Then Angelo caught my attention. I was in the mood for some dark mafia-themed romance and the blurb intrigued me. So heck, why not.
The thing with this series is that, for the most part, I really didn’t care for the romance. BDSM is not my thing.
But the Marchesi family charmed me with their unconditional love for each other and willingness to die for their loved ones. No one could question their loyalty to each other.
They are portrayed as a typical close-knit Italian family who always have good food at their table. They take breakfast seriously. I almost wish I am a morning person so I could eat the smorgasbord of delights their housekeeper always prepare every morning.
The books are classified as erotica and there are a lot of sex scenes. You can just skip those if you want (makes the reading go faster too). The plot is substantial enough. There are probably some nuances to the couple dynamics I might have missed but I don’t really care.
There’s also the mafia politics, something I always loved reading about. This part worked well with romance especially how it brought the couples together. I liked how the various plotlines were integrated.
Each book features a different member of the notorious Marchesi family and the men they brought into their world of crime and cannoli.
The overarching arc is the threat to overthrow the Marchesi family by rival mafia families. The Marchesi have their allies, among which, Vinnie, who was a son of another mob boss and who was featured in a short story.
We’ll start with Lucien…
The Marchesi Family: Lucien – Silvia Violet
I never imagined the protector I longed for would be a mob boss who demanded complete control.
I shouldn’t have gone to Lucien’s office.
Once I looked into his eyes, I couldn’t leave.
He commanded me to kneel.
I couldn’t help myself.
One taste, and I craved more.
Lucien vowed to protect me from his enemies…
But who’s going to protect my heart from him?
Lucien is the illustrious head of the family. He’s bossy and scary AF. He’s always perfectly put together. He has a sweet tooth. He can drink until he passes out but wakes up the next morning sparkly and fresh. He is, according to Peter, ‘magical‘.
Peter is a sweet young man struggling to find a job. He was tricked by his cousin to fill in a position as a receptionist at some posh company. Little did he know, the company was own by the Marchesi.
So at Peter’s first day of work, in walks Lucien, saw the angelic new receptionist and decided, then and there, he was his. It was that insta.
Stripped of the BDSM elements, this is a whirlwind romantic fairy tale of sorts where the damsel was swept away by the prince to his castle. But instead of the prince, you get a crime lord.
Lucien is Lucien but Peter was a little to submissive for my liking. Still, you couldn’t really hate on somebody pure like him. He’s not entirely helpless and has quick wits about him. He even helped save Lucien. He was exactly what the mob boss needed in his life.
3 Stars – not exactly setting my world on fire but I liked it
The Marchesi Family: Mob Boss – Silvia Violet
I let Vinnie seduce me.
I was an easy mark.
I would have granted him anything, but I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t know I was setting a man up for death.
But even now I still want him, and he has no intention of letting me go.
This is pretty much a condensed version of Lucien and Peter’s story. The difference is that Tom witnessed a crime and Vinnie had to protect him. This is 40 pages of alternate sex scenes and whatever plot there is so there’s really not much of an exploration of their characters and relationship.
This would have been better as a novella than a short story. All in all, it was kinda okay.
2.5 Stars – far from hate but not quite a like
The Marchesi Family: Angelo – Silvia Violet
Cameron didn’t realize how much he loved his grandparents’ bakery until Angelo Marchesi, a man he’s hated since high school, threatened to take it away.
But Cameron owes Angelo a debt.
A debt he can’t pay…
Unless he accepts Angelo’s indecent proposal and risks finding out how thin the line between love and hate really is.
Angelo is more similar to his cousin, Devil than his autocratic brother, Lucien. The cousins are Lucien’s enforcers.
Angelo and Devil were inseparable since they were toddlers. They were both reckless and bisexual. They cover for each other, especially when one or the other is in trouble with Lucien or the police.
Angelo and Cameron had mutual crushes on each other from high school but with Angelo’s reputation being what it is, he scared Cameron away.
Cam came back to his hometown after burning himself out in the corporate world. He inherited his family’s bakery and was determined to make it work. His deadbeat dad had almost run it to the ground. Then he learned the bastard owed the Marchesis money. One day, Angelo came to collect.
Angelo and Cam’s interactions were antagonistic from the start. Angelo thinks Cam looks down on him for having the kind of family he has. Cam wants nothing to do with the mafia but he was secretly envious the kind of loving family Angelo had.
I’m not a fan of the dubcon scenes but unlike Peter who was 100% submissive, Cameron has more fire in him. It also took him longer to accept the mafia part of Angelo’s life but when he finally did, he fit right in.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
The Marchesi Family: Devil – Silvia Violet
Devil is a mobster with a dangerous secret…
There’s a cop who hates him.
A cop he caught and released.
A cop he can’t get out of his mind after the one forbidden night they shared.
This is my favorite book and Devil is my favorite character in the series. Whereas Angelo was a health buff, Devil relishes a good cigar. Devil goes above and beyond to protect his family but he’s not above keeping his affair with a cop secret.
I liked the cop/criminal dynamic between Joe and Devil. Joe is actually a forgettable character in any other book, but being paired with somebody as unpredictable as Devil added another dimension to his personality. Plus, the fact that he was attracted to a dangerous man shows he’s not exactly vanilla. He also brought out Devil’s endearing mother-henning side which was fun to see.
I also liked that both men were dominant so the power dynamics were balanced. It made the tension between the two so much enticing because you’ll never know who’ll come out on top.
This book wraps the series up. The threat to the family was put to an end for good. Characters for a new series weres introduced. They piqued my interest so I’m looking forward to that.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
I guess I was too hasty with this author. She made me care about the Marchesis so much that I read all the books in quick succession. The series is dark but has a lot of heart. Certainly no oatmeals this time.
If the new spin-off series is as good as this, I’ll probably end up binge reading it too. Moral of the story: Don’t judge an author by one bad story. Sometimes, they could surprise you.
These Marchesis are a tight bunch so while the books could be read as standalones, it’s best read in sequence.