Mixed emotions about Ivan. The book, not the dude.
The way the story actually is written needs some time to get used to. Erin tells her part of the story in the first person while Ivan´s story is told in the third person. There is a permanent switch between those different POVs and it does not help to get really sucked into it.
The book starts already on the first page with a hardly believeable scene. Why would Erin´s two best friends ride with her in the car to Ivan´s gym when all they do is trying to talk her out of it to seek his help? Not to question their loyality, but they do nothing but make sure she has her cell phone, and reassure Erin that she has their back. And then she is on her own. Okaaay, sure.
Ivan is annoyed at first that a stranger walks into his martial arts school, a woman too!, but he also respects her bravery, or her stupidity. It depends, I guess.
Erin´s sister Ruby and one of his former friends/pupils are missing in action. Two drug addicts who crossed the line into criminal behavior and are now hunted by an Albanian mob plus some latin gang who more or less have divided Houston between themselves.
Ivan against his better judgment is helping her, and it doesnt take all that long that they are deeply into eachother. Ivan isn´t only one of the most dangerous man in town, but also a gentle soul. Emotionally vulnerable while being cocky and possessive. A good combination since he doesnt come across as a complete alpha OTT male. Erin is slightly naive but also genuine in her concern about her sister and her interest in Ivan. She stumbles into shit without giving things a second thought, but knows when its better to give Ivan the reins to lead. She is less badass, but smart with flaws.
The narrative itself about the drug addicted sister, and the story between Erin and Ivan follows a pretty straight forwarded path but the narrative itself is not without problems. Details dont add up, there are continuity errors, like when Erin encounters a ragey Albanian mobster but refers to him just some pages later as "them" in plural form. Info dumping without any background when Ivan knows the whole backstory just like that. Granted he told Erin he would ask around but nothing is made clear what kind of "asking around" is happening. Did he use his friends and martial arts pupils? Contacts to former/ current Russian mobsters? Who knows.
And the ever so loving name game. One would think that Erin especially knows the name of her friend and even of her own sister when they are talking to eachother. I can only guess they repeat those names constantly to make sure that they in fact speak with the right person.
The sex is not without heat and is extremely yummy and steamy. Some me-time ahead. I strangely enjoyed it more than I probably should. Its one of those guilty pleasure that dont really make a whole of sense, or only when one is willing to overlook certain things.
So yeap, I am giving the book alot of slack, even I am aware that believeable it is not.