As usual, R.J. Lewis delivered a great story! I love dark romances. Captivity, coercion and blackmail are the types of themes that have me making one-click purchases. When I read the blurb for this book, I knew it’d be right up my alley.
‘Sex, Lies & Nikolai’ proved to be “softer” than I’d anticipated, while still conveying the bleakness of Alina’s situation. Struggling to survive from one day to the next, Alina is forced to take drastic measures when her junkie mother robs her blind and abandons Alina and her younger sister. Without food to feed Scarlett or money to pay the bills, Alina turns to Nikolai Sokolov for a loan.
Nikolai has had a thing for Alina for quite some time. When she comes to him in need of money, he’s not interested in giving her a loan. He’s only interested in using her situation to get what he’s always wanted–her underneath him.
Nikolai sees no reason to make it more than what it is. She needs money. He needs her in his bed. It’s a win-win. He doesn’t want to know her story. He doesn’t want to get involved.
Lower than she’s ever been before, and without any other way out of her life of abject poverty, Alina reluctantly agrees to be Nikolai’s whore. She forces herself to swallow her pride and give up a piece of herself. She’d do whatever it takes to take care of Scarlett.
Despite the business-like agreement between the two, their relationship had a great deal of tenderness. From the start, Nikolai is concerned and protective, even while proposing such a cold arrangement. It was obvious that he cared more than he wanted to.
Predictably, the two develop feelings for each other. Their arrangement serves as a cover in many ways, allowing them to maintain a relationship without owning their feelings. The closer they get, the more they try to resist the pull.
Of course, there is plenty of danger. Between her mother’s unpaid debts and her own missteps, Alina has drawn the attention of some dangerous characters. Nikolai also leads a life of danger, even if he has toned it down since leaving the bratva behind.
Overall, this was a great story. It was predictable and, at times, slow-moving, but still worth a read. I enjoyed this straightforward romance. If you’re looking for a story to get lost in for a while, without having to think too much, this is a terrific choice. It isn’t one that will change your life, but it is a nice way to pass some time.