Last Hit: A Hitman Novel
I’ve found a new source of book crack. Last Hit: A Hitman Novel, a collaboration between best selling author Jessica Clare and relative newbie Jen Frederick, hits all the right buttons and kept me turning the pages way later than is good for me, but there are parts of it that I freely admit are ridiculous and over the top. Thank goodness it’s book one in a series!
After her mother was murdered by a petty criminal, Daisy Miller became the victim of her father’s mental breakdown and crippling paranoia. Until the age of twenty-one, she was all but captive in a boarded-up house, unable to leave for more than an hour to get groceries, cut off from everyone and every normal life experience. When she finds a way to escape, she bolts, guilty for leaving her father but thrilled for the chance to finally be free.
Daisy makes her way to Minneapolis, MN, arranges to live in a run-down apartment with Regan, a nice girl who teases Daisy for being such a naïve Pollyanna. She has only the clothes on her back and barely enough money to keep eating. She hopes to one day go to community college, but her biggest priority is to find a job. What Daisy doesn’t expect to experience so soon is a fierce attraction to a complete stranger.
Nikolai Andrushkov was taken off the streets when he was a child by Bratva, the Russian mafia. He was trained to be a hitman, and he excelled in the profession. When he got a little too creative with one of his assignments, he was cut loose by the only family he’d ever known. He set up shop taking freelance killing gigs, which is how he found himself in an apartment in Minneapolis, staring across the street into the window of a girl who absolutely captivates him. But while most of the people he targets deserve to die, Nikolai knows that he is nothing more than a monster who would never be good enough for someone as innocent and sweet as the girl he can’t stop watching.
When Daisy and Nick do finally come face-to-face, Nick’s belief that Daisy is too good and pure for him are cemented, but he’s compelled to spend as much time with her as he can before she realizes that he’s scum. Daisy is thrilled that such a handsome, exciting man seems to be interested in her. Due to their inexperience with relationships, Daisy and Nick flub most of their first attempts at dating. But before long, they’ve come to trust and depend on each other.
Nick lives in constant fear that Daisy will find out what he really is and that she may be in danger if his enemies want to hurt him. His fears are not unfounded. When the leader of Bratva determines to get to Nick through Daisy, Nick will move heaven and earth to get her back safe and sound. But Nick can’t protect his own heart from being crushed when Daisy learns the truth about his past and his current career.
This is one of those books that is so hard to review, because on the face of it, I shouldn’t have liked it. Here’s why:
Daisy has a bit of TSTL complex. Within literally hours of meeting Nick, she agrees to let him take her shopping at the mall (I think it was actually the famous Mall of America) and buy her thousands of dollars worth of clothing. Not just pants and blouses and skirts, mind you, but undergarments and lingerie. Granted, Daisy admits to herself that she’s being insanely stupid to trust a complete stranger that way, but that didn’t satisfy me enough to keep it from being completely unbelievable.
Nick is basically a stalker. He watches Daisy through her window, even sees her masturbating. He intentionally ruins her clothes so that she’ll accept his offer to buy her nicer ones. He follows her when she goes out with Regan and another girl to a club. Once she gets a job, Nick taps into the gas station’s security feed so he can make sure Daisy is safe. Normally, any one of these behaviours would keep Nick far out of the hero column. However, because of his background and because he is so protective, and, I admit, because he’s a Russian hitman, I was able to ignore what would in reality be terrifying.
The sex is copious and over the top. I’m not a fan of dirty talk, so some of Nick’s constant love language got on my nerves. Daisy is an orgasmic virgin, but then again, Nick is the world’s most attentive and giving lover. Both of these factors resulted in the kind of sex that only exists in romance and erotic novels.
But here’s what I did like.
I loved the way Nick’s Russian accent and speech mannerisms were portrayed. I loved the Russian endearments sprinkled throughout – I want someone to call me dasha.
I loved Nick’s protectiveness and the way he treated Daisy like a cherished flower. It goes against every ounce of feminism in my body, but I was able to buy into the fantasy because of Nick’s history and personality.
I loved Nick’s competence. Yes, he’s an assassin. But he’s so good at it! There is something about an extremely confident man that is so appealing and sexy. Nick had this in spades.
I loved that Nick and Daisy struggle at first, constantly misinterpreting each other. There was a huge communication gap created by Nick’s secrets and Daisy’s inexperience with men. Even when they misunderstand each other, they work to resolve their issues quickly.
Looking at my list, it appears that it’s mostly Nick who made this book for me. Who knew?
As I said in my intro, Last Hit is beyond over-the-top, and I’m positive it will not appeal to everyone. When I put on my strictest reviewer hat, I realize I probably shouldn’t like this book as much as I did. But I did! And I’m so excited that I’m on deck to read and review the next upcoming release in this series, Last Kiss.