**This review contains mild spoilers.**
I didn't enjoy this installment, but not because of the reasons some other readers are having. I am not the type of romance reader that needs a nice tidy conclusion to every love story. If the author gives me a clear and rational path to why things work out the way that they do, I am perfectly alright with a happy for now or even a parting of ways. Sometimes failed relationships in a romance, especially within a series, leads to genuine happiness with someone else down the line. I may not always like it, but authors should tell the stories of their characters the way they see things playing out, not the way they think will make the majority of people happy. The issues that I have with Capu is execution of the plot. For me the story needs to unfold in a way that even if I think that the characters are behaving irrationally, or making bad decisions, I have a clue as to why it's happening or their thought process behind that behavior. I didn't feel that way with Shae or Carlo.
We find out that Shae has had a very traumatic life that included some of the worst neglect and abuse that can befall a child. Which can explain some of her issues, but not others. Shae is full of contradictions when it comes to her sexual relationship with Carlo. She says how much she loves it, but she is constantly trying to limit many aspects of their intimacy. She even goes so far as to convince Carlo to agree with her doing something to her body that will prohibit them from having sex for a significant amount of time while he is visiting. He is only to be with her for about a month, and what she does would make many sexual acts unsafe for her. Why would she do that and why would Carlo agree? There had to have been deeper motives for that, but this is a novella and it's not addressed at all. I suppose that it could be said that sex is not the main focus of a relationship, but it's important and she is sabotaging that aspect of their relationship on purpose.
Carlo has trust and intimacy issues that are self evident and needed no further explanation. However, the one thing that I thought would be a given for him would be his possessiveness of the woman that he loves. I thought that possessiveness would extend to anyone, whether they be male of female. Carlo is a Sicilian, an enforcer, and a believer in machismo living in the 1990's. His seemingly easy capitulation to Shae taking him to a club where there are drag queens and him feeling comfortable and enjoying himself is unbelievable for me. No matter how open minded he is trying to be after what happened before. Also, and this is the biggest issue for me, is the idea that Carlo would enjoy seeing the woman he loves having a physical encounter with another person blows my mind. There's no background for Carlo that would make me as a reader believe that something like that is an enjoyable kink for him. If he was watching some one night stand or temporary fling doing that I could buy it. He wouldn't be emotionally invested in that person, wouldn't consider her his. But watching the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with being sexually pleasured by another person? No. Carlo of all people would hold the one he loves close and not want to share such an intimacy with anyone else. Carlo has little that is his and his alone, and apparently not even the woman who is suppose to love him can be solely his. For me, this was the greatest disappointment of the entire story. I don't care who Carlo ends up with, I just hope that it is someone who will value him and his love over a few quick orgasms. (Did that sound bitter? Yeah, it probably does.)
I wavered between giving this story a two or three star rating over on Goodreads. Since there are no half star ratings, I generously gave this one three stars initially, but after having time to think about the story, I'm giving it two stars. I just really didn't enjoy the story and wouldn't really recommend it as even an enjoyable quick read. I gave it three stars mainly because of sentimentality and Mynx has said that this is a bridge book and it will feed into the overall story arc of the series. I am trusting that what occurred in this story will be important not only to Carlo's full story, but the bigger picture for the entire series. But nevertheless, that's not a good enough reason to give a book three stars. The plot surrounding Shae's business problems is loosely woven, wound up too quickly, and is left open to be resolved in further books. There are also some editing hiccups. I am a fan of this series, I just didn't enjoy Capu as much as I had hoped and was left disappointed.
In July 1994, a new, tourist-friendly, Las Vegas attracts the rich and infamous for high-rollers decadence. For young, business savvy Shannon ‘Shae’ Dennis, Vegas is prime for her business--adult entertainment. Shannon employs the most beautiful temptress in the country and caters to the nightlife. Life is good, and money is flowing. Shannon is living out her dream. Carlo Giordani, a ruthless enforcer for the Battaglia Mafia clan, has traveled to America to reunite with the beautiful and elusive Shannon. For more of the excitement and fun-loving adventure she once wet his sexual appetite for during her brief visit to Southern Italy. Their passion explodes. No sexual desire is left unexplored. As his heart becomes irreversibly connected to hers, there is a dark side to Las Vegas that only Carlo could have foreseen. An evil watches, waits, and one by one Shannon’s girls begin to disappear as young girls are found murdered on the Vegas strip. Is there a serial killer? And what is his connection to the free-spirit Shannon Dennis? Carlo must race against time to save her and her friends for a predator unseen. And in the process convince the woman he desires that being a man of violence doesn’t mean he’s incapable of love.
Publisher Warning: Capu has strong adult themes, graphic violence, explicit language and scenes, F/F scenes, and child abuse subject matter