Wednesday 1 June 2016

Release Day Blitz, Excerpt & Review ~ Empire (Eagle Elite #7) by Rachel Van Dyken

BY Rachel Van Dyken
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Must Read ELUDE prior to Empire

Book Description:

I have lost everything. 
My purpose
My love 
My soul
Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle -- the promise I made her brings me back. 
So I breathe. 
I live. 
I hate. 
And I allow the anger to boil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade. I am broken, I don't want to be fixed.
But the Empire is crumbling and it's my job to fix it. 
My job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago. 
A trip to New York, only one chance to redeem a lost part of our mafia family. 
The only issue is, the only way to fix it, is to do something I swore I'd never do again. 
An arranged marriage. 
Only this time,
I won't fall. 
Or so help me God, I will kill her myself. 
My name is Sergio Abandonoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate?
You have no idea.
I am the mafia. 
I am the darkness. 
Blood in. No out.

Buy Links:

Amazon AU: 

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“What would Andi do?”

This was actually a book I was dreading to read. If you have not read Elude (Eagle Elite #6) please do not read this review as there are spoilers contained pertaining to that book. Empire is the continuation of Sergio’s story, a man that should have been hard to love, but after Elude, a man I loved dearly and who had taken a huge chunk of my book heart. A man who had never deemed himself worthy of love or who even thought he wanted it, until he had it and then it was cruelly ripped away.

“Pride kept me hesitant. And fear kept me distant.”

I thought that Empire would be a tough to love book, after all, I adored Sergio and Andi, how could Rachel Van Dyken possibly even warrant giving him another wife? How could Rachel van Dyken possibly make me even love said new wife? How could Sergio love said new wife? Argggh this was a book I desperately didn’t want to love, yet I did…Rachel Van Dyken seemingly did the impossible, she gave me Val.

This is no insta-love story, far from it. Sergio is doing what he needs to do to save the family, another arranged marriage and one that he desperately doesn’t want, nor is ready for. Sergio is still grieving, the last thing on his mind is another wedding, but needs must. But this may be just what Sergio needs even if he doesn’t realise it yet.

“It isn’t about what you deserve…it’s about what you need.”

Val was a nineteen-year-old book worm virgin who had been sheltered from Mafia life. As far as Val knew, the Mafia were only in films and definitely not on the streets of New York, never mind her three “innocent” uncles. Val and her brother Dante were Luca’s kids and now that he is dead, Frank is carrying out his last wishes to ensure the continuation of the family. Val and Dante were sent away for their own protection but now they are to be initiated and protected by their blood.

Val was so na├»ve, extremely sheltered and a loner. Her only friend had disappeared off the face of the earth and other than her Uncles she only had her brother. Val was the total antithesis of Andi, she was shy and timid, fragile, saccharine sweet, she was pure but she had feisty Italian blood when it needed to come out. You could not help but fall in love with this little book nerd whose brain was totally awash with romance novel fairy tale romances and definitely not becoming some mobster’s wife.

“I’m sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but you’re the least terrifying person I’ve ever met.”

This was a journey for both them. We see a lot of inner pain and turmoil from Sergio, those inner feelings of betrayal to Andi and her memory, that feeling that two months is too soon even though Andi knew what was expected of him and encouraged him to do so. That struggle to let go in the present but understand that the heart has the capacity to love more than once. That letting go doesn’t mean forgetting, but merely making space for another. It was hard to read, but this was a journey that Sergio needed to make and work through at his own pace, although a certain person had other ideas.

“One piece. Out of a million. But it was a start.”

This was an emotional journey for Val, she has to grow up quick, leave life as she knew it behind and move to Chicago with her new husband. A husband that seemingly couldn’t stand the sight of her and pushed her away at every opportunity. She knows his history, she knows he needs time, but is time something that she can give him before rejection stings too much?

“Sergio Abandonato, my husband, was not living. He wasn’t even dead. He was a ghost. And only he could set himself free.”

I sympathised and empathised with both Sergio and Val, but their blossoming friendship gave you the hope that they would make it. It was all about taking those strides, healing, forgiving and just living again. This was not about replacing Andi, this was about second chances, Andi knew that Sergio had so much to give and to deprive another of that love would have been a crime…a crime she wanted no hand in.

“All is lost. Romance. Love. Stories. Endings. All. Is. Lost.” ~ Sergio

It was beautiful to read, it was emotional, it had twists I never saw coming but it was perfect. That emotion and character connection that I crave was on point. The book was perfectly balanced with pieces of comedy and fantastic dialogue that drew you out of your mourning faze and you couldn’t help but smile and chuckle or full out belly laugh. The family rally together, we catch up with them all and they welcome Val with open arms. It was just a fantastic read and one that Rachel Van Dyken nailed once again.


Sergio looked ready to strangle me. “No. I don’t believe I asked for an annoying little sister, but if that’s what you’re offering, please don’t let me stop you. Just know, I won’t hesitate to put you over my knee if you get out of hand.”
The minute the words left his mouth. I froze.
He froze.
The taxi driver stared little laser like holes into the rearview mirror.
And Sergio leaned toward me.
I swallowed as tension swirled around us.
He gripped me by the chin and turned my head to the side, his lips brushing my ear. “It’s like you have a death wish.”
“You wouldn’t do it.”
He pulled back as both of his eyebrows shot up, and then he looked down, like he had spotted something.
I followed the direction of his gaze and let out a little gasp as a gun dug into my stomach.
“It’s been directed at you for the last four minutes,” Sergio said through a practiced smile. “I meant what I said. Listen well. I keep my word. Kiss me, and blood will be spilled.”
“Y-you’re a crazy person!” I hissed, shoving at his chest. “And I wasn’t going to kiss you!”
“Sure you weren’t.” He put the gun away. “Good talk though, right? Oh look, the movie theater.”
To say that I scrambled out of the car like a kid running away from her kidnapper would be a gross understatement, but the minute my feet hit the pavement, I paused.
My body told me to run.
The guy had pulled a gun.
On me.
I didn’t even watch violent movies.

Get the beginning of Sergio's story in Elude 

Twenty-Four hours before we were to be married--I offered to shoot her.
Ten hours before our wedding--I made a mockery of her dying wish.
Five hours before we were going to say our vows--I promised I'd never love her.
One hour before I said I do--I vowed I'd never shed a tear over her death.
But the minute we were pronounced man and wife--I knew.
I'd only use my gun to protect her.
I'd give my life for hers.
I'd cry.
And I would, most definitely, lose my heart, to a dying girl---a girl who by all accounts should have never been mine in the first place.
I always believed the mafia would be my end game--where I'd lose my heart, while it claimed my soul. I could have never imagined. It would be my redemption.
Or the beginning of something beautiful.
The beginning of her.
The end of us.

About the Author:

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. 
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers! 
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866! 

You can connect with her on Facebook or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her website is


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