Intense emotions, captivating romance, and nonstop tension fill the pages of Break Me Like a Promise by Tiffany Schmidt, the second book in the author’s Once Upon a Crime Family series, which sees fairy tale inspiration behind a crime family drama.
All Magnolia Vickers has ever wanted was to follow father’s path as head of the Family Business. But new legislation is poised to destroy the Family’s operations in the black-market organ trade and Maggie’s recent behavior has wrecked the business-savvy reputation she’s worked her whole life to build.
She’s given an ultimatum: shape up or step aside.
Then Maggie messes up: she downloads a virus onto her father’s computer, and must sneak it off-estate for repair. When Alex, a tech whiz, uncovers the type of information on the machine, he offers Maggie a choice: her Family can give him a kidney, or he’ll irreparably scramble the data. Maggie agrees, but has no intention of keeping her promise or ever seeing him again. That night Alex shows up at her Family estate with copies of confidential Family files and a shocking revelation—the kidney is for him.
The Vickers aren’t willing to let Alex out of their sight, so he moves onto their estate and Maggie is assigned to be his keeper. A task she resents and he enjoys making as challenging as possible. But procuring black market organs is becoming increasingly difficult, and as Alex’s health declines, she’s surprised to find herself falling for him.
Like it or not, Maggie must accept that if she wants to save Alex’s life and carve out a place in the new legalized organ business, she’s going to have to fight for both.
If you’re a regular here at Novel Novice, then you know how obsessed I am with YA books about organized crime. I can’t get enough of them, and Schmidt’s series is intoxicating. Unlike most fairy tale retellings, the Once Upon a Crime Family series use their source inspiration subtly. The real focus is on the characters and the drama they face in the world of organized crime — and that’s what I love so much about these books.
I adore the delicate balance Schmidt’s characters walk in this world where good and bad is blurred — certainly more so (I think) in Break Me Like a Promise than in the first book, Hold Me Like a Breath. Seeing her characters struggle with the fine line between good and bad is part of what makes for such a captivating read; and perhaps that’s what I like so much about stories involving organized crime. Yes, there is violence and evil and death and a lot of illegal, bad things. But there is also a code of conduct; a sense of honor and family and inclusiveness and doing whatever it takes to protect and care for those within that inner circle.
Break Me Like a Promise delivers an intense drama, in the midst of unfolding romance and increasing dangers. And while this is more of a companion than a direct sequel, fans of Hold Me Like a Breath will be happy to see a continuation of that book’s story running throughout the pages of Break Me Like a Promise. In this way, Schmidt pulls back the curtain on this world she’s built around the illegal organ donor business — expanding it, enhancing it, and making it grander. If you’ve already been enticed by the first book in this series, be prepared to get sucked in even further.
Look for Break Me Like a Promise in stores June 7th.