Review: Neil by Sybil Bartel

neilTitle: Neil

Author: Sybil Bartel

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Receptionist/stripper Ariel(la) Walsh

The hero: Ex-special forces soldier/construction company owner Neil Christensen

The blurb: Ex-Danish Military Special Forces, built like a legend, and uncompromising in every way — Neil Christensen didn’t walk into my life. The Viking-sized warrior crashed it like a hurricane.

The moment he showed up at my strip club, my life fell apart. South Florida’s most ruthless motorcycle gang, the cops, the Feds — they all want something I don’t have, something the Viking took from me.

I thought I could run, but the motorcycle gang caught me. Now the only thing standing between me and an unmarked grave is a warrior I don’t trust.

I’m not afraid to die, but I am terrified of weathering the storm. Because when a Viking decides to unleash his fury, no one is going to come out unscathed.

Standalone or series: Book two in The Uncompromising series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: This is, simply put, one of the best books I have ever read. Neil Christensen is an enigma. Incredibly tall and built, Ariel Walsh nicknames him Viking and it’s apt. He doesn’t talk much, although he can speak seven languages fluently. His face gives nothing away. His demeanour can’t be read. Ariel, a twenty one year old single mother with a two year old son, Conner, is both intrigued and frustrated by him. Conner’s father, Jason, is Ariel’s high school sweetheart and they were happy until he cheated on her and left her for the other woman.

Life has been tough for Ariel; she strips on the side to help pay her rent. There’s little food in the apartment. She’s embarrassed about not being able to provide for her son but bristles when Neil turns up with groceries. He annoys her by refusing to call Conner by his name because he doesn’t want to get attached, but can’t deny the spark when he kisses her. Neil doesn’t ask questions, he makes demands and he expects them to be followed. Ariel doesn’t like being bossed around and she pushes back when he tries to help in his silent, inscrutable way, but as they spend more time together Ariel comes to learn that actions, not words, are what make Neil tick.

Jason gets Ariel involved in a motorcycle club war and she’s frightened for Conner and herself, so she turns to Neil, who also involves Andre Luna (who’s featured in several other books and his own is the next in the series) and several other characters we’ve met before. She loves how he interacts with Conner, speaking to him in Danish. She keeps telling Neil that Conner can’t understand him, but her son does – and this is so spot on because two year olds are like sponges. Neil also helps Jason and his girlfriend, because he knows that Ariel – to whom he refers as Ariella, her full name – wouldn’t want him to be hurt, despite what happened between them. There’s a really sweet scene with Ariel and Jason towards the end that just broke my heart.

You can’t help but feel for Ariel, who’s sassy and strong and sometimes bitchy, which made me laugh because she’s so like a twenty one year old. Neil is much older at thirty four, but the age gap never really felt odd. When Ariel finds out a secret Neil’s been keeping, she’s devastated, even when she learns the reason behind it. But Neil refuses to give up on her, give up on them, and Ariel’s already in love with him so she doesn’t need much persuading to fall back into his arms. The sex scenes were so hot I’m surprised my Kindle didn’t burst into flames!

A really great book that I enjoyed a whole lot. I’ll be adding the paperback to my collection.

Comments

  1. I can’t wait to read this! You’ve hooked me.

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