Gabriel's Regret is a quick read that I wish had been longer. I have to confess that I am a fan of the Medlov men and tend to give a bit of slack to negative issues found in this book because of that. There were lots of editing hiccups, the main couple do not actually meet until about 45% into the story, there is some major insta love, and there's a big cliffhanger at the end. All of these problems tend to be deal breakers that keep me from enjoying a book.
For me, Gabriel's Regret felt more like a suspense story with romantic elements and not so much like a romance. If I had gone into this one knowing that I was getting romantic suspense I would have been better prepared to get lots of background and build up of outside conflict. I would not have expected the focus to be on the love affair between Gabriel and Valeriya. I'm hoping that book two will focus more on Gabriel and Valeriya to give the story a romance feel. I understand the need for the build up that Welch gives us, but I think that I fell into the bad reader habit of expecting an author to give me something similar to what I've experienced before in her writing. (Bad Monica!)
The change in the way Welch is telling Gabriel's story is different from the romantic pacing that we find in the The Medlov Crime Family series. The sudden change in the story set up isn't necessarily bad, just unexpected. Gabriel is still struggling to find his place among the Medlov men's dominance in their aggressive and dangerous world. Gabriel is experiencing the poor little rich boy syndrome. He hasn't experienced the same degree of hardships as Dmitry or even Anatoly, making him feel the need to prove himself worthy of being a Medlov. His personal life is in shambles as his relationship with Briggy is imploding. Now that he has finally decided to leave her he finds that leaving isn't going to be as easy as he had hoped. When a large business mistake shakes up his world, he has to make decisions that will affect many more lives than just his own. As always, Dmitry doesn't care how or why mistakes have happened, he wants his money and his reputation to stay intact at all costs. Therefore, Gabriel and Anatoly are responsible for making things right.
While trying to make amends for their mistake, Gabriel and Anatoly end up in Ukraine where Gabriel finds what he's been looking for all along in Valeriya. Valeriya is a young black freedom fighter, who wants to see a Ukraine free of Russian and Neo Nazi influences that have stepped into the power vacuum in her war torn country. The reader knows that Valeriya is the daughter of immigrants who owned and ran a small hotel in Ukraine, but we never find out where they immigrated from. It's a small detail, but one that would have better filled in my idea of who Valeriya is. Since this story has been split into two parts, it would have been good to get more background information on Valeriya and her family.
I also had issues with the ending of this book. The cliffhanger was so jarring that it threw me for a loop. I didn't know that this would be a two part story. I'm probably being generous by giving this one three stars, but I'm not going to lie to myself. I know that I'll be grabbing the next book when it comes out because I need to know how this plays out. And again, I love me some Medlovs. We all have our book weaknesses and this series is one of mine, so I'll be hanging on for at least one more installment.
Gabriel Medlov has lived two very different lives in his 30 years on this earth, mostly because of his very different parents & paths.
Gabriel’s mother, Emma Hutton, was born into British royalty with billions of dollars, but after her mother married the rugged Russian mobster, Dmitry Medlov, and gave him her inheritance, she denounced her family and became a freedom fighter, spending most of her life in the trenches of third-world countries fighting for the oppressed until her untimely death.
Gabriel’s father, Ivan Medlov, was a lot less selfless - a reputed Russian crime boss, the brother of Dmitry Medlov, and a rabid sociopath, he spent his life running guns, women and drugs until his nephew, Anatoly Medlov, murdered him.
With parents on two far extremes of the spectrum of good and evil, Gabriel was born right in the middle and spent most of his life as a second-string beta. Until now. After a series of bad events, the brooding, six-foot-nine, black-haired, blue-eyed, safe bet is on the verge of self-actualization or self-destruction, only he doesn’t know it.
All Gabriel does know is that his normally level-headed thinking and cool exterior are starting to give way to a much more violent and vocal monster that may or may not have been lurking below the surface for many years.
After a major fall-out with his live-in girlfriend in front of the entire family, Gabriel is sent from the palatial confines of the Medlov compound to the war-torn country of Ukraine to oversee a large munitions deal worth millions of dollars that he and his cousin tanked a few days before. For Gabriel, this trip is a test to determine what kind of man he is turning into, for everyone else it’s a rest from an ongoing domestic squabble.
When Gabriel arrives in the Ukraine, he is met by militia who are fighting a regional war on an international stage. As Russia shifts its focus to Syria, its military forces are being pulled out of the Ukraine. This allows for a very small opportunity to take back part of the ruptured city of Donetsk, but they can’t do it without his guns. Ready to business as usual and get back to the states, Gabriel is transported and introduced to the head of the militia – Valeriya Nenya.
The music stops. The world stops. Gabriel’s heart stops. Who is this black woman and how did she just still his heart?
Born into a life of poverty and hate, Valeriya Nenya, is no princess. She is, however, fighting not only against the Russians who want to come in and take over her country but also Neo-Nazi separatists who have been terrorizing the country from within for years. With access of munitions and other aide cut off by the outside world, Gabriel Medlov and the Medlov Crime Family becomes Valeriya’s only hope to winning this war.
Deciding to stay a few days in Ukraine to gain Valeriya’s favor, Gabriel is forced to imbed with the militia until he can convince Valeriya and her money contacts that the Medlov Family is the right fit for their fight. While he is there, he is forced to see the world from a very different lens. Third world poverty, extreme racism, violence and starvation take on a whole new meaning as he discovers what Valeriya is fighting against. He also, for the first time, sees what his mother died fighting for. Only, with his father’s blood and his family’s trade, Gabriel discovers what he was possibly made to do and the movement and woman who will shift him from being a beta in the world of Medlov to an Alpha in a world of regret. But at what cost does this epiphany cost?