Heat (Russo Saga Book 1) by Nicolina Martin

The Naked Reviewers
5 min readJun 20, 2019

Anything can happen during the hot nights in the Dominican Republic.

I just wanted a tan and to sip drinks with little umbrellas in them. I didn’t know that vacation would mean sleeping with a hot stranger, being drugged, and nearly killed. My instincts tell me there’s more to the smooth facade of Nathan Russo, but my heart won’t listen. He’s my opposite: hot where I’m cool, experienced while I’ve never really lived. What starts out as a steamy fling can’t be more… can it?

I’m a dangerous man with a mission to complete and people to kill. Sydney Lewis might literally cost me my life. As the stakes increase, I have to decide whether to follow my head or my heart. My life is too dangerous, I’m too much of a monster. She’s a good girl. She can’t be a part of this. I have to be cruel. I have to cut her out.
But she’s the only one who can save me.
Heat will take you on a journey to paradise, through hell, and back.

Publisher’s Note: This steamy, dark romance may contain triggers. It contains elements of danger, adventure, explicit scenes, power exchange, and a guaranteed HEA.

RA Winter’s Review: 4-Stars

A bad boy romance. A really bad boy romance. The author takes on what I call a ‘Dexter’ plot. Ya’ll remember the Showtime hit series Dexter, where the main character is a serial killer- whom we all come to love even though deep down we know we shouldn’t. This novel follows the same premise.

I have to say that this book is written in alternating first person, present tense, which if you’ve read my reviews before you’ll know that I really don’t care for this style unless it is really well written. For the most part, Nicolina pulls it off.

Nathan is a hitman. The first chapter is intense, we find Nathan on a boat, his cronies are torturing a middle-aged woman and Nathan puts a bullet between her eyes to stop the ‘fun’. A mercy killing if you will. The novel starts off strong and I was intrigued as to if Nicolina could make me like the main character by the end. Could the author redeem him?

The female lead is Sydney, who works at a hotel. The two meet for the first time at a night club, Sydney turns down Nathan’s advances cold, then they meet on a plane to the Dominican Republic. He gropes her on the plane, then they head to the bathroom for a dip into the mile high club.

I did have a few problems with a couple of different sections. I felt as though some parts were inappropriate. She says no… he keeps going. Also, the groping on the plane while she’s not fully awake at first really bothered me. The author reveals that she was awake a bit late. He’s domineering and pushy. She can’t stay away.

By the end of the book, he’s redeemed and wants out of the family business. He’s still controlling and wants her, no matter how much she protests. He borders on the stalker realm.

The author does put a trigger warning… Publisher’s Note: This steamy, dark romance may contain triggers. It contains elements of danger, adventure, explicit scenes, power exchange, and a guaranteed HEA. They forgot murder…

Overall, the writing is good. There are a few issues with choppy places, but anytime you write in first person present and fast forward a bit this will happen. First person is used to immerse you in the writing and Nicolina does for the most part. There were only a few places where I popped out of the story.

There’s a lot of heat in this book, if you like to immerse yourself in a lot of sex, you’ll love this.

Bad boy romances aren’t for everyone. If you love this genre, this book will be for you. Character-wise, there is a lot of changes that each MC goes through. The changes for Nathan were the most marked. I was a little taken aback by the end by Nathan’s actions. I didn’t expect the author to make him so verbal with his feelings. I expected him to keep some of his bad boy vibe.

I listened to the book on Allreader.

Terence Vickers’ (AKA Tinker Publishing) Review: 4-Stars

A vacation to the Dominican Republic turns into a lust fest for Sydney when the irresistible Nathan Russo forces his attention on her on the flight from New York. Heat pretty much sums up the entire plot of this sex filled first volume of the Russo series.

The formatting is good and the presentation very professional, however, there are a few rather awkward sentences that don’t really seem to fit well. The character development is not as well done as in Nicolina’s other books I have read, and the sex scenes tend to overwhelm the plot. Outside the personal attraction between the two protagonists and the near-violent sex, there isn’t much more to this story. The mystery and intrigue that are Nathan Russo’s life are skimmed over so lightly that they do little for the book, and give only a glimpse of his character as a crime family killer and overall bad-boy. If the erotic scenes were skimmed past there wouldn’t be much depth or substance to keep a reader’s interest as everything outside the bedroom and the sexual relationship was touched on so lightly.

Frankly, I am somewhat disappointed as Heat doesn’t compare well with Nicolina’s other books, notably “Break my Chains” and “Ruin” the second book in the Russo Saga series. If you are one of those readers who turn down the corners of the pages with sex scenes you will end up with a thickly dog-eared book. The erotic scenes are well written and titillating, but the suspense-filled intrigue and solid fast moving plot that I look forward to in Ms. Martin’s writing just isn’t there in Heat.

A note to readers: Heat is filled with barely consensual sex scenes, a man who does not take no for an answer, and woman who loves him anyway. You have been warned.

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