and captivated by this woman, who’s internal scars match the ones he holds inside him.

“I’d wreck you for any man that came along after me, put them all to shame, because I’d give you exactly what you wanted.”
“How could you possibly know what I want?”
“Because,” he says, grabbing a fistful of my hair and twisting my head, forcing me to turn away from him. “Looking at you is like looking in a mirror, Scarlet.”

Morgan Myers, aka Scarlet, is mystery personified. Who is she running from? How is she involved with the Russian mafia? What is she looking for? Morgan is very different from heroines that I’m used to, and her tenacity and frankness felt like a breath of fresh air to read about. She knows what it’s like to struggle, but she keeps getting up every time she’s pushed down, and I loved her for it. I especially enjoyed the way she never backed down from Lorenzo. They were the perfect match for each other. I do want to warn you, though, the romance between them is very slow to develop. I liked the pace that it went at, but I will say that I’m excited for it to move more forward in the next book.

I know he’s just a man. A man with flaws. A man with his own problems. And I know he can’t solve my problem. Not really. He can’t fix what’s wrong with me. Nobody can. They can’t even understand. But being around him, it makes me feel things, things I’ve missed just as much as the music and the laughter, things that make me feel alive again.
He’s excitement. He’s adrenaline.
He makes my heart do stupid shit.

Everything about this book, from the characters to the story, took me by surprise in the best way. To say it was unpredictable would be an understatement. I was so impressed with the way I never really saw things coming. And the twist at the end was KILLER!! The ending isn’t too bad, but you’ll definitely want to get the next book asap. Sadly it won’t be here until next month, but I’m waiting with baited breath! J.M. Darhower honestly never disappoints, so if you love her books, you’ll probably love this new series. It’s a little funnier than her other books too – Lorenzo’s POV is hilarious. It’s crude and blunt, sarcastic and a little sassy. Not what I was expecting from this crazy man, but I loved it anyway!

4.5 hearts

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Scarlet Scars series

#1 ~ Menace: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ Grievous: Goodreads (out Feb. 2017)

The Scarlet Scars series is a spinoff of the Monster in His Eyes series, though you don’t have to read the previous series to understand the new one.

Reading Order: Monster in His Eyes series

Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower Torture to Her Soul by J.M. Darhower Target on Our Backs by J.M. Darhower

#1 ~ Monster in His Eyes: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Torture to Her Soul: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Target on Our Backs: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads


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