Author: S.A. Stovall
Book: Vice Enforcer
Series: Vice City, Book #2
Page/Word Count: 259, 84K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Holding on to a life worth living can be hard when the nightmares of the past come knocking.
Eight months ago, Nicholas Pierce, ex-mob enforcer, faked his death and assumed a new identity to escape sadistic mob boss Jeremy Vice. With no contacts outside the underworld, Pierce finds work with a washed-up PI. It’s an easy enough gig—until investigating a human trafficking ring drags him back to his old stomping grounds.
Miles Devonport, Pierce’s partner, is top of his class at the police academy while single-handedly holding his family together. But when one lieutenant questions Pierce’s past and his involvement in the investigation, Miles must put his future on the line to keep Pierce’s secrets.
The situation becomes dire when it’s discovered the traffickers have connections to the Vice family. The lives of everyone Pierce cares about are in danger—not least of all his own, if Jeremy Vice learns he’s back from the dead. Pierce and Miles face a conspiracy that reaches the highest levels—one that will gladly destroy them to keep operating. As Pierce uses every dirty trick he learned from organized crime to protect the new life he’s building, he realizes that no matter how hard he tries, he might never escape his past.
But he’s not going down without a fight.
5✨s – I always was attracted to bad boys and I’ve found my new book boyfriend in Nicholas Pierce. At first, I wasn’t entirely sure what to make of him in book one, Vice City, but S.A. Stovall’s deft handling of black humor and often tongue-in-cheek character portrayals was a delight. I found this story even more delightful as she goes about redeeming the irredeemable Pierce. Hiding out with Miles and living with Miles’s siblings Lily and Jayden, he’s trying to go “straight” by becoming a PI and attempting more regular pursuits, like gardening:
“I find a passage about caring for plants midgrowth. It reads: talking to your plants is one surefire way to perk them up! Talk to the plants? What do you say to a plant? “Grow, you little piece of s**t,” I say. “Don’t you wanna live? F*****g act like it.”
Added to Pierce and Miles new life as quasi-parental figures to the siblings (emphasis on quasi for Pierce), they’re contending with Shelby the shady PI, Rhett the closeted police academy instructor, their neighbor Mrs. Timo and her granddaughter Shannon. Each has a crucial place in the plot and the plot is marvelously dark and twisty. When Pierce gets sucked back into dealing with the underworld he’d clawed his way out of, Miles still “has his back” and Pierce has his, no matter what. That leads me to mention their romance, that bears little resemblance to any typical trope. The sex is still rough, Miles wants a different dynamic between them and there are few tender words or declarations, at least not always recognizable ones. The action is fierce with plenty of bullets, blood and bodily injury.
The underlying current through the entire narrative is Pierce’s slow shift away from the hard-bitten loner we saw at the start of book one. His thought processes are both both funny and bleak as at times, as he weighs his criminally honed instincts against his desire to make Miles happy.
“Or… maybe I should call it quits. Move on. I’ve had a good run. And maybe it would be better for Miles, which, if I’m honest, really is the only reason I do anything anymore.”
You must read Vice City before reading this one but even at just two books so far, it has become a favorite for me. If you like books that are dark, gritty, with out of the norm romance, I can’t recommend this gem of a series highly enough.
About S.A. Stovall:
S.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.
As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that storytelling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game, or comic, she had to experience. Now as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy.
Where to find S.A. Stovall: