Review: Mafia Bride (The DiLustro Arrangement #1) by CD Reiss

Title: Mafia Bride
Author:  CD Reiss
Publisher/Year:  Paige Press 3/14/21
Length:  250 Pages
Series: The DiLustro Arrangement #1

Overview

Some girls dream of marrying a prince, but I never imagined I’d be sold to a king.

Santino DiLustro.

The king. 
The monster. 
The keeper of secrets.

When he forced me to marry him, I cried for love I’d never know.
When he locked me away, I cried for the freedom I lost forever.
Every other tear I’ve shed is for my soul, because I’m falling for the devil himself.

My Thoughts

I haven’t read anything by CD Reiss in a minute and i’m so happy to have found this first installment in the series. There’s always been an element of Mafioso in our authors books, and this time is no exception.

We’re introduced to Violetta, our leading lady when she’s first just a child in her uncle’s home. We know that she’s living with her uncle and aunt because her parents were killed years ago back in Italy and now she’s in America being taken care of by family. She notes an older sister Rosetta but we learn that she passed as well. This first time that we meet our heroine of sorts, it’s when she sneaks a look at a man who’s come to visit her uncle, a man that exudes power and darkness and yet at the same time he’s got such beauty that his soul does something to hers.

Fast forward several years and we’re back with Violetta, when she’s in nursing school, trying to make a future for herself in the American world while trying to stay true to her roots in the Italian world. She’s following all the rules that her family dictates for her and at the same time, she envisions what her future can look like when she’s done with school. She has an amazing summer vacation to Malta to look forward to until that’s ripped out from under her feet.

Enter Santino – Re Santino – King Santino. A Mafia boss, leader…all around intimidating guy. And ironically the same man that Violetta was captured with all those years before. She walks into her uncles home one day to see Santino standing over her uncle and he’s sobbing uncontrollably. Fast forward a few days and Re Santino is back at the house for dinner – with all the family there as well, and we learn that there’s an ultimate reason.

Violetta has been ‘sold off’ to Santino to be his wife. She’s forced against her will, losing everything that she had been working so hard for her entire life to be married to this man who doesn’t know her, who doesn’t know much about her and frankly who she’s not even sure there’s mutual like with.

We watch their relationship go from one of complete opposition, so a slow burn of something better. something more. We see Santino’s patience as he recounts bits of his past and how he introduces Violetta to parts of her past and history. She learns jiust how much of her past is intertwined with Santino and how well he knew her family back in the old country. While he opens her eyes to things that she didn’t know before, she appreciates the honesty and it starts to transform her opinion of what her life is to become.

He treats her like she’s from the old world – dressing her in old clothes that aren’t really right for a 19 year old. He keeps her ‘locked’ up in the house because he knows the evil that’s out to get him. She tries to run from him, hoping for any way to escape which turns out to be a bad move when she’s kidnapped, injured and bares witness to a few murders. She’s sent to stay with one of Santino’s past women who has protection by Santino’s men, and there she slowly starts to learn what it is that she needs to do in order to gain Santino’s interest and keep it.

The story takes a sweet turn from here – all that fear and tension and anxiety transforms. When Violetta makes it clear what she needs, he gives her a vacation to outdo anything that she’s experienced. The go to Italy and she gets toured around the country to all the places that she holds dear. She meets the woman who raised him, and she starts to fall into her role as a hostess and wife. She warms up to him enough to give him a part of herself that no one else has ever had, and then the other shoe drops, literally the next day. His aunt and his ex-best friend’s sister show up and the sister decides to spill more information than Santino would like about Violetta’s sister’s death, and the capacity in which Santino was aware and involved.

So we’re left on the edge of our seat – truly feeling back for her because she’s given her soul to this man, and now trust has been broken, there’s so much misinformation out there that I don’t even know that the truth will save them. Add to that the notion that someone is also out to kill the king – Santino knows that he;s being hunted, yet he’s not sure by whom. I”ve got my suspicions that it’s his ex-best friend Dami, but i’m sure we’ll find out how that plays out in the next book. So now I have to wait 2 months until it’s out – but i’m excited to see where this story goes. Enjoy!