FBI agent Royal Scott has just come out from another assignment, and has been promised both some time off and end to long undercover assignments in the future. Alas,this is not to be, as her boss wants her to go undercover and infiltrate the Mancuso crime family, which he assures her won’t last too long. She reluctantly accepts.,
When Royal leaves the FBI building, she saves a woman from being run over by an SUV. Intentional? Hard to tell. It turns out the woman, Siobhan Collins, is the consigliere (lawyer/advisor) to the head of the Mancuso family. Lucky break that Royal gets to start on the newest assignment right away.
Royal scores an assignment and introduction to a couple of low level associates working for Mancuso, and winds up at the Don’s house, unloading untaxed liquor, which seems to be their specialty. Royal and Siobhan run into one another again and share a few bantering lines.
Siobhan, speaking to the Don and his natural daughter (Siobhan was basically adopted by Mancuso, and raised in the family, much like Don Vito allowed Tom Hagen into the Corleone family in The Godfather). She’s a lawyer. She’s careful, as she should be, protecting the Mancusos. This is why I found it mind-boggling that she tapped Royal – someone she doesn’t know and hasn’t yet vetted – to come work for them as more than a driver of boosted liquor. Even the Don thinks it’s a good idea, just because She pulled Siobhan out of the way of the SUV. Why? Everything she is supposed to do is supposed to protect the family. This is one of the off notes in the story for me. I get it, The two of them need to be put in a situation where they will spend more time with one another, but this was ahead scratcher. At least Siobhan’s driver/bodyguard is suspicious of Royal.
Siobhan has a suspicion that the Don’s waspish, nasty daughter is up to some kind of no good, but decides she can’t act unless there’s hard evidence of it. Royal has her own family entanglement to deal with when her brother shows up at her door.
The romance part was okay. The mystery/mob part of it, even with the issue I noted above, was better, with Siobhan looking for anyone who might want to hurt the family, and Royal looking out for anyone who wants to kill Siobhan. They get more time together and in fact do wind up sleeping with one another (not: there are a couple of minorly explicit scenes.
The ending feels a little rushed, and not without a bit of a cliffhanger about what happens to someone other than the main characters. The end made me do a bit of a head scratch – it wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, but seemed a little too…public, I suppose if the word I’m looking for.
Overall, something that can be read in one sitting without a ton of plot holes, or at least none that couldn’t be ignored for the sake of the two mains. Three out of five stars.
Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the reading copy.