Review: Bad for Her by Christi Barth

May Contain Spoilers

Bad for Her caught my attention because the hero is in witness protection. A former mobster, he and his brothers have been moved to a small town in Oregon, with new identities, to lay low before the trial of his mob boss.  Unfortunately, the reasons I wanted read this are the reasons it didn’t work for me.

Rafe was the right hand man for a Chicago mob boss. He decides to testify against his boss if the government will protect him and his two brothers. Since Danny McGinty is such a nasty villain, of course they will.  It turns out that Rafe and his brothers don’t take their new circumstances too seriously, however. In only a few months, they have been moved a number of times after blowing their cover, and this last move is the final one. If they mess up again, younger brother Kellan will be kicked out of the program, left unprotected, and probably killed by vengeful mobsters.

Now, Rafe and Flynn, who both worked for the mob, know how dangerous it would be if they are discovered, yet nobody seems to think that keeping a low profile would be in their best interest. Coupled with Rafe’s declaration that he never killed anybody, even though he worked for the mob as an enforcer for YEARS, didn’t ring true. If Danny was that awful, telling your boss, “nope, sorry, I’m not going to do what you tell me and kill that guy” just would not cut it. Not that I wanted to see Rafe as a stone-cold killer, but if he was busting heads for his boss, the claims that he wouldn’t kill a mob enemy just did not ring true.

Mollie is a doctor who has just moved back to her small hometown with her cousin. Big city life wasn’t working for her teenaged cousin, who kept getting into trouble and getting kicked out of school. This is his last chance, and when he starts teetering back into bad behavior, Mollie is desperate to keep him on the right track. Cue new guy, Rafe, who changed her flat tire on the highway, while getting her motor revved at the same time. Rafe, knowing a thing or two about being on the wrong side of the law, agrees to mentor Jesse by employing him at the auto repair shop where he works.

Neither Mollie or Rafe want anything other than friends with benefits, and frankly, I am getting tired of this trope. Even Mollie’s motivation, being abandoned by her mother, didn’t make it any more palatable. Their determination to keep things no strings attached didn’t make sense since they were always together, so saying that there will be no dating, even with there is very obviously dating, made that a moot point.

Rafe is a bit of a dirty talker, but compared to some of the other books I’ve read recently, he needs to up his game. I’m not sure how I would feel if some random guy stopped on the freeway when I had a flat tire and proceeded with blatant innuendos, but Mollie is obviously made of sterner stuff.  While much of their banter was amusing, Rafe’s repeated intrusions at Mollie’s place of employment were not. Though, since both of them were living with extended family, I guess there was no other place to get their groove on.

This is a fast read, and while it didn’t completely work for me, Bad for Her was a pleasant escape from reality.  I’m curious to read younger brother Kellan’s story, but for some reason, Flynn just rubbed me the wrong way, so I won’t be back for his.

Grade: 2.75 stars

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book:

Doctor Mollie Vickers loves the tight-knit community of her tiny Oregon town. But she’s not a fan of the limited dating options. Sleep with a guy who tried to copy off her in junior high? Pass. Mollie’s sex life is flatlining… until a deliciously handsome man she’s never seen before stops to help her fix a flat tire.
As an ex-mobster, Rafe Maguire’s no saint. But he’s trying to turn over a new leaf. Although he probably shouldn’t kiss the hot doctor on the side of the highway. Or suggest a no-strings fling with a woman he has no business pursuing. Rafe’s life is too complicated for love—his new WITSEC-provided identity doesn’t fit him at all and there’s a U.S. Marshal watching his every move. He can’t tell Mollie the truth… but their chemistry is scorching and being good doesn’t mean he can’t be a little bad.
Mollie can’t resist the guy who looks rough, talks tough, and is loyal to the bone. But it’s obvious Rafe is keeping secrets. When the truth comes out, Mollie must decide if she could ever love an ex-mobster… or if this bad boy has truly gone good.