Are you ready to play?
Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy's reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest - and most forbidden - fantasies can come true…
The Game Maker series comes to a rousingly steamy end along with a bit of emotional sharing from our brooding Siberian, Sevastyan. Though this installment felt the weakest, and involved the least bit of storyline advancement, I still found myself drawn to its sexy and compelling antihero. There's also room for more with the revelation that Sevasyan has brothers who are just as damaged and brooding as him and I hope we revisit this world as my glimpse of Maksim left me totally intrigued, and with a bit of a crush!
Issues of trust are the main sticking point between Natalie and Sevastyan in this book and affects everything they do, from their visit to a BDSM club to her attempt at running away. All Natalie wants is for him to open up. So much of her life has careened out of control the last few weeks that she's desperate for control of what's happening to her, but I still found her running away a bit childish. With the heartbreaking childhood Sevastyan had it's no wonder he's reluctant to talk about it and considering how short a time they've been together her incessant desire for him to confide in her felt unrealistic and made her appear ungrateful for all he's done to keep her alive. While Natalie grew in her awareness of her sexuality she still feels lacking in her understanding of bigger, more life-altering mafiya events.
Sevastyan is still the highlight of this book, and the series, as he's everything you want your sexy antihero to be. He's loyal and will do anything to protect those he loves. He carries around guilt for a deed done as a child that was beyond his control but punishes himself for it still. He lost his youth in protection of his brothers and fears losing even more because of it. He's extremely sympathetic and I ached for him when Natalie tried to leave him. He's had such little joy in life but has found it with her and I'm still angry with her over her actions. After everything he's done for her he deserved her unconditional trust.
This story was very loaded down with sex. Unlike the previous books where they were on the run for their lives, this one is much less heart-pounding. The BDSM scenes increased in intensity and were portrayed as a way for them to connect and open up to one another about their thoughts and feelings. The ending, while satisfying, could've been developed more. It was a bit rushed and left the emotional impact wanting. As a whole though Ms. Cole kept me captivated with her to die for hero and action-packed journey to fulfillment throughout the three installments. While presenting the book in three parts felt unnecessary and ruined the story's overall momentum I applaud the uniqueness of doing so and hope to get more stories about Sevastyan's brothers, Maksim and Dmitri. I have a feeling those chillingly brooding Russians have a few steamy stories to tell and I'm dying with anticipation!
My rating for this is a B-/C+
*I received this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.