Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “It’s okay. We all got a sad story. Some more than others.”
They are the lost boys.
Sons of mafia mistresses expected to keep their fathers’ sins in the shadows. The lucky ones are forgotten.
Unfortunately for Valentino “Tino” Moretti, his brother Nova was too smart to be forgotten, and too valuable to risk when he resists a life of crime. So they punished Tino instead. Forced into the cruel world of the Sicilian Mafia at twelve, Tino was broken before he was old enough to know the man he was supposed to be. Now he’s what the mafia made him.
A trained killer forbidden to love, but he did anyway. He’s loved Brianna all along.
Raw and beautiful, their romance was all consuming and far too dangerous. They were ripped apart a long time ago. It’s not until the borgata puts out a hit on her that Brianna falls back into Tino’s arms, churning up their dark past and unraveling all the Moretti brothers’ closely guarded secrets.
This isn’t the end of the story. It’s only the beginning, and it is brutal.
There’s a reason enforcers are considered too deadly to love. (Goodreads)
Valentino, Casanova, and Romeo Moretti are considered bastardi, the children of mobster mistress. They sit on the sidelines, neither part of the notorious crime family they were born into but unable to walk away either. If they are unlucky enough to be notice, they must work their way up for any respect and protection. When their mother passed away, Romeo (Star-Crossed-book 2-Battered Hearts series) got guardianship of Tino and Nova, determined to keep them out of the hands of their father, Frank Moretti. Circumstances forced Romeo out of the picture when Tino and Nova were pre teens and they were forced to go live with their father. This was the beginning of their end.
“Turned out Romeo was the lucky brother. They just didn’t know it yet.”
Tino and Nova are forced into the family business-through threats and outright violence. Tino plays the game to save his brothers, destroying a piece of his soul one act at a time. Until the woman Tino loves, the woman he gave up and turned his back on, is threatened. Tino emerges from the shadows, a dark battered knight and begins to put in place a series of plans he has been working on since he was made an enforcer.
“I wouldn’t just bleed for you. I’d bleed motherfuckers out for you. I’d end worlds for you.”
Though this is Tino’s story, we learn exactly what tall the Moretti brothers have done to protect each other. We have met them all throughout both series (Battered Hearts and it’s spin off- Untamed Hearts). Moon has always hinted there was far more to Tino then the perpetual happy, laughing, carefree, prankster whose love for his family is unconditional. Beware though. This not a fairy tale. This is not quite a romance. This is a tragedy. This is a love story about a boy whose love for a girl and his family was his downfall. This is a powerful testament of a man who gave life was taken from him. This is a story that takes you through hell as it prepares you for the redemption and revenge that will soon come. And you’ll want that revenge. You’ll crave it. But you have to earn it by reading his story. And you will pay in pain and sorrow.
“They broke me along time ago; now they have broken you too.”
There are two parts to Tino’s story. The Enforcer is the first part. It picks up and ends where The Slayer (book 2) ended, going into the past to show us Tino’s backstory. It leads us through his childhood and back to the present day. Moon shows us what shaped Tino into the man he is right now and she holds nothing back. A word of warning-anyone who has issues with abuse and graphic violence should beware.
This book HURT me. It is one of the hardest books I have read this year so far. In fact, in quite awhile. This turbulent emotional roller coaster ride tore through my heart, only to be made worse by the love I have for the Moretti brothers. Tino especially, whose compassion, loyalty, and unconditional love for his family and friends forced him down a very dark, brutal, and pain filled road. Moon paints a powerful picture of the life Tino has endeared. He has been used, betrayed, deceived, and abused yet he continues to shine with an almost holy inner light despite his own feelings of unworthiness and despair. He’s down…but he’s not out.
“Learn to fight your own battles. We have to be better than them. Stronger. Faster. Smarter. Lost boys have to fly.”
I raged while reading this book. I cried, shouted, shook my fist, ate a boat load of Tums, and wondered how I could get inside the story and protect this poor man. I wanted to burn this world down, salt the earth, and dance in the ashes.
Throughout the series we have been dancing on the fringes of the Moretti crime family and the various other borgatas that rule the underbelly of New York. Moon has only hinted to their dealings and the roles Tino, Nova, and Romeo have been forced to play. It’s in here we are submerged fully in the culture and learn exactly how Tino and Nova were accepted into the fold. It’s not pretty nor for the faint of heart. Yet it’s not all hopelessness and despair. There is a strong sense of family in here which offers us love and humor to give us brief reprieves from the overall seriousness. The Moretti brothers love one another and aren’t afraid to show it. Though they don’t always make the best of decisions and some choices have been taken from them, these three will always stand by one another no matter what the future holds.
“You need to get some cuff links too. Oh, you should get those dollar sign ones. Those are so fucking ghetto. They’re perfect.”
“Holy shite, yes. The ones with the tiny diamonds on them.”
“It doesn’t get more Silicilano then that.”
“Do you really think they’re ghetto?”
“Oh my God, Casanova.”
One shining light in Tino’s life is Brianna. Best friends with his sister, Carina, Brianna has been a constant source of goodness in Tino’s life since childhood. Moon builds their romance slowly and realistically, allowing the sweetness of their childhood crush to morph into a passion that transcends all boundaries and obstacles. Brianna truly sees Tino for who and what he really is.
She stood by him.
Though this story ends on a cliffhanger, it’s not an emotional deep hole that leaves the readers struggling to get up the next day. Moon makes sure we understand we had to see the past and deal with it in order to accept the future. I am ready for the future, which is titled The Enforcer’s Revenge. Release date to be announced. Kele Moon continues to excel at writing the anti hero into the forefront, giving her readers a man and a story that defies expectations.
“There’s this rule in chess.
If a pawn gets to the other side of the board, he can be anything he wants…once it hits other other side, it can be any piece.
A knight. A rook. A bishop. Anything…
All I wanted was to save one pawn.
To get him to the other side so he could be something different…”