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    REVIEW: Beloved By The Boss by Leighton Greene

    Morelli Family: Beloved By The Boss – Leighton Greene

    M/M Mafia Romance

    It’s good to be the Boss. That’s what I thought my whole life.

    Now I am the Boss. I’ll shoulder that responsibility with my beloved husband beside me. As long as I have Finch, I can handle whatever life throws at me.

    But what they say is true: Be careful what you wish for.

    My Family has been decimated. My allies are few. I’m holding onto power by a thread.

    And the truth is, my husband is more vulnerable than ever. He’s always been a lost soul, and now he’s suffered yet another crushing loss.

    I can’t protect him from Fate’s cruel blows. But I’m determined to protect him from our enemies, no matter what it takes—as soon as I get my own house in order.

    Because I’m starting to wonder if there’s a traitor in the Morelli Family…

    If I can’t even trust my own men, how can I keep my beloved safe?

    Beloved by the Boss is the sequel to Married to the Mobster, and is the second book in the Morelli Family Mafia Romance series.


    My mafia romance streak continues with Leighton Greene‘s Morelli Family. This series has one of my all-time favorite couples, Luca and Finch.

    Married To The Mobster, Book 1 of the series, was released in 2020, and since then, I’ve been waiting for the audiobooks. It wasn’t until last year that the author announced none other than the great Michael Ferraiuolo would be narrating, and I was ecstatic because his style suits the characters to a T!

    And it was a spot-on performance for Beloved by the Boss!

    In the first book, Luca was forced to marry Finch to save the young man’s life. Unknown to the mobster who forced the marriage, the two had a meet disaster that ended in a magical night and a separation of 5 years. Majority of the book, we see Luca putting Finch at arms length despite obviously worshipping the ground he walks on.

    Beloved by the Boss takes a 180-degree turn. Luca, now smarter and with his priorities straight, is the new Don Morelli struggling to gain the respect of his capos and other families. Finch is the center of his universe, and the two have Friday date nights and open communication. Luca is committed to putting Finch first, consequences be damned! And boy, were there consequences!

    The Commission, an organization overseeing all the Families, is calling Luca to explain Don Augustino Morelli’s death, along with the death of a made man from the rival Fuscone Family. The Morellis also had to find out who is snitching on them to the Fuscones. As if there’s not enough on their plate, the Donovans’, the Irish mob headed by Finch’s sister Maggie, appears to be working with their rival family.

    What I remembered most about Finch is that he is a fun character. He’s a sassy twink and a spoiled rich kid who “wilted like a lettuce left out the fridge” when he was forced to slum it (at that time, Luca was just a regular mafioso and wasn’t rich yet). Now, he’s still sassy and spoiled, and uses his considerable smarts as the unofficial consigliere.

    And because the humor was what I remembered most, I forgot how gritty this series could be. The story is told in dual POV. Luca’s POV showed his struggles as the new Morelli boss dealing with one major loss after another. Finch’s POV is all fun and games until the twists and turns slammed in! It was betrayal and death at every turn!

    It’s heart-breaking because most of the deaths and betrayals are connected to him directly and they hit him hard! Finch wasn’t just there to make saucy comments. He was also a grieving son, a reformed drug addict, a vulnerable target, and a mob boss’s husband trying to roll with the punches life and mobsters threw at him.

    Luca and Finch don’t know who to trust, not even those related by blood. I loved how the two went from strength to strength, working as a team because

    “When you want something done right–”
    “Do it with your husband,” I finished for him.

    Their romance is still as sizzling as ever, the chemistry even better now that Luca reveals an unexpectedly poetic side with his swoony lines. And it tickles me pink every time I hear him call Finch “baby bird” or “angel.”

    And it’s not just the chemistry. I also loved how they grew as a couple and as individuals. The scene where Luca surprised Finch at the wake spoke volumes about how well they knew each other and how far Luca will go just to be there when Finch needed him.

    I love reading about mafia politics and it was fascinating to see the Commission in action or the divide between the west and east coast families. The writing struck a good balance between humorous and dark, and between the action, romance, and suspense.

    The supporting cast stood out as well. Frankie and Celia have always been there, so I hope to see them in future books despite what happened (It was tragic and bittersweet). I’m excited for Angelo’s book and Aiden’s, too. One casualty gutted me because he was such great character, and I’m sorry we won’t be seeing him again.

    Beloved by the Boss is a compelling story of two men deeply entangled in marriage and the mafia. It is an almost perfect sequel to an entertaining mafia romance. I took away half star because it went on a bit too long. Overall, emotional, thrilling, and hella swoony!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Fire On Up
    Artist: Paper Kings
    Album: Look At Me Now

    P.S.

    Morelli Family should be read in order. Witness the meet-disaster and Luca’s pining for his “baby bird” in Married To The Mobster.

    Also, the book models are perfect as blue-eyed devil Luca and golden-haired Finch!


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    REVIEW: Say I Do by Brea Alepou & Skyler Snow

    Vitale Brothers: Say I Do – Brea Alepou & Skyler Snow

    What do you get when you mix a mobster with the son of the yakuza?

    A marriage bathed in blood.

    I never expected to be getting married, but when a business opportunity lands in my lap, I know I have to take it. After all, my family means the world to me. I’ll do anything to keep them safe, even if it’s entering a marriage that’s nothing more than convenience so I can pop out an heir.

    However, that’s not what happens. The Hayashi’s pull a fast one and I’m left with a snarling godd*mn hellhound on my hands. Harlow is nothing like the demure, sweet woman I signed up for. No, he’s got teeth and he knows how to use them.

    There’s no going back.

    I’ll either fall in love or bury another lover.


    When I started the Vitale Brothers series, I loved the cover of Take Me Apart but didn’t put much meaning to it. It wasn’t until the second book, Paid In Full, that I sat up and took a closer look at the cover because, holy hell, the scene connected to it slayed me!

    And DAMN! Benito’s book is a killer, too! That cover is perfect, right down to the turtle tattoo!

    Say I Do is the marriage between a monster and the devil. You can bet it’s one hell of a wedding night!

    And did I say they’re marrying each other, TWICE!

    Seriously, do we expect anything less from the merger of the head of a notorious mafia family and the son of the yakuza boss? It is as feral as it fiery, the bloodlust as intense as the passion! The hatefucks are so nuclear they set the standard for my other reads!

    The opening scene set the tone with Harlow Hayashi strapped to a gurney and gagged, ala Hannibal Lecter, because our boy is too deadly. He was wheeled into his wedding to Vitale Family head, Benito, after his twin sister became unsuitable for being pregnant with another man’s child.

    Surprised by this turn of events, a.k.a. shitty move by the Hayashis, but unwilling to break the fragile peace, Benito went through with the wedding ceremony. Not knowing what to do with a groom and claiming to be straight, Benito was quick to realize his life not only turned upside down, it got whole lot bloodier too.

    Please check the trigger warnings before diving in. There are instances of pedophilia, trauma, death, grief, and a lot of morally grey, if not down right criminal actions.

    There is also graphic domestic violence here, and by that, we have Benito and Harlow going at it like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt discovering they’re both spies. It’s not pretty, but just like Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mr. Vitale couldn’t resist the magnetic pull and soon channeled their aggression into a more steamy exchange of body fluids. It happens every time buttons are pushed because these two just loved pushing.

    Mostricio, non nascondetevi da me. Non eri quello che cercavo, ma sei tutto ciò di cui ho bisogno
    “Monster, don’t hide from me. You weren’t what I was looking for, but you’re all I need”

    The tumultuous romance blossomed while Benito is tasked to uncover who is snitching on the Vitales to a reporter. Harlow, recognizing his stake in the marriage and the Vitales, uses his skills and contacts to help gather intel on the snitch.

    This brought him to an old lover, the head of the Chinese triad, who declares ownership of Harlow. Even as a child, the young man was nothing but a bargaining chip to his father who handed him over to the triad. Benito’s not having any of the triad leader’s crap and took matters in his own hands.

    This series rarely pulled its punches, and Benito’s story did some heavy hitting, as well. This book is the perfect balance of sex, violence, and FEELS so swoony, the boutique scene melted me into goo! Add to that a gripping plot, and writing that keeps the tension tightly wounded until it exploded into a glorious red wedding climax.

    To top it off, another brother was introduced! The mysterious Gianpaolo, Gin’s twin, sacrificed his life for the family to become an FBI agent. He’s going to be paired with his boss! Can’t wait to see how they make this work!

    Say I Do blew my expectations out of the water! It is what a proper enemies-to-lovers romance should be, where real hate burns like fire of a thousand suns and the love it forges is true and unbreakable. This 3rd book of the series cements the Vitale Brothers as one of the most memorable mafia romances I’ve read this year!

    Rating:
    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: To Be
    Artist: The Irrepressibles
    Album: Nude

    P.S.

    Vitale Brothers is best read in order because these brothers are pretty special. Meet Enzo who likes ’em bloody and neat in Take Me Apart. Meet Gin who likes a toppy twink in Paid In Full.


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    REVIEW: Wayward by Mary Calmes

    Wayward – Mary Calmes

    Maksim Lenkov is certain he’s not a good man. His father isn’t, and since Maks is his second in command, then certainly, he’s just as evil. The list of sins is long, and there’s no getting around that. What’s messing him up is that despite all that, in the midst of life and death, his only friend tells him he’s been a blessing; law enforcement is treating him like he prevented more bloodshed than he caused, and everyone is concerned with doing right by him. Why? And how is Maks supposed to figure out who he is, when everything he thought he knew is suddenly turned upside down? It only gets weirder once he begins his new life in witness protection. Because if he’s a guardian angel of women and children, dogs, and one eccentric heiress, can he really be a bad man? Added into the mix is a handsome, loyal deputy chief of police, who lives next door and thinks Maks hangs the moon. Is it possible that living in hell never actually made him into the devil? Perhaps it was only a wayward life, and now it’s time to chart a new course.


    I’m on a mob boss falls in love with cop streak, it seems. Last week’s read was the dark and possessive Take Me Apart, and the week before that was the fluffy rom-com Pretty Policeman. This week’s read combines the two. 

    Wayward by Mary Calmes gives us something we don’t often see. A reformed mob boss living a new life with a cop. The story is divided into two parts that are polar opposites of each other.

    It started with the sordid life of much-feared bratva second in command, Maksim Lenkov. As the younger son, he was tasked to inherit the criminal side of their family and has to live in the shadows. Meanwhile his older brother, the golden boy, Pasha, lives in the limelight as the billionaire heir handling real estate and other above board businesses.

    This part was the most compelling for me. Here we have Maks, a reluctant bratva boss, secretly working in the shadows behind the shadows to make life better for his men and their families. He is adamant that the Lenkovs do not traffic humans, do not sell drugs, or handle prostitution. A stance that came biting him in the ass.

    It’s a story of betrayal of epic proportions that suckerpunched Maks with cars and bullets. I was as shocked as Maks when it happened! It was a miracle he survived. Then he turned around and dropped his own bomb on them.

    The second part is a redemption fairytale of sorts. Maks, now with a different last name, is driving to the small town of Rune to his new home. He stumbles upon two injured dogs that he took to the vet. There, he learns that the dogs are own by woman whose abusive husband wouldn’t let her daughter keep them.

    Said abusive husband and his buddies came to the clinic intending to rough them up, but Maks jumped in to save them. He was hailed a hero. And this became the running theme, Maks ending up saving someone and everyone adores him, much to his bewilderment. People tend to be scared of him before.

    In keeping with the fairytale vibe, Maks’s new home is in a crumbling Victorian estate of a famed eccentric heiress, Ada Farley, who promptly took a liking to Maks and hired him as the caretaker.

    Right off the bat, Ada practically signed away all her money to Maks just because she feels good about him and trusts him as the caretaker who would rebuild her estate. The banker handling her account, also took an immediate liking to Maks and keenly gave him access. All these, knowing the man just arrived in town and knowing jack shit about him.

    I am on the fence with the book. I feel it should be two different stories, while at the same time, I loved that we see the before and after of a reformed criminal’s life, where the Maks grabbed his second chance and ran with it. Reading about a ruthless bratva boss with a moral compass appeals to the anti-hero fan in me, but seeing that former mob boss thriving as a regular law-abiding citizen is an endearing story that doesn’t get told often.

    While some aspects of the bratva thread were stretching it a bit, some parts of the the redemption fairytale were simply ridiculous. The second part was written like an OTT rom-com, and it fell flat to me.

    The romance also felt like an afterthought. Maks and Deputy Chief Gale Malloy met nearly halfway through the story already. This would have been okay. Gale is a sweet guy but totally forgettable. And the romantic development, or lack thereof, was forced through a couple days. It would have developed more naturally had it been given more chapters or a sequel to grow.

    One aspect I like explored more is Maks using his bratva-acquired abilities to help the police. There was a scene where Maks was able to find a missing child because the bratva had to deal with a lot of kidnappings in past, so he knew what to look for. It would be interesting to read about him help solve crimes.

    Overall, Wayward is a mixed bag. It is a gritty story of family and betrayal, and a tale of redemption and second chances. While the ridiculous antics and lack-luster romance took away some stars, I loved Maks living in the shadows and walking the straight and narrow. He made the two worlds worth the journey!

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Wayward Love
    Artist: Jeremy Enigk
    Album: World Waits


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    REVIEW: Pretty Policeman: The Case of the Suspicious Stripper by Fifer Rose

    Pretty Policeman: The Case of the Suspicious Stripper – Fifer Rose

    Going undercover at a strip club owned by your mafioso boyfriend without running it past him first? Not the best idea. (Then again, a few spankings never hurt anyone… much.)

    Micah Hart had learned a few things the first few months of officially dating Damon Romano, a vicious mafioso/ridiculously rich billionaire, infamous throughout New York City for his cut-throat “business”

    1. Damon was soft for nothing and no one… except Micah (and maybe his sisters).
    2. His domineering tendencies definitely extended to the bedroom.
    3. Damon didn’t trust him – not completely.

    That last one shouldn’t have hurt as much as it did. After all, there were bound to be certain obstacles to overcome in a relationship when one person was a mafia don and the other was a police-detective-turned-PI.

    Damon keeps Micah far away from anything related to his “work”, and Micah allows it… at least until a stripper named Ginger waltzes into his struggling detective agency, claiming that her boyfriend – also a stripper – is trying to kill her. Ginger just so happens to work at Lust, the most infamous of a chain of clubs Damon has specifically warned Micah away from.

    Taking the job would require him to go undercover at Lust, and he should say no.

    But Damon is out of town for the weekend.

    And Micah’s been salivating for an actually worthwhile case for weeks now.

    What’s the worst that could happen?

    (Psst. Spankings.)


    Pretty Policeman is a fantastic brain candy written in the vein of Pretty Woman but with an undercover cop posing as a rent boy and a ruthless mafia don hellbent on being his sugar daddy. Against all odds and common sense, the two made it work.

    Fast forward to the present day, former detective Micah Hart is now working as a private investigator with his partner, also former detective, Tessa Gallagher. One particularly interesting case came their way, and the two were eager to jump on it.

    Pretty Policeman: The Case of the Suspicious Stripper has Micah and Tessa investigating claims by Ginger, a stripper, that her boyfriend and fellow stripper, Tommy, is trying to kill her. To do this, the detectives have to work undercover as employees of the club owned by Damon Romano and managed by his sister Joelle. And Micah has to do it secretly because everyone knows Damon’s possessive caveman tendencies.

    As with the first book, its best to suspend disbelief, grain of salt, etc. Also, read Pretty Policeman before diving into this to get the lay of land, so to speak, because this installment assumes you had done just that. The plot moves fast and doesn’t waste time explaining who’s who. Previous events were vaguely referenced, as well.

    The new case is interesting but can hardly hold water. It runs on the miscommunication gag where a character says one thing, and Micah thinks another. The people involved could have sorted it out themselves had Joelle not been scheming about Micah and her brother.

    Micah is still our lovable TSTL hero with spectacularly bad self-preservation instincts, has a look of wide-eyed innocence only seen in lambs, and a heart of gold as bright as his smile. The doofus still makes me laugh with his internal dialogues, this time written with less mini-explanations in parentheses. I kinda miss those because they show how Micah’s mind works.

    The story is in Micah’s POV. One of the things that makes it entertaining is that there is a constant sense of impending disaster, or anticipation of the other shoe dropping, whenever Micah makes god awful decisions or is talked into doing dumbass things. We as the reader see the approaching trainwreck a mile away while Micah doesn’t or does but forges on anyway.

    Our boy is all good intentions and saving the people, and we root hard for him, but also, yikes! As cute as he is, I would l love to see Micah’s character develop. When he was still a detective, he convinced me he was good at what he does. Here, his investigations skills were a joke.

    Damon, on the other hand, effortlessly kept the growly, possessive, soft-for-no-one-but-you moments as delicious and swoony as possible. The romance focused more on Damon being a Daddy rather than a Sugar Daddy, though he still loves pampering his precious tesoro. Fuck knows why the man latched on to Micah the way he did, but the mafia don had some of the most intensely romantic lines in the book!

    “You’re my heart, tesoro, and it’s terrifying having to watch it walk outside my body.”

    My favorite part is Geoffrey’s POV. He is Damon’s loyal chauffer and bodyguard who notes the changes in his boss since Damon had Micah. Through him we see a different side of Damon, the much-feared mafioso part, and the more recent besotted boyfriend side that few ever see. Geoffrey’s internal dialogues were more cynical than Micah’s but no less hilarious.

    Pretty Policeman: The Case of the Suspicious Stripper is a shorter read than its predecessor. The plot may be thin, our hero might lack common sense, but the writing made me chuckle, and the romance is high on squees. All in all, fun, light-hearted, and super swoony!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Treasure
    Artist: Port Duo feat. Jonathan Ogden
    Album: Far Away

    P.S.

    Pretty Policeman the series is should be read in order. Find out how the unlikely pair of a mafia don and police detective came together in Book 1, Pretty Policeman.


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    REVIEW: Pretty Policeman by Fifer Rose

    Pretty Policeman – Fifer Rose

    Detective Micah Hart wasn’t sure when his fairly safe, predictable life became something more closely resembling a dumpster fire.

    But if he had to pinpoint an exact moment, he would say it was the first time he went undercover as a prostitute in an attempt to bait the notorious serial killer who was stalking New York City’s streets – the media-dubbed Hooker Hunter.

    It’s when Damon Romano plows into his life, with his fierce protective energy, and those thick thighs, and the bluest pair of eyes Micah has ever seen.

    If only he wasn’t also a temperamental mafioso in charge of running one of the city’s largest criminal empires.

    Damon fixates on Micah, obsessing over feeding him and making sure he always has a coat. He spoils him rotten with gifts and insists on taking Micah on as his personal escort – a “boyfriend” to get his nagging sisters off his back.

    It’s weirdly sweet, and Micah doesn’t know how he’s become a soft spot in the ruthless man’s otherwise hardened exterior, but it would be a lie to say he didn’t want even more: a real relationship with Damon.

    There was just one teensy, tiny problem with that.

    Despite what Damon thinks, Micah isn’t actually a prostitute. He’s a cop for the NYPD.

    Pretty Policeman is an MM billionaire/mafia romance, sprinkled liberally with rom-com elements, served with a side helping of sugar daddy kink and mistaken identity trope.


    I’m not a fan of Pretty Woman because I don’t find Julia Roberts and Richard Gere attractive or appealing as actors. But I could see that the trope could be hella romantic if done correctly.

    Pretty Policeman is a take on Pretty Woman, but instead of a sex worker, we have an undercover cop, Micah Hart, playing rent boy in order to catch a serial killer. He was rescued from an abusive john by billionaire Damon Romano, who then fed and clothed the underdressed, underage-looking Micah. And showered him with presents without expecting anything in return.

    Micah tried several times to reject the care and the presents, but the older man sincerely and quite firmly wants to help get him off the streets. Thing is, Micah has a case to solve. Later, Damon gave him an offer he can’t refuse. And it turned out the caring billionaire is also a ruthless mafia don.

    The premise grabbed me immediately, and I didn’t initially realize what trope it was referencing. Author Fifer Rose sold me the fantasy and spiced it up with forbidden love between an undercover cop and a mafia boss, and I bought it hook, line, and sinker.

    And she made it so much fun! Written in Micah’s POV, his internal dialogues were hilarious, especially with how clueless he is in many situations and how we, as the reader, could see disaster written all over it. The writing also tends to use cutesy mini-explanations in parenthesis. It could have been annoying, but it worked with the tone of the story.

    Both characters have a duality to them. Our boy Micah, lovable as he is, is a total himbo, suffers from verbal diarrhea, prone to making spectacularly bad decisions, and should avoid vodka at all costs. As a newly minted detective, he is surprisingly good at his job. Micah is eager to prove himself, works his cases with dedication and diligence, and has good instincts he utilizes to maximum effect during investigations.

    Damon is known to Micah as a kind, protective, and generous man with a sugar daddy kink. He is a total gentleman, respecting Micah’s virtue even when the dork came on to him while completely smashed. Unknown to our boy, Damon is a much-feared mafia don whose wetwork makes even his hardened chauffer, Geoffrey, queasy.

    We never see Damon’s POV, which I wanted so badly. On the other hand, seeing him through Micah’s eyes enhances his mystique. And boy, does he cut a dashing figure in his sharp suits and greek god good looks! Not to mention all that TLC he showers Micah.

    In the last scene, we are teased with Geoffrey’s POV of his boss, where he comments on the changes to Damon’s character (“pep in his step” among them). While he secretly thinks Micah is an idiot, he couldn’t deny the dork’s good for the don. Heck, their chemistry sizzled and zinged! Even a grizzled mafioso could see that.

    I hope we get Geoffrey’s POV again in book two because I am intrigued by a third person’s POV of the mismatched pair.

    The trick to this book is to suspend disbelief, take it with a heaping pile of salt, and just let the romance sweep you away. The plot is OTT ridiculous but the case is actually interesting and is woven well with the crazy, implausible sugar daddy shenanigans, family drama, and workplace woes. I haven’t had this much fun with a book in a while!

    Pretty Policeman isn’t the kind of literary masterpiece people rhapsodize about. But to me, it is a masterful take on a classic romance trope, a novel of pure escapist fun, and a swoony fantasy of dark knights sweeping pretty boys off their feet. It doesn’t get more perfect than that!

    Rating:
    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Sugar
    Artist: Tonic
    Album: Sugar


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    REVIEW: Exclusive by Ki Brightly & M.D. Gregory

    Model Love: Exclusive – Ki Brightly & M.D. Gregory

    Getting signed as an exclusive model for a new fashion line is a dream come true for Asa, but is there more to the rich Ruslan than meets the eye?

    Being a model was supposed to be temporary for Asa McGogh AKA Augustine Hart. His fashion career was meant to be a stepping stone to acting, but when he gets an exclusive contract that comes with a hefty payday, he can’t say no. It would be a privilege for any model to be the face of a new fashion line built by millionaire Ruslan Kozlova, and it doesn’t hurt that Ruslan is charming, a flirt, and incredibly handsome.

    Ruslan Kozlova has a lonely life. Being a mafia boss isn’t easy, and all he wants to do is find the right person to stay by his side. When he sees Asa on a billboard, he knows he must have him, and he’ll do anything to make it happen, even bankroll an entire fashion line to get him close. Ruslan doesn’t want to be like every other businessman who expects more than Asa is willing to give him, though, so he decides to woo him the old-fashioned way.

    The more time Ruslan spends with Asa, the more he comes to realize how different Asa is from every other man he has met. Asa is pure and sweet, and Ruslan will do anything to keep him from the dark part of his life. But what happens when Asa finds out who Ruslan really is?

    Exclusive is part of the Model Love multiauthored series. Each book can be read as a stand-alone story, in any order, but there are so many models falling in love, why not read them all?


    Exclusive has a premise that immediately grabbed my attention. As someone who has dabbled in the fashion industry, a.k.a. failed attempts at designing, a person bankrolling an entire fashion line just to get his crush’s attention is peak romance to me.

    This is one of the fluffier and sweeter stories from this author duo who specializes in love interests from the wrong side of the law, mafia bosses, bikers, those types. It’s also a nice little tribute to Ukraine, with Ruslan Kozlova being a son of Ukrainian immigrants. The guy took one look at a billboard of perfume model Augustine Hart, a.k.a, Asa McGogh, and was immediately smitten. He had to have him!

    This kicks off the classic wine-and-dine romance because Ru is determined to woo Asa the traditional way. It was hella charming, though a tad bit too old-fashion and cheesy for me. Ru was the perfect gentleman and a romantic, wishing for true love as his parents had. At odds with his mob boss persona at which, the story was quick to clarify that the man was tired of the criminal life.

    Asa is advertised as sweet and pure. Yeah, he is that, but I felt his characterization wasn’t there 100%, falling short of adorable. He came from the Midwest with a supposedly wacky family. He took Ruslan to meet his folks. The McGoghs took it as a cue to act as ridiculously as possible. I felt they were trying too hard, and Ru pretty much lost his personality, barely having any dialogues and just going along with the trainwreck.

    Exclusive is a mix-bag for me. It’s my ultimate fashion fairy tale and a cheesy, light-hearted love story that almost lost the plot near the end. Luckily, it got back on track and rallied to the HEA I’ve been waiting for. All in all, this sugary sweet love at first sight romance is worth more than a passing glance.

    Rating:
    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: One Look
    Artist: The Correspondents
    Album: Foolishman


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    Exclusive: US | UK

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    SERIES REVIEW: Haven Hart Books 1-7 by Davidson King

    ***Long post. you can skip to the end for the tl,dr version if preferred

    Never judge a series by its spin-off is a lesson I learned from Haven Hart.

    I read Joker’s Sin series first, and I’m sad to say, I wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t bother with Haven Hart after that. Then on a whim, I decided to pick up Snow Falling, since heck, Joel Leslie and Philip Alces were narrating, and these two are always fantastic. Plus, I was also in the mood for some mafia romance.

    I ended up binging the entire series! That GOOD!

    These are not-so-mini reviews of the seven books in the main Haven Hart universe. The books should be read in order.

    Snow Falling: A man with a dangerous past and a man with a dangerous future find love amidst murder and mayhem. But with Snow’s life being threatened at every turn, will Christopher’s best be enough to prevent Snow Falling?


    I didn’t have much expectations going in. I thought it would be the usual mafia romance. Little did I know, I would be completely charmed by the delightful titular character, Snow. This ray of sunshine also charmed a houseful of mobsters, especially the boss, Christopher Manos.

    Snow saved Simon, Christopher’s 8-year-old nephew, from a dire fate, putting himself in grave danger in return. Christopher offered the homeless Snow protection and a place to stay, hiring him as Simon’s companion.

    It was a joy to watch the much-feared mob boss, Christopher Manos, become simply Chris. I loved how he was drawn to Snow without seeming to realize it. He instinctively let him take the lead, and it was so endearing that Snow didn’t even realize how much power he had having the Christopher Manos in his corner. Our boy asked for so little, and here was Chris, ready to give him the world!

    It’s a fabulous book to open the series. It showed a glimpsed of Haven Hart from its underbelly. It touches upon some dark themes, but still relatively lighter than the other books. The plot had many surprising twists and dark secrets to uncover. I was completely riveted!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: Naked
    Artist: Jaymes Young
    Album: Feel Something


    Hug It Out: When a mole is discovered within Riordan’s organization, relationships are compromised, and people’s lives are in danger. Time isn’t on their side, and they discover answers can’t always be found by hugging it out when someone is hell-bent on eliminating each and every one of them.

    So I tried reading this a couple years back, but I wasn’t feeling it. I was a bit skeptical (and admittedly judgey) about Teddy’s job. Like seriously, a professional hugger? I don’t even like hugging my relatives.

    Second time’s the charm because past the first couple of chapters, I got the hang of it. It’s a cute story of an assassin who was gifted with a professional hugger. He didn’t know what to do with him, so he ended up falling in love.

    I wasn’t as interested in the romance as I was with Riordan’s organization and his co-workers. He works for Black, an enigmatic and intimidating Thor of a man, who suddenly discovered somebody plans to launch a hostile takeover of his assassin company. Riordan and a few other trusted assassins work to uncover who was behind it.

    This installment introduced many of the characters who star in the succeeding books. The plot is as suspenseful and more action-packed. It also hinted at the presence of the nameless, faceless, hella mysterious heir to the Haven Hart founding family via the presence of Poe. He is an artist Snow befriended, and also the Hart heir’s representative. I was dying with curiosity!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Bullet Holes
    Artist: Gregory Alan Isakov
    Album: Evening Machines


    A Dangerous Dance: Bill and Mace’s traitorous hearts draw them closer together no matter how hard they fight the inevitable. With the lives of their loved ones hanging in the balance, they find themselves in the middle of a dangerous dance.

    This is an enemies-to-lovers story of Bill, Christopher Manos’s underling who became Snow’s best friend, and Mace, an assassin from Black’s organization. They were forced to work together.

    I didn’t expect Bill to get his own book. He was a goon from the Russian mob who threatened Snow. He had been given a second chance by Christopher after Snow asked to spare his life. He was mostly in the background, so I was surprised that he was suddenly Snow’s best friend.

    Mace was more memorable because he’s a flashier character. That’s all I’ll say about him because he and Bill weren’t that interesting. However, both are great as secondary characters.

    Their story felt very much like a mid-series book. It picked up the threads from the previous book and ended in an HFN. Not so satisfying but understandable given how things went.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Born Killers
    Artist: Selebrities
    Album: Lovely Things


    From the Ashes: Unknowingly sharing the same goal—burying their own pasts deeper than the fires of hell can reach—Black and Quill are unaware that jumping into that fire will do more than ignite their feelings, it could lead to their own demise.

    I was excited about this because Quill piqued my interest when he first appeared in Book 2. I was thrilled he’s paired with Black because they’re total opposites.

    Quill is the colorfully tattooed smallish barista who latched on to Black and flirted every chance he got. Black is this grumpy giant who couldn’t understand why Quill, 20 years his junior, was interested in him. After the events in Book 3, he hired the young man to do deliveries.

    At first, the story was cute and amusing with Black trying to fend off the relentless Quill. Then things took a darker turn when it was revealed Quill was a victim of domestic abuse. Black was in full protective mode because he took such crime personally.

    Why he takes it personally was a story so tragic and horrific it triggered my anxieties. And I’m normally the type of reader who’s barely ruffled by blood and gore scenes. The author didn’t make it too graphic, it was just that terrible. You can feel how heartbreaking it was for Black to talk about it. Also, the scene where Quill was being hunted had me holding my breath. I was so terrified for him!

    My heart went out to Black and Quill! I am so glad this is romance, and the happy ending is guaranteed, or else I would be completely devastated.

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Born In Flames
    Artist: In This Moment
    Album: Mother


    Snow Storm: The city of Haven Hart rests under the heel of Christopher Manos. Snow has found a home, a family, and the love of one of Haven Hart’s most powerful men. When Christopher and Simon are kidnapped, Snow risks everything to find his family. Snow calls in every favor he is owed, risking his life promising favors in return, all to save his family and the man he loves.

    This installment returns to Christopher, Snow, and now teen, Simon. The happy couple wants to celebrate Simon’s birthday. Chris promised his nephew the two of them would go camping so that they could spend some quality time together. En route, they were ambushed and kidnapped.

    Manos family skeletons were unearthed when Christopher came face to face with their kidnappers. The lengths Snow would go through to save his family knew no bounds. He even went so far as break his friendship with Poe by asking him to do the unthinkable, betray the Hart heir.

    This part was particularly juicy because I was hungry for crumbs about the Hart heir. Poe guarded his secrets like a dragon guarding his hoard. I’m so tempted to skip to the 7th book!!!

    Anyway, Snow was wonderfully brave and smart, even if he had to hurt Poe in process. Thankfully, they reconciled later on. With Black’s help, Snow hatched a clever rescue mission. This book also has a mid-series feel to it, bridging the past events to the present and laying down the seeds of things revealed in the next book. It’s not as dark as the previous book but still very gripping!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Find You
    Artist: Ruelle
    Album: Rival


    Triple Threat: Lee, Jones, and Ginger deal with dangerous situations and mounting stress daily working for the most powerful assassin organization in the world. All of those things seem like a walk in the park compared to the friction that sparks between them. When all three are assigned to the same job, ignoring the heat from the inferno of desire becomes impossible.

    Lee, Jones, and Ginger are Black’s people. Jones is the muscle and Lee’s best friend, while Ginger is the recruit. Lee is a hacker who went to the dark web to track down human traffickers who were running an auction. Then they discovered Ginger’s brother being sold and rushed to save him.

    This is a road trip poly romance running alongside a vigilante mission to take down the human trafficking ring. It had Jones and Lee pretending to be buyers while Ginger worked in the shadows since his close resemblance to his brother would give them away. They had to follow instructions and codes to various locations before they could retrieve their “merchandise.”

    Given the stomach-turning crime tackled here, the author did a good job keeping things from becoming too disturbing. The plot brings various arcs together and edges closer to the finale. I love how things are starting to fall into place. At the same time, it had me asking burning questions!

    Rating:
    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Bloom
    Artist: Murder By Death
    Album: The Other Shore


    Raven’s Hart: Haven Hart stands on the edge of good and evil. Having balance between the two is the only thing keeping the town from crumbling to the ground. For years, one man has been charged with maintaining that balance. Poe. The air of mystery surrounding Poe is one of necessity. Poe will need the help of his friends to fight the ultimate battle; not just save Haven Hart but everything and everyone he holds dear to him.

    Finally, Poe’s book!!!!

    I will not say much about the plot. All you need to know is that it’s so worth it to read the first six to get to this! My jaw dropped to the floor at the revelations. And that’s just in the opening chapters!

    I was also floored to know the true measure of the weight and heartache Poe carries. This guy is holding Haven Hart together single-handedly. And doing it while barely holding himself together. It’s a wonder he’s still standing, the poor man! Poe is amazing!!!

    Davidson King definitely saved the best for last! Haven Hart was never the same after this!

    Rating:
    4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away

    Soundtrack: You
    Artist: Tally Hall
    Album: Good & Evil

    The Haven Hart series is about family. The good ones, the ones people found, and the ones they’d rather forget. I loved how the main characters were so alive and real, I felt like I knew them personally. Their stories moved me, scared me, amused me, made me feel like I’m part of their lives. Their stories are a delicate balance of good and evil, much like the city that gave the series its name.


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    Haven Hart Boxset 1-4: US | UK
    Haven Hart Boxset 5-7: US | UK

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    HAVEN HART BOXSET 1-4
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