Always at First by Phalla S. Rios

Synopsis

Angel Mabbot is the perfect daughter.

Perfection has always been an expectation set forth by her adoring father and her overbearing, neglectful mother. Knowing she can never live up to their standards, Angel falls into a life of partying, drinking and pills in an effort to dull the pain of her insecurities and perceived failures.

Kevin Hawken, a former business partner of Angel’s father, has always loved Angel, although she has no idea who he is. Angel’s substance induced state of mind forces her to question what is real.

And Kevin is too good to be real.

Caught in the clutches of Roman Conti, a notorious and dangerous Mob boss from Italy, Angel slips under Roman’s control. A control she can’t escape.

And the only man who can rescue her…

Is a man she believes existed only in her dreams.

Chelly’s Thoughts <3<3<3<3<3

“Let the fear you have be the push you need to fight harder for what you want.”

When I finished Not at First a few months back, I was left with quite a few questions.  Thankfully, I got the answers I wanted from Always at First.  Throughout the book, we are being taken back and forth through time in both Angel and Kevin’s points of view, and while it could get a little confusing if you aren’t paying attention, it really helps us learn what Kevin and Angel went through growing up and how they got to where they are today.  If you haven’t read Not at First, you may want to before picking this one up…

The book picks up with Angel under Roman’s control (if you haven’t read my other review, I really don’t care for Roman at all).  Angel’s heart belongs to Kevin, but Roman says if she doesn’t forget about him, that could cost Kevin his life.  In order to save him, Angel finally decides to give in to Roman and pretend to love him, but it’ll never be true…or will it?  Despite how much she hates him, she can’t deny what feelings he evokes from her body.  And under all that evil?  Somewhere deep down is a loving, sweet, caring, protective side that she brings out of him, and it could make her love him.

We finally get in Kevin’s head and learn more about him – where he came from, his life growing up, how he got started working for Angel’s dad, and how long he has actually been in love with her. His sister tried to talk him out of caring for Angel, Angel’s dad forbid him to even look at her, but he learns that you can’t help who you love.  He had several “run-ins” with Angel over the course of several years, each time breaking his heart, but he still couldn’t let her go.  Now he’s determined to get her back, but will it cost him his life?  Does she even want him?

Angel’s moods give me whiplash.  One minute, she hates Roman, the next she cares for him and he turns her on.  I was really upset with how she broke Kevin’s heart repeatedly over the years, but after learning more about her, I can forgive her of that.  I was expecting more of a fight at the end, but overall I am happy with this story and with the way it turned out.  Phalla is planning on a couple more books regarding the characters in these stories and I’m looking forward to more, especially Roman.  So far, I can’t get my head around him and why he is the way he is…I’m looking for him to be redeemed!

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