by Jaine Diamond
Book 2 in the Vancity Villians series
Lex Davenport was the boy my dad warned me about. Literally.
The son of a Mafia boss, Lex was the bad boy I snuck around with on summer holidays. When I was ten years old, we made a marriage pact and sealed it with blood.
Then we never saw each other again.
Until he happened back into my life years later—all grown up.
Now, that boy I used to know is an outlaw biker, tattooed and mysterious… with eyes that follow me from the shadows wherever I go.
I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about him. Or why his mere presence sets my body on fire.
I don’t do bad boys.
I know; some girls say that and don’t mean it. But I really do.
Until the day another man proposes to me, right in front of Lex, and everything changes.
I never thought a childish pact could come back to screw me over like it did.
But I’m about to find out what Lex is really made of… what I’m really made of… and just how far the Devil will go to get what he wants.
So Rebel Heir started out super strong for me. The whole childhood frenemy trope, with a boy you were told not to hang around, that ends with a marriage pact ... and that very marriage pact ending up putting Lex and Natalia on a path neither of them could expect? Very intriguing. How they grow up, find one another in their new social circles, and there is an undeniable connection between the two of them? Even better. Rebel Heir even turns out to be unpredictable in its own way ... I love that! There was just something about it that felt ... off. Maybe forced? I don't know. I have nothing against dark romance, which this novel was edging toward, so it's not that. I just can't put my finger on what turned me off this book. Perhaps their chemistry with one another seemed forced? Or that Talia made choices that seemed so ... unrealistic? Like marrying a man she didn't love because he was a nice guy? I'm not sure.
Maybe it is when Lex referred to himself as "Daddy"? haha. I joke about it sure, but the word daddy in the bedroom makes me gag a little. No kink shaming, I swear. If its your thing, good for you ... its just not mine. haha.
I won't pretend that the action of this book wasn't entertaining though. I flew through this book. I just wasn't invested in Lex and Talia together, which sucks, because I really love Lex's character.
While Rebel Heir is not my favorite, or even my second, I love Jaine Diamond's work. Her romances are top notch in my opinion, and this one book doesn't ruin my opinion of the series'. I can't wait for her next book in the series.
Lex: “You and me, we’re gonna get married.”
He rolled onto his back, sucking on a melting chocolate. The sun poured over his face and he gazed up at me with his melted-caramel eyes, the picture of innocence, which he was not. I wrinkled my nose at him.
Talia: “We are not.”
Lex: “You have to marry someone, Natalia,”
he said with exaggerated patience, like he was speaking to a baby or something. He always spoke to me like that, using my full name, like my parents did when I was in trouble. I eyed him suspiciously.
Talia: “Why would I marry you?”
Lex: “Why wouldn’t you?” Lex: “Look, if you’d just agree to it…”
he said, laser focused on chocolate sorting.
Talia: “Agree to what?”
Lex: “Marry me.”
His eyes met mine, and my stomach did that weird melty thing. Shirtless Nick Carter really had nothing on those caramel eyes.
I muttered through chocolate,
Talia: “I’ll marry you. Hurry up.”
Lex: “You will?”
I lay on my back, covered in booze and barf, looking up at the man who just tried to propose to me and the guy I fell in love with when I was ten.
Talia: “Can someone please help me up, so I can die?” Talia: “Would this not be upsetting to you?”
Roni: “We’re not talking about me. This is about you. I don’t have a crush on Lex.”
Talia: “I didn’t say it was a crush.”
Roni: “I was kidding. It’s obviously much worse than a crush.” Talia: “You read… Homer?”
Lex didn’t answer me. He just yanked open a deep drawer in the bedside table, swiped the entire stack of books into it and unceremoniously closed it. I blinked at him, curious.
Talia: “It’s poetry.”
Lex: “It’s not.
Talia:” “It literally is. It’s a love story.”
Lex: “It’s war and destruction,”
Talia: “Uh-huh. Because of…”
my voice faded at the look on his face,
Talia: “… a love story,” As we stared each other down, his tongue swiped over his bottom lip. He either wanted to eat my face or kill somebody. And my ovaries twitched with want. Yes, they hissed, like witches over a cauldron, we like this one. I could practically feel them priming eggs for release.
Lex: “Do you love him?”
Lex growled, his voice like gravel.
NO! my ovaries chorused. Tell him you want HIM. Only him. We’ll save him the best eggs! I shook my head. God, my imagination was annoying at times. Lex: “Let’s get one thing straight. There is no universe that has ever existed where I didn’t always care about you.” Lex: “I told you,”
I growled, rubbing my eyes and suddenly feeling exhausted,
Lex: “we don’t have time for this, okay?”
Talia: “Well, when is there ever time in your schedule to admit how you really feel about me? What you really want with me? Because, I don’t know about you, but ever since you interrupted my wedding and kidnapped me and brought me to some creepy house in the woods, my schedule is pretty clear!”
Lex: “The house is creepy?”
Talia: “Any house where you detain a girl against her will is creepy, Lex.” Lex: Natalia—”
Talia: “Don’t call me that.”
When I looked at him again, he was tucking his dick away. He gazed up at me as I stood over him.
Talia: “And don’t look at me like that. You are not that boy I promised to marry.”
Lex: “I know I’m not.”
He got slowly to his feet.
Lex: “I’m a man you like much better than that boy. And let’s both just admit, you loved that boy.”
Tears stung in my eyes faster than I could stop them. I turned away and started walking back in the direction I thought the car was parked.
Talia: “Don’t forget your knife. It looks expensive.”
I stopped after a few more paces, realizing I had no idea where I was going. I glanced back at him. Lex sheathed the knife into his boot and swiped his hand through his gorgeous hair.
Lex: “Car’s that way.”
I pivoted and headed in that direction, not waiting for him. I was sure he could keep up.
Lex: “I loved you too, you know,”
he said somewhere behind me, but I didn’t stop. Lex shook his head.
Lex: “What are you preparing to do, say I did take off?”
Talia: “Well, if it’s a car, easy enough to throw myself on the hood. Boat, trickier. Depends on the boat. Helicopter… I’d need to get the timing right, but if you tried to lift off without me, I’d definitely be grabbing onto one of the runner things like they do in the movies.”
He stared at me.
Lex: “You mean the landing skids?”
Talia: “Is that what they’re called?”
Lex: “What are you, a stuntwoman now? You’d get yourself killed.”
Talia: “Your fault. Shouldn’t have tried to leave.”
Lex: “I was trying to save your life.”
I held his gaze.
Talia: “I don’t need a hero. I’d rather go down in flames with the villain.” Talia: “If you keep quoting Romeo at me, I’m going to fall irreversibly in love with you, Lex Davenport.”
Lex: “You’ve already done that,” When I was with Lex, I could understand how with some people, it took a lifetime to get enough of their love. How you died, old, in each other’s arms, still in love. Still falling. Piper: “They call him the Devil of the underworld, right? Have you ever asked yourself, if that’s true, then who the hell is God?” Lex: “Think about it. Ask yourself why anyone would want me to marry you. Like for example, why my father might want me to marry you, after ordering me to abduct you to try to collect ransom from your dad.”
Talia: “Because I’m a great catch!”
She looked from me to Maddox and back, like, Isn’t it obvious?
Talia: “I’m almost literally a princess!”
Maddox sat back to enjoy this. Talia: “Wait. If he was sent to seduce me, why wouldn’t he—”
Talia clamped her mouth shut when we both looked at her.
Talia: “He wouldn’t, you know…”
She leaned in and whispered in my ear.
Talia: “Put it in.”
My molars ground together at the mental image. Even though she just said he didn’t fuck her… now I was halfway pissed for her and halfway pissed with the mental image of him putting it anywhere near her.
Lex: “I want way less details,”
Maddox: “Oh, shit.”
Maddox read my face. Or maybe Talia’s.
Maddox: “He didn’t lay that pipe.”
Talia made an annoyed sound.
Talia: “I thought he was being a gentleman! But if he didn’t even love the cow, why not just take the milk? It was free!”
Maddox scratched his head.
Maddox: “I mean, if I’m him and I don’t want you to know who I am, I’m probably not taking off my clothes in front of you, so you don’t see a bunch of biker tats. I’m thinkin’ he was keeping those under wraps? There was… uh… also something mentioned about your dad being old school. Maybe he told Carl—Giancarlo—not to, you know, sour the milk until after he’d taken the cow back to his barn in holy matrimony?”
Talia: “Ugh. Gross, Dad,” Talia: “I can’t believe you don’t even want to consider marrying me!”
Lex: “I didn’t say that. But you really want to be forced into yet another situation by a bunch of men calling the shots?”
Talia: “Oh, make no mistake. You are not calling the shots. You didn’t even propose yet. Don’t get ahead of yourself.”
She got up.
Talia: “And by the way, I hated that diamond ring he gave me. No wonder I choked on it. My dad probably picked it out. I hope, for your sake, you can do much better.”
With that, she left, slamming the door in her wake.
Maddox: “Mafia princess, huh? Good luck with that.”
Yeah. Shit. Lex: “Maddox.”
He paused at the door and met my eyes.
Lex: “Thank you for telling us all this. I know you didn’t have to.”
He’d used his knack for gathering intel to help me, when he didn’t have to; it was a gesture. Of friendship, of forgiveness, or for old times’ sake. Whatever his reason, it was selfless.
Maddox: “You’re welcome. And also, fuck you.” Maddox: “Make me best man at your wedding, we’ll see.”
He left, then popped his head back in.
Maddox: “I’m not wearing a fuckin’ tux, though.”
He shut the door behind himself. Talia: “Just waiting around in case some hot dude in a costume came around, trick-or-treating.”
Lex: “Yeah? You giving away tricks? Or treats?”
Talia: “Whichever you prefer.”