When the baddest of the bad is stuck in a rut, where does he turn? Well, for Russian gang leader Dima Zhirkov, the answer comes in the form of a referral of sorts from an ex turned friend. When Dima arrives he’s unsure what he’s looking for until he sees him—the man with the unemotional eyes. And Dima wants him—bad—but he only wants him with fire in those uncaring eyes. After Dima approaches the man in the bathroom and is shot down in spectacular fashion, most people would give up, but not Dima. Witnessing an intimate scene outside the club between the man and the woman he’d done a scene with earlier, Dima waits in the shadows for the perfect time to strike. Because what the man doesn’t know is that Dima always catches his prey.
There is something about Dima that Xavier “X” Storm wants. Desperately. But he can’t have him. Not because he’s unattainable—X can have whomever he wants—but because he’s Dima Zhirkov, leader of the Russians. And X is a leader of the Rude Boys, the gang seeking to take over the Russian’s territory in the City. But X can’t stop thinking about him. When Dima shows at X’s submissive-when-he-call’s place demanding he be satisfied, X is so beyond annoyed that he doesn’t even blink when ordering a hit on Dima. But then Dima keeps showing up and X finds it harder to say no, until he doesn’t.
Giving into Dima is both the easiest and hardest thing X has ever done. After losing the man he thought of as the love of his life years ago, X vowed never to commit to another person, but then Dima tore down those walls. Dima only wanted X to use as his toy until he got over his slump. He never expected real feelings, didn’t even know they existed. When the lines between love and real life blur and secrets about who X really is threaten to destroy them, tragedy strikes and the walls and worlds between X and Dima shatter in a million pieces. Now X has to take a page from Dima’s book and not give up if he ever wants the love of his life back.
(Watch Me) Break You is the very first book in Avril Ashton’s Run This Town series. And holy fuck, you guys. This book is a-freaking-mazing. I’ll tell you, I am a longtime fan of Ashton. No surprise there if you’ve read my reviews here—some of you may ever have fallen for her books because of that. But this book, X and Dima, may have surpassed each and every story I’ve read by this author. It is all kinds of wonderful. To say that it’s sexy should be a given, but it’s also a thrill a minute. Ashton has packed this story full of danger, intrigue, romance, action, and a little bit of insanity of the psychotic flavor. Oh my god. And it’s better than anything that I could actually describe.
I love the ability this author has for creating two badass characters—and seriously these guys are bad with a capital “B”—with virtually no redeemable qualities (on paper) and making me fall head over heels for them. I mean X and Dima are gang leaders. They kill people or order them killed as they read the morning paper. They are the stuff nightmares are made of, yet when Ashton writes them, X and Dima are romanticized in way that makes me think even gangsters need love too. It’s silly, I know. But god, I was hooked from the very first scene. And again, I’ll be honest, by the end of the story, the only thing that is redeemable about the guys is their love for one another, and that’s an almost thing. But the whole dangerous lifestyle is part of who they are. It works for them and it really works for this story.
The dynamic between X and Dima is probably the best thing about this story because there are so many things wrong with it from the start. First of all Dima (leader of the Russians) has absolutely no idea who X (leader of the Jamaican Rude Boys) actually is. This omission plays the biggest role in their story, so I wanted to mention it first. But then you have Dima, this Russian crime boss, whose secret desire is being submissive, but he’s also this pushy take-what-he-wants type of guy. He’s persistent as hell and doesn’t back down to anything. And contrasted in X is this smooth as chocolate, calm and collected Dominant who never loses his cool. Then we have the fact they are enemies, even if one of them doesn’t know it. I mean, X knew exactly who Dima was and was attracted to him when he took the hit out on him. I’m telling you, it’s an explosion waiting to tear down a city.
The story… well, I’m not sure what say other that it is spot on. From beginning to end, Ashton tells a tale that had me on the figurative edge of my seat, dying for more. It’s a rollercoaster ride of emotions that captured me whole. I am still captivated. From the beginning, Ashton leads readers into a world that (real or fictional) is both sexy and scary. It’s bloody and violent as well as heart-pounding and steamy. There is something about danger that is so very attractive to me, and this story hits all my sexy/dangerous buttons and then some.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention this, so I will, but know that the story is so good there was no way I could count it against my overall rating of the book. My only quibble is the many typos, like the several times Dima was missing an “a” (Dim) but was never referred to as “Dim” in dialogue. I wish maybe the author would have had a proofer look over it before the final yes, but other than that, everything about this story is spot on. Spot. On.
And one last tidbit, for those of us who love Mateo and Tommy—because I adore them both. They make a cameo in this story. You may be surprised to find out that Tommy and X have a business connection. And Dima—I had forgotten—is a former lover of Mateo’s. Now, if you’ve not read Mateo and Tommy’s story, don’t worry. Their story makes no impact on this one, other than the fact that they know the MCs in this book.
I am an Avril Ashton fangurl to the nth degree and I don’t see that changing. Ever. This book just cements that fact even further. And the next book, which I happen to know is in the works—Is and Reggie—I’m salivating for that story. If you have not read this author yet, this is a great book to start with. Or if you haven’t read this book period, run don’t walk to your nearest retailer. You do not want to miss this. I highly, highly recommend (Watch Me) Break You by Avril Ashton.
Note: There is a lot of graphic violence that takes place in this story as well as a dub con scene. Also the BDSM leans more to the harsher side of pain. So if any of these things are a trigger or not your cuppa, I just wanted to let you know.