Jul 8 2016 11:30am

Mobsters in Love: Making An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Ivan: Her Russian Protector by Roxie Rivera

Whenever I hear the word Mafia (referred to as the Costa Nostra in Sicilian) my thoughts automatically turn to Marlon Brando and his epic role as Don Vito Corleone in the cult classic—The Godfather.  A dark drama laced tale of family, loyalty, and honor that is fueled by the violence, greed, and murder it inspires. It’s a brutal movie that bears witness to the almost religious fanaticism this culture embraces. This movie spans a generation, all centering around the heir apparent Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his meteoric rise and fall from power. Though over 42 years since it first released, this movie is still considered the world’s most definitive look into the inner sanctum of a once secretive world that only those born and bred to could be a part of.  

Romance has had a long and torrid affair with the mafia, infusing the violence and criminal elements with themes of love and redemption. Ultra-alpha men dominate these romances, choosing to walk an unspeakable path all in the name of family, loyalty, honor and power. Some walk willingly...while others walk in order to protect those they love and care for. I’ve always been a voracious reader of these particularly dark and volatile stories that offer a taste of the forbidden and gives readers a plethora of anti-heroes and heroines whose dark deeds and difficult choices only serve to endear them deeper into your heart.

This world is not limited to the Italians though it is where it was born and bred. Each nationality has its own version of the mafia though it goes by different names from the Russian Bratva to the Japanese Yakuza. Even with the varied differences in power structure and recruitments, their objectives remain similar. They are organized crime families consisting of born and made men who rule their territories with iron fists drenched in with blood. And once your're in... death is usually your only way out.

One of the more well-known mafia based romance series is by Roxie Rivera. Though it is primarily Russian based, Rivera does have an Albanian mob family that interacts with the main family. Rivera’s Her Russian Protector series is based in Houston, TX and follows a Russian crime boss -Nikolai- whose abusive and horrific childhood prepared him for the brutality of running his empire. His one true love is a young woman who is also his ward-Vivian. Nikolai loves Vivian but keeps her at arm’s length to keep her safe from the violence of his world. When she is attacked and kidnapped, Nikolai throws caution to the wind and claims her as his. Each book tells the story of one hero and heroine.

“You're too good for me and I should be a better man and push you away—but God help me I can't. I love you, Vee.”

The Viper by Kele Moon

For the darker, edgier crowds Kele Moon writes a dark mob based romance suspense series-Untamed Hearts-that shines a light on the very dark and abusive side of the Costa Nostra through the eyes of three brothers who were forcefully co-opted into the family. Born bastardi’s (the illegitimate children of a made crime family boss) Romeo, Casanova (Nova), and Valentino (Tino) were all left under their mother’s care until she passes and Romeo is sent to jail. It’s then we learn exactly what their mother and Romeo has done to ensure their father never got their hands on them. But he does, and Tino and Nova’s lives are never the same again. Tino, The Enforcer, becomes an enforcer for the mob, used and abused for efforts. When he has hit rock bottom, finally ready to lie down and give it all up to find his peace, it’s a woman who gives him the strength to do something about the chains that bind him to this violent world.

Protect my queen at all costs. I’m not you. I still need her to win.

Sin & Needles by Karina Halle

Or perhaps Karina Halle The Artist Trilogy is for you. Based on the Colombian cartel and tells a dark and violent story of love, loss, betrayal and redemption. The lines in here are very gray and fluid, leaving you unsure who are the good guys and who aren’t. Ellie Watt, former con artist and grifter, wants to go straight and make a life for herself. She just needs one more job, only she never expected her job to look as good as it did. Camden McQueen has grown from the geeky boy Ellie knew in high school to a large, sexy tattoo artist with his own business. Camden has always loved Ellie but that love over time has mutated into something darker and more deadly. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her an offer she can’t refuse. But the path it sends them down may be the last journey either of them take.

All for a girl. But she wasn’t just any girl.
She was mine.
And I was hers.
Until the bitter end.

Last Hit by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick

Another strong  dark Russian romance based mafia series is The Hitman series by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick is similar to Kele Moon’s Untamed Hearts series in that it digs deep beneath the hype and romanticism of the Mafia and addresses the brutality and abuse that is visited upon the people who stand between the family and its enemies. Naturally, it offers sanctuary and redemption in the form of true love. Book one, The Last Hit, gives us the opening into this world through the eyes of Nikolai (Nick) a contract killer. Taken by the Bratva as an orphan, he is a cold, calculating, unfeeling man whose life has been spent serving his masters. He has to carry out one last hit for his freedom but when he meets Daisy, he finds his whole life changes. She is the only person he sees. The only person he'll willingly serve. Nick has always been one to hide in the shadows to hunt his prey but when his enemies come circling, he is willing to step out into the sun and burn the world down if anyone hurts his Daisy.

“I’ll never be good for Daisy but I ache and I am … lonely.”

Elite by Rachel Van Dyken

If you're a fan of a younger crowd, Rachel Van Dyken and Melanie Harlow both have mafia series set in the new adult world. Rachel Van Dyken’s Elite Eagles series is set at a private college aptly named Elite Eagle College. Each book revolves around one couple while advancing the arc. Book one, Elite, introduces us to the young men and women who are the future of the various mafia families they are born into or affiliated with. A young woman, Tracy Rook, wins the lottery of a lifetime that allows her to attend Elite Eagle on scholarship. She soon finds herself in a real life version of Mean Girls-only the girls are guys-and she has no idea why the class president on campus, Nixon Abandonato, hates her. Nixon has his reasons for making Trace thinks he’s the devil but when he can’t protect his heart from her, he is forced to make a choice that could get them all killed.

“I need you like I need my hearto pump blood through my body, like I need air to breathe, like we need gravity. Hell, you are my gravity. Being with you makes me feel centered and whole, and I’m too screwed up to convince you to want any different. I’m too selfish to push you into someone else’s arms when I know mine may be the worst one’s for you to be in. I love you.”

Speak Easy by Melanie Harlow

Melanie Harlow’s Speak Easy duology is set in the roaring twenties. Tiny O’Mara helps run her father’s bootlegging operation and is shocked when her father is kidnapped by the mob and held for ransom. Forced to come up with $10,000, Tiny finds herself going deep down into the underworld where greed, corruption, lies, and violence threaten her at every turn. Two men vie for her attention but who can she trust? The Italian mafia boss’s son, Enzo who is holding her father captive or her childhood pal Joey whose own agenda is suspect?

“I've never wanted to do to another person the things I want to do to you. Oh, my God, the things I'm going to do to you...”

Black Ice by Anne Stuart

A strong romance suspense series that dabbles in the mafia is Anne Stuart’s Ice series. Her Fire and Ice, book five, is one of a few books I’ve read where the hero is a member of the Yakuza. Anyone who has read Stuart’s Ice series knows how dark this series is, steeped in violence and suspense with a distinct lack of morality. Jilly Lovitz has come to spend some time with her sister and brother in law when she finds herself snatched up onto the back of a motorcycle, almost the victim of a hit that was sent to take out her sister and her husband. Jilly is saved by Reno- a killer with ties to the Committee and the Yakuza. Someone wants her dead and Reno is the only one who can keep her alive. Though their attraction is hot and fierce, Reno fights it from day one only to discover Jilly has become his achilles heel. Now he must fight for more than their safety...he must fight for her heart.

“I don't love you,” he said. And he pulled her into his arms and kissed her, a kiss of passion and desperation, a kiss of deep currents and longing. “I don't love you,” he said again.

“Of course you don't,” she murmured happily. And she followed him out the door, into the lion's den.”

With Good Behavior by Jennifer Lane

Jennifer Lane’s Conduct trilogy is a strong romance suspense/thriller with a mafia base. It’s also rather funny which surprised me. A chance meeting outside a parole office is the start of a complicated and very sweet romance between two ex-cons whose dysfunctional families are the beginning and end of all their problems. Sophie Taylor is an ex-psychologist who crossed a line out of concern and paid a heavy price for it. Grant Madison is an ex-naval officer whose attempts to remain clear of his mafia family ended up with him giving it all up to save a loved one. The continued criminalization of felons after time served, child abuse, mental disorders, and the fine lines between ethics and accountability are all addressed as Sophie and Grant try to stay on the straight and narrow and build a relationship while staying one step ahead of their vindictive and amoral families.

“I’m glad I went to prison,“ Grant rasped in Sophie’s ear, so quietly only she could hear. ”Because then I found you.”

These are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mafia based romances. They come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. From the lightweight to sexually explicit, every romance reader can find one to fit their tastes. Let us know what some of your favorites are. 

Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post

Ivan: Her Russian Protector (Book 1 of Her Russian Protector Series) by Roxie Rivera  
The Viper (Book 1 of Untamed Hearts Series) by Kele Moon  
Sins & Needles (Book 1 of The Artist Trilogy) by Karina Halle  
Last Hit (Book 1 of Hitman Series) by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick  
Elite (Book 1 of Elite Eagles Series) by Rachel Van Dyken  
Speak Easy (Book 1 of Speak Easy Duology) by Melanie Harlow  
Black Ice (Book 1 of Ice Series) by Anne Stuart  
With Good Behavior (Book 1 of The Conduct Series) by Jennifer Lane  













Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Miss_D
Sienna Mynx's "Battaglia Series" and Latrivia Welch's "Medlov" books are very entertaining 'mobsters in love' stories.

I totally recommend them.
Tori Benson
2. Torifl
Miss_D-OoooO thank you. I haven't heard of either author but I'm always looking for new ones.
5. BenidormBabe
I love Anne Stuart's books. Christine feehans sea haven books feature mobsters, sort of. Of the Russian variety
Tori Benson
6. Torifl
BenidormBabe-I enjoy Feehan's Sea Haven series though I find the heroes more spy/assassin then mafia based.
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