Sempre (Forever Series #1)
by J.M. Darhower
Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco had vastly different childhoods. Haven, a second-generation slave, grew up isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege, never having to answer for anything he did.
Both now seventeen, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide, making them question everything they ever believed. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.
Haven has never known anything other than a life of confinement. She was born into slavery, destined to serve a master who would torment her and her mother. Haven knew no kindness other than her mother’s love. One day a man showed up to take her from the only home she had ever know. She was forced to leave her mother behind as she was whisked away to a new home. Haven was little more than a pawn, long ago forgotten.
Carmine, the youngest son of Dr. DeMarco, and the Principe della mafia. He is destined to live a life of service to the family. He has been singled out by Salvatore, the capofamiglia, head of the mafia, and his godfather. Carmine is destined to a life of crime and commitment. His father has spent his life inside the famiglia and wants to protect his children and keep them out of this life he felt forced to choose. Carmine is a feisty, smart mouthed teenager who has a reputation of having a very short fuse.
Carmine witnessed his mother’s death when he was only a young child, he was devastated.
When Haven shows up at his home, Carmine has no idea how to treat her. He doesn’t know where she came from or who she is. She has never lived without constant structure and she finds this new home overwhelming and confusing.
“Who are you anyway? What are you even doing here?”
“Haven,” she said quietly, peeking at him.
He gazed at her peculiarly. “Heaven? No, this definitely isn’t Heaven. But I get why you’re confused, since I’m standing in front of you.” She stared at him, and he
cracked a smile. “I’m kidding. Well, kinda… I have been told I’ve taken a girl to Heaven a time or two.”
“Haven, not Heaven,” she said, louder than before. Nothing about the conversation made sense to her. “My name’s Haven.”
Carmine starts to feel something for this fragile girl. He has never cared before, but for some reason he finds himself wanting to make her happy.
“Colpo di fulmine. The thunderbolt, as Italians call it. When love strikes someone like lightning, so powerful and intense it can’t be denied. It’s beautiful and messy,
cracking a chest open and spilling their soul out for the world to see. It turns a person inside out, and there’s no going back from it. Once the thunderbolt hits, your life is
When the past catches up with them, Carmine can’t escape and Haven may become collateral damage.
Carmine is an adult now and must make his own choices. Dr. DeMarco has to live with the choices he has made in his past and move on.
Haven has never been free. She has always been a servant, a slave, the property of someone else. Never did she imagine a life on her own. Never did she believe she would find love. Never could she hope for something more.
Just when they thought they were going to get their happily ever after, the noose tightens and Carmine is forced to play his hand. What he chooses could have lifelong consequences, for everyone.
WOW, WOW, WOW! This book knocked my socks off. It was definitely a new adult romance with lots of suspense and action. I have had Sempre on my Kindle waiting to be read for months. Why did I wait so long! The plot development was superb. There were so many things going on but even so, it never got overwhelming. There were lots of individual stories woven together to make this amazing story. The backdrop was a young blossoming romance between an unlikely pair.
Carmine was amazing, his brother was amazing, Haven was amazing. The theme here…AMAZING. This book has very high ratings for a reason. It really was that good. Watching Carmine navigate the dating world after a life spent sleeping his way through the school was actually funny and adorable. Seeing Haven blossom into a young woman without the burden of abuse, was exhilarating.
This was a solid five-star read for me. The writing was solid and the story sucked me in and kept me reading until the very end. There is a tie into book two. I want to know what happens next… and it looks like I won’t have to wait long. Sempre: Redemption comes out December 16, 2013.