REVIEW: The Viper (Untamed Hearts #1) by Kele Moon

“Maybe that’s why I can’t give up hoping that one day we’ll talk again. I can’t stop thinking that maybe two negatives might equal a positive. That together, even something as terrible as a car accident can be beautiful.”

Katie Foster and Marcos Rivera meet on New Year’s night in a car accident then he disappears from Garnet.  Katie can’t forget the handsome stranger and although she doesn’t know it, Marcos can’t forget her either.  Jules Wells, Katie’s lawyer and friend won’t help Katie find him and Marcos’ cousin Chuito (who we met in the Battered Hearts series) won’t help either.  Katie resorts to posting ads in Craiglist, Missed Connections section, hoping Marcos will see the ads and contact her. After months of no contact, Marco eventually does see the ads and instead of contacting her online, he leaves Miami and comes to Garnet to see Katie. And so it begins….

I liked Katie. She was strong, feisty and stubborn, yet vulnerable too.  She had spent years with an emotionally and mentally abusive husband and wasn’t interested in kowtowing to a man or anyone ever again.  Katie sees the good in Marcos, no matter how many times he tells her he’s no good for a sweet, good girl like Katie.  Marcos is an ex-convict, ex-thief, wanna-be ex-gangbanger trying to clean up his life and live on the straight and narrow.  With constant hassling from the local police Marcos can’t hold a job.  Marcos refuses to accept money/help from his cousin Chuito, so he feels like his only choice is to go back to his gangbanging life.

Unfortunately, The Viper felt more like a set up to Chuito’s book than a true book for Marcos and Katie. Katie and Marcos spend most of the book apart, so we see much more interaction between Marcos and Chuito, as well as Katie and Chuito than Marcos and Katie.  Although I enjoyed the book overall, Marcos and Katie’s love story became a bit of a backdrop for me here. There was much less meat to the couple’s story than I’m used to from Ms. Moon. What we do get to read is a very heartwarming relationship between Marcos and his cousin Chuito, seeing how their experiences, namely the brutal murders of their loved ones, has made them into the men they are in present day.  I’m looking forward to Chuito’s book, seeing how the decisions he’s made in this book will play out and how Chuito will one day claim his lady love, who I assume will be his next door neighbor/friend, Alaine – the preacher’s daughter Chuito has been pining over since he moved to Garnet 5+ years ago.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½