Since the dawn of time, waging war on those who have wronged us has been embedded in the very fiber of mankind’s true nature. The thirst for vengeance and retribution has always prevailed overturning the other cheek to one’s enemies. Creating chaos and bloodshed is preferable to being subjected to vapid dialogues of peaceful negotiation.
None hold this way of life more sacred than made men.
These are the codes of conduct of every mafia family.
However, the same cannot be said when dealing with their enemies.
Throughout recent decades, in the midst of civil evolution, an ancient war was being fought. From both sides of the globe, blood was spilled in the name of honor, while the brutal carnage each family bestowed upon the other was anything but noble. Soldiers, kin, and innocent lives were lost on all sides, and the inevitable extinction of the mafioso way of life was fast approaching.
In the most unlikely scenarios, six families came together in an undisclosed location to negotiate a peace treaty. As the leaders of the most influential crime families in the world, they recognized that a ceasefire was the only way to guarantee their endurance. Should this attempt fail, then their annihilation was all but imminent.
The treaty was effectively simple.
Each family would offer up one of their daughters as a sacrifice to their enemies. Marriage was the only way to ensure that the families wouldn’t retaliate against one another. It would also guarantee that the following successor’s bloodline would be forever changed, creating an alliance that would continue throughout generations to come.
Not all in attendance were happy with the arrangement.
The deep scars gained from years of plight and hatred can’t be so easily healed or erased. However, even the cynical and leery knew that this pact was their best chance of survival. Although the uncertainty of the treaty’s success was felt by every mob boss there, one by one, the families swore an oath that would bind them to it forever.
And as the words spilled from their lips and the scent of blood hung in the air, they made sure innocent lives would yet again be deemed collateral damage to their mafia wars—one last time.
Their daughters would have to pay the price of peace.
Whether they wanted to or not.
I was sold to my enemies. And not just my enemies. I was sold to monsters.
I should know all about how to survive monsters though, I come from a family of them.
We aren’t Butchers in name only, and surely the Rossi family can’t be as bad as the devil that’s been destroying me since I was eight years old.
New York City, the powerful head of the Cosa Nostra, is my new home. Where Lucian, Raphael, and Gabriel Rossi now think they own me.
The thing they don’t realize is that I’m more than what I seem.
A dahlia has always bloomed best in the light, and even though everything about this place and these men is shrouded in darkness, I’m determined to thrive…to win.
They play a game for keeps, a game where the only rule is that there are no rules.
They want to ruin me. But what disturbs me most is that I just might like it.
It’s me against them, and only time will tell If I’ll be the winner or be destroyed in these cruel and merciless Mafia Wars.
This is a dark mafia reverse harem standalone which means the main character will end up with multiple love interests. It may have triggers for some as it has intense angst, mention of previous non-consent, non-consent, dark love-hate themes, scenes of self harm, sexual scenes, and some violence, and is not for the faint of heart.
Dahlia, from The Firm in England, is headed to New York where she will marry the Heir to the Cosa Nostra dynasty, Lucian Rossi. She’s angry with her brother and her clueless mother for springing this on her. They aren’t even flying her in a private plane, she’s flying first class but commercial. The busy Heathrow airport is crowded, and she ends up buying a tacky and too small T-shirt with a Union Jack to replace the blouse she spilled coffee down the front. It’s during that purchase she first sees the handsome man who would be in the adjoining pod on the plane.
The eight-hour flight to New York is an interesting one, exchanging only first names, Dahlia has a reaction to Raphael she’s never had to any other man before. This leads to a very intense, sensual scene, where she gives this stranger something that should have been given to Lucian, her virginity.
Arriving in New York, disheveled and resigned she’s walked to the luggage claim by Raphael, but he disappears before she’s escorted by two men, who obviously know who she is, outside to a Bentley with blacked out windows. This is when she gets her first look at Lucian, a dark angel the opposite of Raphael from the plane. As they take each other in, Lucian asked someone behind her about the flight. That’s when she finds out that Raphael is in fact Lucian’s half-brother. She gave her virginity to her future brother-in-law.
On the drive into Manhattan, Dahlia’s questions are answered with curt barely full sentences from Lucian. She’s literally dropped off at the curb in front of the building with her luggage. Her fiancé is obviously a jerk. One of the doormen pretty much dragged her out of the car before it drives away. Neither of the doormen bother to assist her with it, only when she gets inside the lobby does she get assistance and then left on her own in the penthouse apartment.
Waking to something breaking, Dahlia meets Lucian’s brother Gabriel under unusual circumstances. Gabriel has OCD and it extends to his relationships, falling in love at the drop of a hat and dropping them when someone new catches his eye. Now it seems he’s falling for Dahlia, something that can’t happen.
Gabriel is also appalled at Lucian’s behavior with Dahlia. He’s the one who does his best to make her feel at home.
This is one of many favorite scenes.
“You know, it’s funny. I’m not marrying you, but you’ve asked me more questions in the last fifteen minutes than my fiancé asked during the over-an-hour-long car ride.”
I held in my grin until I wasn’t facing her again. Lucian was such an asshole. It was perfect.
“Oh? Lucian didn’t have anything to say?”
“Apparently not,” she huffed. I heard her shift in her seat as I added some salted butter into another pan and began to melt it. “He— seemed unhappy about the situation,” she said tentatively.
I thought about what I should say. Lucian had been pretty quiet about the whole arranged marriage thing. Raphael and I hadn’t been present when the contract was signed. But once he’d come home, Lucian hadn’t so much as flinched when it had been revealed everyone would basically be trading their daughters in exchange for peace. I’d been horrified on behalf of Lucian… and my little sister.
I couldn’t imagine being forced to marry some random girl. What if she was hideous? But Lucian, he’d agreed to it immediately. As the oldest brother and the future boss of the Cosa Nostra, he took his role seriously. Too seriously, if you asked me.
But right now, I was more jealous than I’d ever thought possible that he was getting to marry Dahlia. He was the luckiest bastard in the world as far as I was concerned. But as long as her heart belonged to me, I could deal with him getting to marry her. She’d still carry the same last name as me.
“Gabriel?” she asked questioningly. I tossed the garlic and the shallots into the butter to soften and added some chilis and some salt and pepper before speaking.
“He’s very focused on his position,” I said carefully. “Right now, he’s the underboss for my father. Lucian has a lot of responsibility. I’m sure… things will warm up between you two,” I continued. Over my dead body.
And that was as much as I really wanted to talk about Lucian.
Her stomach all of a sudden let out the loudest growl I think I’d ever heard. I turned to look at her, and she had an appalled look on her face like she wanted to go run and hide.
It was fucking cute.
“Glad you’re hungry,” I said with a wink, and something inside of me growled in satisfaction when a beautiful blush appeared on her cheeks.
I made a mental note to add lots of winks to my game card in the battle to get Dahlia’s heart.
The pasta was almost perfect, so I gave it another hard stir before I grabbed some vodka from the cabinet and poured a shot in the sauce before adding heavy cream, tomato paste, and freshly grated parmesan. Then I took some of the pasta water, which anyone with Italian ancestry knew was the secret ingredient, and I poured some of it into the sauce.
I heard the barstool move, and I quickly turned around, scared that she was leaving. Instead, I watched as she walked sexily over to where I was standing and looked at the sauce. Sexiest walk I’d ever seen.
This is what I meant by the high of falling in love. Except this high was nothing I’d ever experienced. It was like I was having an out-of-body experience, and I hadn’t even slept with her yet. I could only imagine how good that was going to be.
“This smells amazing,” she said breathily, and I got a little entranced watching her cute pink tongue peek out of her mouth and lick that fucking sinful bottom lip of hers.
I could think of a lot better uses for that tongue. And that mouth, for that matter. I groaned when she bent over to get closer to the sauce, showcasing the heart-shaped ass of my dreams.
I angled my body away and subtly adjusted myself, because this was fucking agony. Not able to help myself, I scooped up some of the sauce onto my wooden spoon and brought it to her mouth. Dahlia went to take the spoon, obviously uneasy about having me spoon feed her, but I decided to push her just a little bit more.
“Taste it,” I practically growled, and she blinked at me shyly before opening up her mouth and letting me slide the spoon in.
As soon as the sauce hit her tongue, her eyes were closing, and a little moan escaped her mouth.
That’s what I’d been going for. My sauce was fucking awesome.
She swallowed, and for just a second, I let myself have the image of her on her knees in front of me… swallowing something else.
“It’s incredible. Better than anything I’ve ever had, even in Italy,” she said, and I knew she meant it. I felt like preening like a fucking rooster at the praise. A million other recipes flashed through my mind, but of course that evolved into spreading her out on the island and eating her, and I had to cut off that line of thought.
I could tell it was going to be hard to keep focused around her.
“Go sit down and I’ll get us some bowls,” I said, unable to stop myself from patting her on that perfect ass.
She let out a little squeak that was beyond fucking adorable and practically sprinted back to her seat.
I hummed a little Taylor Swift as I drained the pasta and then mixed the noodles in with the sauce. Then I spooned huge heaps of it into bowls and sprinkled more grated parmesan and some crushed red pepper onto the top.
“Bon Appetit, my lady,” I crooned as I set down the steaming dish in front of her.
She swooned for a moment before carefully schooling her face. I wanted to tear off the calm mask she wore, because that’s what it was. I couldn’t wait to see what Dahlia was like underneath. And I meant I wanted underneath in all the different ways.
“I thought the Cosa Nostra was Italian,” she teased as she spooned a big bite of the rigatoni into her mouth and moaned again. I bit my lip as she continued to torture me. “I’m an equal opportunist when it comes to different cultures,” I responded, making sure to give her another wink just so I could see that blush again. It was the best dinner that I could ever remember. I poured her some Pinot Noir from Raphael’s collection, because he might have been a psycho, but his wine collection was next level. As soon as the alcohol kicked in, she relaxed and let down her defenses. She told me about her boarding school and a little bit about her life in London. I gobbled up every scrap she gave me like a dog begging under the table.
C.R. Jane. Ruining Dahlia ARC (Kindle Locations 996-1046).
All this happens before we even get to the engagement party, wedding and reception.
As for Lucian he doesn’t show up until the engagement party, but he’s all about possessing Dahlia. He’s got a lot on his mind with shipments disappearing and his father, Carlos, keeps showing up.
Dahlia has some secrets of her own, and those will come out in a couple different ways.
I couldn’t put this book down. Raphael and Gabriel have totally fallen in love with Dahlia, and Lucian just makes it easy for them to do that.
Many twists and turns, ups and downs, surprises galore and OMG the sizzle I’m surprised didn’t melt my kindle.
5 Contented Purrs for C.R.!
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I’m a wife, mother, and author! Writing has always been a passion for me, and publishing my first series is a dream come true. I drink too much caffeine, never sleep, and my imagination is always churning out ideas. Eva and her men have been in my head for awhile, and I’m so glad to finally take you with me on this journey!