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An epic mafia romance trilogy that sets a new bar for just how dark a hero can get, from NY Times Bestselling author CD Reiss.

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.

295 pages, Kindle Edition

First published March 14, 2021

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About the author

C.D. Reiss

117 books9,305 followers
CD Reiss is a New York Times bestselling author. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up she's at the well hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

She's frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn't ever gotten her out of chopping a single cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.


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Displaying 1 - 30 of 594 reviews
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,054 reviews12.2k followers
March 17, 2021
I’m a prisoner of a man too beautiful for human eyes and more evil than I can comprehend.

This was the book that I never even realized I was waiting for CD Reiss to write. My obsession with all things CD began with her Songs of Submission series waaaay back. And while I've loved all of her books since, they haven't quite given me the tingles of SoS variety. Until this one. THIS ONE. GAH. This is how you write a mafia romance. You know those traditional mafia romances with the virgin heroine that's essentially sold to her husband? The books that I don't typically care for because well...virgin heroine. I am happily eating my words when it comes to this story. Because this story? SO STINKING GOOD.
He is a predator. I am his prey. I am his property, and he is my master.

This story was utterly delicious. Violetta Moretti is a 19 year college student that suddenly finds her life turned completely upside down. Having lost her family at a young age, she's lived the last few with her aunt and uncle in America. But suddenly finds herself thrust into her Italian roots and the bride of the mafia king, Santino DiLustro, whose mere name sends fear shivering down men's spines.

A debt that's to be paid.

A marriage that she never wanted.

A husband that's determined to own her and her submission.

And a deliciously twisted story full of mystery and secrets.

The story was a bit of a slow start, and I found myself skimming through a few details. But then when it took off, it really took off. I was hooked. Completely captivated. Santino is the ultimate alpha hero. He's magnetic. Domineering. Uber protective. And has sexual chemistry basically oozing from his every pore. GOD but I loved this man.

Violette for being a young and somewhat sheltered heroine was FIERCE. I loved this woman and her spine. She was spitting fire the entire time and never backed down. You seriously gotta love a female like that.

As for the rest? It was one of the most delicious slow burns I've ever read. And when that cliffhanger hits you? MOTHER OF ALL SANITY! I'll go crazy waiting until the next book.

ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review

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June 23, 2021
Audio - 4 stars overall Emma Wilder could have narrated this alone. Her male voice with the Italian accent is way more on point than Antonio Amato's performance.

Emma Wilder - 5 Stars
Antonio Amato - 3 Stars

Story - 2 Stars

It started of very damn good. Then a whole lot of this...

....HAPPENS. Seriously, a whole lot of pointless, long-winded filler.

Things pick up towards the end and ....WHAM! Cliff-the-fuck-hanger.

Profile Image for Jean.
459 reviews38 followers
October 21, 2021

After seven long years, the wait is over. CD Reiss is plunging us back into her Camorra, and it is such gloriously dark and tantalizing seduction. Seduction at the hands of a Mafia King, shrouded in death and power. A prince of darkness - even to a young girl who had grown up in The Life fueled by the promise that she would escape it and live free. But debts must be honored and take precedence over a happily ever after promised to a girl who lost her family.

But, back to the prince of darkness for a minute. You know that moment when a wicked storm whips up and the wind is howling, the lightning flashes and the rain starts pelting down, and you can't bring yourself to take shelter because it's so much but you want to feel it ALL. That's Santino DiLustro.

THIS MAN IS ALL THE THINGS YOU SHOULDN'T WANT. Bathed in blood and secrets and seething with power and dominance.

But promises are inevitably broken, especially those made to a sheltered young woman in a world ruled by men steeped in deadly traditions and delicate power balances that can explode into war with the flash of a gun in the wrong place. And that is where Violetta finds herself - promised in marriage to a man who has dominated her dreams since she glimpsed him in her family home as a child. And she is NOT having it.

Reiss is the queen of the liminal space between old and new world. Her characters walk the tightrope between modernity and tradition and it makes them so rich and authentic. Passion is soaked in every page. The way "the thing" slowly unfurls is a siren's song. Reiss' way with words spins a web of temptation, lust and attraction, captivating the reader and dragging them into her trap. The surprise marriage is going to be the least of Violetta's problems.

Violetta and Santi's coupling is a battle -gritty, intense, a compulsion neither of them can leave alone. It's an arranged marriage, enemies to lover, forced proximity power keg. It's a story YOU. CAN'T PUT. DOWN. even as it scorches your soul and explodes into a perilous, erotic clash of wills again the backdrop of a brewing mafia war.

Move over Naz. There's a new monster in town.

Profile Image for Bookish Lauren.
Author 1 book177 followers
March 7, 2021
I absolutely devoured this book. Mafia Bride is not Reiss’s first foray writing Italian mafia (See Corruption Series), but this one was a little different. It was more than mafia. It was culture. The old country. The language. The traditions. All of these things create a world that is not about stereotypes but about the history behind it all.

Mafia Bride is mostly about Violetta Moretti being "sold" into marriage with boss Santino DiLustro. It follows the aftermath of her sudden wedding and her reaction to finding out, little by little, why. And because she is a virgin, the sexy times are almost nonexistent. There are moments of spark between them, flashes of chemistry, but it's a very, very slow burn of a story. I kind of wish things would've progressed faster in that department.

What I thought was really interesting was how much culture and language was weaved into the story. You literally start learning Italian with Violetta. She can understand it but doesn't speak much. You also see how important family is. Real family and mafia family both.

I really liked Violetta's character. She was stubborn (with good reason) and strong-willed. Smart and ambitious.

Santino, well, he was written to be hated, feared, and also loved. He is such a multifaceted and complicated man.

Aaaaaaannnnndd.... major cliffy!
Profile Image for Kitten.
142 reviews24 followers
March 16, 2021
*ARC provided for honest review*

You always know when you're reading a C.D. Reiss book. The language and the style of writing she uses reminds me of poems. It always makes me shy away from writing a review on her books because, how can I? Her words flow so naturally and beautifully, simple yet complex, like artful designs and then there comes mine. Messy and disjointed, judging a book like I have a right but alas, I want to talk about my feelings for this book.

Mafia Bride holds so many delicious tropes; age-gap, arranged marriage, enemies to lovers etc., it was impossible not to get a hold of this book. I needed it. Reiss proved that she was the Queen of writing mafia erotica artfully when she released her Corruption series (my favourite Mafia series to date) so when I heard that Santino was at a notch higher than Antonio, I was salivating.

I'll just get right to the point and tell you that Antonio is still very much at my #1 spot. There was nothing to remove him from his seat.

While I enjoyed the plot and style of writing, the delivery seemed to fall flat. Santino was described as a king and while I understood that, I never truly believed it. He didn't excite me nor were his invasive ways of talking keeping me on the edge of my seat, rather it irritated me. I'm not sure the characters even had one conversation between them that was open and not doused in secrecy. It felt like I was moving nowhere. Very much like Violetta, and while I would be somewhat complacent with that for more than half a book, reaching the end of a book and feeling like I only moved one small step from where I started makes me feel far from it. I'm not sure how she fell so deep for a man who barely said anything of use regarding her situation.

Speaking of the heroine, Violetta, she was so child-like. Very much the complete opposite of Santino that it was hard to see them as a good match. Her character and personality was a constant reminder of their age gap.

As for the darkness aspect, I wouldn't exactly call this book dark, nor am I calling it a fluff of light. No. It had violence and gore but not in the way I would have expected considering it was coined as Reiss's 'darkest' book yet.

It's not all doom and gloom though, the story did entice me enough to continue reading every time I paused. While it wasn't a book I devoured in one or two sittings, I did feel like going back to the book to continue their journey to see if there would be more answers to the questions we all had.

Overall, a decent start to the series. Would I continue to read onto book two? Yes. I believe this was just a starter and once shit hits the fan, truths will be spilled and I may see Santino as the king he's described to be.
Profile Image for Jessie.
207 reviews18 followers
March 16, 2021
Wow, this was no where near what I expected it to be but it is turning into everything I ever needed in a mafia romance. I immensely enjoyed the amount of culture in this book, it’s not just about crime and flashy action, it’s about the life in it’s entirety. This is why I love CD Reiss. She creates worlds and characters you didn’t even know you needed but once you get a taste of them you’re hopelessly addicted. I need to know what happens like it’s my own story, my own feelings playing in real time with Santino and Violetta. My own heart breaking with every secret revealed.

Santino is a delectable mixture of old and new, but always traditional. His ability to understand both worlds allows him to connect and break down Violetta’s walls. Always intense, brutal, hardly any mercy but never without an underlying compassion for his new wife when necessary. He’s not just a husband to her, he becomes a teacher. I melted for the pet names he bestowed her, nothing used before would do for these two.

Violetta is a straight up spitfire! She goes through so much, so rapidly. Starting as a young woman and thrust into a life she was only partly prepared for. She may know how she’s supposed to act but that doesn’t mean she’s going to do it. Even at her lowest she never looses her ferocity. At times her behavior can be petulant but if you’ve unknowingly lived your life in a web of deceit and lies wouldn’t you be too?

When bits of truth start aligning together, when things start becoming as clear to you as they are to Violetta, get ready for the drop. I don’t think I’ve ever said the f bomb out loud while reading as many times as I did in this last chapter. Then I paced my kitchen. This isn’t just a cliffhanger, this is a “thrown to the rocky shore below and hope you’re not so battered you won’t survive”. But I did, and I need more.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,379 reviews96 followers
May 19, 2021
There’s Italian mafia stories and then there’s CD Reiss Italian mafia stories. It’s like the difference between crappy mass produced tomatoes that are full of water and tasteless and the big juicy, full of flavour Mediterranean tomatoes you buy on holiday (well I buy them on my holidays, I miss holidays).

Violetta has had tragedy in her life. She lost her parents when she was just 5 years old, then lost her darling older sister Rosetta. Her aunt and uncle have taken care of her ever since but along comes Santino DiLustro with his dark eyes and black heart and her plans to live the American dream are replaced by fear, longing, and unanswered questions.

Santino is fearsome, powerful, dominant and oh so very confusing. He doesn’t mess about and I definitely want to be on his good side. Holy hell, he’s unapologetically fierce.

“He exudes power from across entire rooms, entire houses. A mere shift of his gaze has rendered me marble.”

“Death was death when our fathers killed for less. It’s death today and tomorrow, and if your family dies to pay this debt, the sleep will be just as deep.”

I thought I got the measure of what is going on, but now I’m not so sure. I’m all kinds of intrigued and can’t wait for more. In the meantime I’m craving a blood orange, a glass of Prosecco and an Italian holiday.

“As long as your heart beats, I will walk the earth until I find you.”

Update - I just did a second read. It was worth another read. Think about what you think you know and read it again. Only C D Reiss knows the secrets, but you can guess.
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,987 reviews687 followers
July 21, 2022
Welcome to the mafia world in CD Reiss. This author blown me away with Mafia Bride. What I can say about Miss Reiss writing is: intense. The suspense, the romance, she is building it into climax. Then cliff hanget at the end.

Violetta is a lot to chew. Her inner dialog about Santino is very dramatic and annoying. I understand Miss Reiss needs Violetta to be annoying so I can see her rise toward a confodent woman.

Overall, a good book.

4 stars
May 18, 2021
I want to start out this review by saying that I am finicky with mafia romances, and that I think anyone who likes the genre in general should go ahead and give this book a try. I don't think my opinion represents the majority of mafia romance readers in any way.

So, I'm still relatively new to the mafia romance genre (I've only read a handful) and I'm still figuring out my tastes. I decided to go ahead and give this book a go based on three factors:

1) The cover. I like it. It looks classy.

2) The reviews. This book has a lot of good reviews, several ones mentioning the culture being authentic was persuasive to me. Those reviews were correct, and this aspect makes this book stand out from others in the genre imo.

3) The author's reputation & bio. CD Reiss has been around for awhile. I didn't start reading erotic romance until 2018, so there are a lot of authors I haven't read yet. I've seen many readers praise CD Reiss since I joined Goodreads. Then I recently took a look at her bio and saw she got her master's degree in screenwriting at USC. For me, dialogue is important in a story and can make or break a book. I figured an author with a master's degree in screenwriting would be good at dialogue. I was right. The dialogue in this book was excellent.

Ultimately, this is a very simple story written very well. What's lacking for me is plot and sex. The plot so far is something objective, a worthy criticism for book 1. The sex? Me not feeling it is completely subjective, and due to my own tastes.


1) Plot

The mafia forced-arranged marriage trope is nothing new. What makes this book unique is the time, research, and care given to Italian culture. It adds a level of authenticity, which makes this book believable. Relatively quickly in the story, thanks to Santino's POV, the reader quickly realizes there is much backstory to how this arranged marriage came to be, and that there is history between Santino & Violetta's family. It adds some intrigue to the story. All good. Maybe a little too much was hinted too quickly, but that's a minor criticism.

The author adds in some hints that there is a significant threat from a rival family. Considering this book is 80K words long, I thought the twist at the end would revolve around the plot developing around this complication.

I was wrong.

The twist is: [This is a *significant spoiler, please don't read if you plan on reading this book*]

I'm not entirely opposed to ow drama, but this type of ow drama as the ending plot twist? Phew. I expected more meat to the plot than what was delivered in this 80K installment.

2) The sex

The descriptions of Santino throughout this book had me swooning. I was on edge hoping for smokin' hot sex scenes between these two. Not to mention Santino's dialogue. It was done so well!

I personally dislike the 'Alpha speak' dialogue authors like LJ Shen and some other contemporary romance authors give the male main characters. The dialogue in this story? ooh. It was good, especially from Santino. He laid down the law, at times would be crude in ways guys are...then at other times charming, other times sensitive. The complexity in his character came through in his dialogue. A+ for the author on that front.

All this ended up giving me blue balls.

I wanted some hot sex. This wasn't advertised as BDSM, and I haven't read any of the author's earlier works...so to not get any rough sex and hints of BDSM (in the commercial, watered-down way) was a let-down. It's like having great foreplay, getting major blue balls, and when the sex finally comes? whomp whomp. Nothing much.

This is purely subjective on my part and may not even register to other readers.

In my status updates I mentioned not being turned on by the first spanking scene, and I wasn't. Spanking is not my kink, but if an author is crafty they might write it well enough for me to be into it. While Santino spanking Violetta for misbehaving fits his character, god, I hope their sex in the next book moves beyond spanking. I just want some hot sex. Okay? Not spanking kink. The book cover is so classy, the writing style done so well, I wanted more than spanking. I didn't pick this up expecting a spanking book.

I looked at this author's backlog and how some of my friends have shelved her books...this author has been writing for awhile, like, erotic romance after the 50 shades fever from 2012-2014 time frame. There was a trend where commercial authors who may not necessarily be in the BDSM lifestyle themselves would add a bit of light BDSM flavor to their erotic romances because of this trend from 50 shades. This author is of that era.

When I'm in the mood to read BDSM romances, I go full-on. Annabel Joseph. I want it 100%, I don't particularly grativitate to the commercial erotic romance authors of the 50 shades era who add in a bit of BDSM flavor to give their erotic scenes some edge. No. What I was hoping from this book was just some hot, rough, dominating sex, without any hints to BDSM kink.

I'm being very picky right now, I know. And to be fair, Santino is so old school, I do see him spanking his wife. I even found the second spanking scene hot. Book 2 better have some hot rough sex or I'm not going to be happy.

I hope the plot becomes more complex as well. It's interesting, the editing in this book seemed at times flawless, yet I would take London Miller's books with less than perfect editing and even some plot holes over this because LM's plot was just...so much more. If a book captures my imagination I can be forgiving and even fill in gaps in the plot myself and be happy. A perfectly edited book with little plot is less-satisfying to me.

I will be reading book 2, this book was so well-written I am interested in seeing this series through.
Profile Image for Christine B.
519 reviews87 followers
December 19, 2021
CD Reiss has a way to grab your attention and leave you on the edge of your seat...Violetta Moretti is a 19 year old Italian college student. Trying to live in America and keep her Italian roots. Violetta lost her family at an early age and now lives with her Zio and Zia which is her uncle and aunt. The first time Violetta see Santino, she was 12, and he is a man. When the darkness in his eyes sees the darkness in mine time seems to freeze forever in that hallway. Though I expect him to carry all the subtle and seductive dangers of men, his menace is controlled, with the direction and force of gravity.

With the summer ahead of me my vacation is paid for by my Zoe & Zia I am ready to travel. That is until the mafia king, Santino DiLustro, shows up, his name sends fear shivering down men's spines. I am now forced into my Italian roots because of a debt that must be paid, which who knew my family owed. A marriage that Violetta never wanted and now her future. A new husband that's determined to own her and her submission. Now taken from the only family I have left and force into a marriage I never want and danger that is now apart of my everyday life for me, my Zoe & Zia. I must uphold my part to keep everyone safe. Apparently the only man that can keep me & my family safe is the same man I'm trying to get away from.

CD Reiss leaves you always wanting and needing more with and deliciously twisted story full of mystery and secrets.
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,254 followers
June 24, 2021
4.5 Sacrifice Or Queen Stars
* * * * 1/2 Spoiler Free
There are a few things I know for sure, and one of them is when C.D. Reiss writes a Mafia Book, I will gobble it up immediately. Forget it is the first of a trilogy and I am guaranteed at least two cliffhangers, I won't care. The reasons I put myself through such torture willingly...Because C.D. Reiss's ability to transport me to the worlds she creates is everything.

In Mafia Bride, we are introduced to a world that is run and lives by the rules from long ago.
This small American town may function like any other on the surface but when it is looked at through the real lens, it is clearly still part of the traditions from the past, from the strict code of Naples.

Our main perspectives are from Violetta and Santino.

Violetta and her older sister Rosetta came to America to live with their Aunt and Uncle after the death of their parents in Napoli. Violetta was only five but still to this day has distinct memories of her mother, father, and living back in the old country. Her sister was beautiful compared to how Violetta sees herself as more common. She adored her and when Rosetta had gone back to their home country to visit when she was seventeen, she came down with an illness and was not able to be taken care of properly.

This event impacted Violetta in so many ways; the death and loss, the heartbreak...it made her dedicated to becoming a nurse to help others. There was another event that would impact her equally but in a more subliminal way...

It was the fleeting moment of connection with Santino when she was twelve years old. There he stood in the doorway of her uncle's home...she and her sister pushed to be hidden from sight by her Aunt. At the moment Violetta peered around to gaze at this mysterious figure blocking the sun, Santino's eyes locked with hers. Something transpired, something powerful, something Violetta did not understand but knew happened.

Now Violetta is nineteen and getting ready to enjoy her summer in Greece. She is in college, has a girlfriend with who she shares all her classes, and talks about future plans. Violetta does not live, though, the usual college life. Her life is divided into two plains; one this normal modern way of thinking and the other, the old world way of living. Neither cross nor mix.

Violetta's home life with her Uncle and Aunt has been the perfect scene of how the old world functioned. The women cooked, the men handled the cruel business. The world was ruled by Re Santino, feared and powerful. When Violetta becomes part of a promise, collateral, repayment for a debt, her life as she knows it is over.

Santino is the force of her family's loyalty. He rules in this town and no one crosses. He came over from Naples when he was twenty-six and now is thirty-three. After a walk and chat with Violetta, her aunts following behind to protect her reputation, Santino declares it is done, the debt is paid and she is his.

Santino is first seen as the dominant mafia character, yet there are moments when we know there is so much more, and nothing is as it seems. Violetta goes through a huge arc yet at the same time, it is very important to remember, she is only nineteen years old.

Mafia Bride gives us all the backstory of these characters, the underlining smolders, the confusion, the rage, and the heat needed to pull us into this world. If you have ever read C.D. Reiss, you know there will be layers, misinformation, and incredible mind games all concentrated down to intense plot points and sexual electricity.

The book wets your interest, leads you through the first part of this maze, giving you a few nuggets to think about, and then leaves you to want the next book, Mafia King, like you want your next breath.

Hang in there...Knowing how this author works her magic, it will be worth the wait.
Mafia Bride (The DiLustro Arrangement, #1) by C.D. Reiss Mafia Bride (The DiLustro Arrangement Book 1)
Mafia King (DiLustro Arrangement #2) by C.D. Reiss Mafia King (DiLustro Arrangement, #2)
Mafia Queen (The DiLustro Arrangement Book 3) by CD Reiss Mafia Queen (DiLustro Arrangement, #3)

~~~~~ Before Reading ~~~~~
Never Underestimate The Mind Of C.D. Reiss...
As An OG Who Read Her From The Start...
I Know The Beauty Of Her Intensity...
The Beauty Of How Her Mind Works...

Pair This Beauty With Her Favorite Themes...
And I Am All In...
Bring It On Ms. Reiss...

I Will Even Deal With The Classic Reiss Cliffy...
The Type That Leaving You Begging...
For The Next Entry To Come...

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Profile Image for Sedef.
373 reviews71 followers
March 19, 2021
Edge serisinden belalım C.D. Reiss ile bu sefer barıştık bence :)):):)):)

Tehditlerle aranje edilmiş bir evlilik hikayesi ile başladık. Bir süre stabil ve tahmin edilebilir gitse de son düzlükte kitap çok iyi açıldı. Ortalama bir yemeğin üzerine yenilmiş muazzam bir tatlı gibiydi. Gidip bi soda açtırmaz ama oldukça tatmin ediciydi.

Kızımız Violetta Moretti (Moretti soyadını daha ne kadar okuyacağız, tek gerçek Moretti Corrado'dur) 19-20 yaşlarında hemşirelik öğrencisi. Anne-babasını bir kazada, kız kardeşini ise hastalıktan kaybetmiş akrabalarıyla yaşıyor (kitapta sürekli Zia -aunt- ve Zio -uncle- dediği için hala mıdır, teyze midir, amca mıdır emin değilim). Sonra bir gün çat diye eve yemeğe gelen bir adam tarafından evlenmek üzere alıkonuluyor.

Adamımız Santino DiLustro a.k.a. Re Santino yanılmıyorsam 33-35 yaşları civarında ve crime boss. Akrabaları üzerinden tehdit ederek paketlediği kızla evlendi falan ama ne yalanlar ne sırlar saklamış o hayatında.


Santino için de bir kaç kelam edeyim.

Neyse yine gördüğüm olumsuzlukları söyleyip bok gibi bir kitap olduğunu düşündürdüm. Yok valla öyle değil, genel hikaye epey çiçek gibiydi. Devam kitapları da göz önünde bulundurursam iyi bir başlangıç oldu. Hatta küçük bir an için yüzümü buruşturmama bile neden oldu ki bu janra için pozitif bir göstergedir bu durum. Türün alıcısı belli, seveni belli. İtalyan havası almayı seven dark severler, GOOOO!!!
Profile Image for Lolina.
798 reviews53 followers
October 19, 2021
This book just got progressively more problematic and I'm sort of here for it? Also, please look the other way if you see me constantly changing my rating of this book.

I still don't completely know how I feel about the book, but I did definitely enjoy certain aspects of it. There were a lot of chapters that sort of felt like fillers, and were quite bland and boring to be honest- so that definitely did end up changing my overall opinions, but the ending was pretty cool I guess?

I also (before I jump into anything) wanted to mention the fact that this book felt really realistic, in relation to the Italian parts of the story. Now I'm not Italian so I could be completely wrong, but in comparison to some of the other Mafia books that I've read, this one really stood out and felt quite professional and didn't feel overbearing, which I appreciated.

I don't really know how to describe it, but this book simultaneously just felt so short, yet so long at the same time. I just feel like the pacing of the overall romance in the story was off, in the sense that it pretty went from 1-100 really quickly (mainly in relation to the heroine). The heroine went from absolutely hating him, to have fallen head over heels, after a small vacation 🤨. Good for her I guess?

I actually really liked the heroine at the beginning of the story. Although as time went on she just started to get really dramatic (more so than expected), which eventually got quite annoying. This girl's mood swings honestly gave me whiplash.

I don't know how to explain it other than the fact that the heroine just gave off MAJOR 'pick me' energy. And I'm saying this in the nicest way possible, but I just got some real Wattpad vibes from her. I just felt like her character was at times, insanely immature and naive- which quite frankly got really annoying. She was a very contradicting character in the sense that her opinions and thought process changed so dramatically, in such a little amount of time- which made it quite confusing to make an opinion of her. I mean I do have to acknowledge the fact that she was quite young, so some of her reactions were justified in the situation, but still, it did get quite annoying after a certain amount of time. It was mainly the constant whining that got on my nerves. It was honestly really funny seeing her reaction to people calling her childish, as she always acted so appalled by the statement, when in fact she was acting that way.

I mean don't get me wrong, I liked her, but man did she get on my nerves. I mean the real question here is this: Am I just overanalyzing every small detail and being dramatic because I'm bored?

Ahem, moving on 😶.

In relation to the hero, I thought he was cool? He had some nice scenes, and conversations- and I do have to say that I loved his dedication to the heroine. I mean he was pretty generic in terms of the whole mafia situation , but he was still some fun (and let's not forget about the spice). He might have acted all tough, but he was a real protective (although dramatic) softie (ugh, just loved his poetic side). Also wanted to say that I really enjoyed his POVs, although I will admit that I didn't really know what was going on half the time.

I thought that although towards the end, their relationship felt rushed, it was still pretty nice overall. There wasn't a lot going for them in the chemistry department if I do say so myself - as the heroine was understandably reluctant, which unfortunately for me, did end up causing this lack of connection and appeal for them as a couple. I would've loved to have seen more of them enjoying each other's company, and developing their relationship, as opposed to having it all sort of crammed in the end.

I mean here's the thing, I don't want to be too harsh, but if I were to be completely honest, this book just lacked the suspense and drama that I was expecting it to have- and looking back on the overall story, it was just pretty plain. The ending of the book was really lackluster and just felt overly dramatic in relation to the heroine's reaction. I, for the life of me, cannot recall the plot of this book, it just felt really long, and nothing really ended up happening (aside from the heroine's constant whining).

So here's the main question: Is it worth reading?

And to that, I would answer: yeah why not? I think that if you're a fan of mafia romances, you should definitely give it a shot (more so for the hero and setting, than the overall story) . I mean personally, this wasn't anything amazing, as I mentioned earlier, there were parts of the book that were quite boring and annoying (mainly due to the heroine's repetitive thought process) . However, there were quite a few redeeming qualities to the book that overall led to an ok read.

As I said before, I still don't know I feel about the book, as it definitely had its ups and its downs, but at the moment, I'm at an alright point with it. I don't want to be dramatic or anything, but I mainly liked it for Santino.

So, do I plan on reading the next book in the series? To be completely honest, probably not- I read a couple of reviews, and apparently, the heroine's immaturity just gets a lot worse, and I don't think I'm ready to put myself through all that in the near future. If I ever do read it, it'll be for Santino, bye ✌.
Profile Image for Deanna❤Pink Lady❤️.
819 reviews842 followers
March 16, 2021
5 “Fortezza” Stars

The Mafia is embedded in deep tradition. Mostly old tradition that has survived generation after generation. Even in the modern world, the old world survives and supersedes new thoughts and ways. Re Santino is a 33 year old modern man whose values are strictly old school. He lives and breaths by the traditions of the Mafia whether he is in Napoli (Italy) or Secundo Vasta (America). He’s powerful, controlling, dangerous, demanding, sexy, and a King.

Violetta Moretti is 19 and just like any college girl who is studying and thinking of her summer vacation plans. But life has other thoughts for her and they are definitely not what she expects. Re Santino has come to collect a debt and for Violetta it happens to be her, to marry Santino DiLustro. A man that she doesn’t know or love. A man who is robbing her freedom and youth. Why Her, Why Now, Why Marriage, What is the Debt are all questions that Violetta wants answers too but Santino won’t give just yet.

This story is formidable. It is an arranged marriage that is filled with secrets of the past that can not go untold. It has a captivating push and pull filled with an intense love and hate between Violetta and Santino. The lust and desire between them is a slow burn throughout the story until it combusts and sets the marriage on what appears to be a wonderful journey until the secrets of the past come front and center and turns her would upside down. Will they shatter her so she no longer trusts and love or will she understand how the consequences of the past have always had her best interest at heart?

This book is mostly told in Violetta’s POV but there are a few chapters from Santino’s POV which definitely helps the reader better gage the real Santino. It didn’t take me long to fall hard for him. It did take a little time for me to warm up to Violetta but when I remembered her age, she was exactly as she should be.

I also love the expressiveness of the writing of this author. Her visuality of the old world and the new world is alive and very transparent. I love Mafia stories and this first book in the DiLustro Agreement trilogy is off to a great start. There is a compelling cliffhanger and all I can say is.....

*advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Khanique McDaniel.
1,128 reviews40 followers
April 3, 2021
I can say with absolute certainty, that the issue with CD Reiss books is CD Reiss. I have tried three books now and it is clear that maybe I am just not a fan of her writing style, which seems to be throw some things and see what sticks. Her characters have no chemistry.

You just know when a story doesn't know itself. No matter the characters and how you throw the words together, if the identity of the novel is unclear, you will know it as a reader.

When I wasn't bored, I was lost. I understand not wanting to give in to your kidnapper but then at the beginning of this book, Violetta was pretty clear on Napoli customs and what was expected of her. So her conveniently identifying as an American, threw me from beginning to end. Because once you got over the old world practice, he was a good dude.

Santino is perfect as a man and a mobster. I don't think he's evil, so much as he doesn't have many morals. He seems built for this life and I appreciated getting to know all his sides. Really wish we could have gotten more of his POV.

Unfortunately, we were stuck with Violetta, who made NO sense. From the first pages, she seemed like a frigid bitch and that didn't change. As a matter of fact, I wondered what Santino saw in her.

I don't know when their relationship dynamic changed because up until the point it did, I still believed she hated the guy and just wanted to run away. Magic of a good trip, I guess.

As for everyone around him, I find the mystery to be a bit unimaginative and for someone who is feared, that cliffhanger made us realise that he's not as feared as we thought and his aunt is an idiot.

I want to know what happens next but I truly don't want to sit through Violetta's inner monologues. She is quick to anger and slow to everything else. Sometimes I appreciated or became enamoured with her icy deliveries and then other times I wish she could have a thought besides her missed summer in Greece or her family upholding what she obviously KNOWS to be the custom of where they are from. Evident by her first walk with Santino.

I couldn't get behind the convenient amnesia of her customs and without Santino's POV and that cliffhanger, this was a very boring book for me. Even at the 75% mark I thought about listing as a DNF.
Profile Image for SimplyƝì₭.
580 reviews268 followers
March 22, 2021

Ugh the cliffy!! I was not prepared.

Slow burn from CD was painful. I can't say I enjoyed entirely, but I realize I needed it. I loved how she protected Violetta. Her innocence is never forgotten. I am pissed as hell I need to wait till May to get the pieces I am missing. I am committed to this painful journey of lust, want and need.

Overall I am excited about the series. I want and need to learn more. I am heartbroken for Violetta.
Profile Image for Katie.
678 reviews19 followers
April 2, 2021
4.25+ stars

OMG-I have to wait for the next book after that bomb drop?!?!
26 reviews
March 25, 2021
The book goes on and on and on. No sex until the end. The whole book is twists and turns but it just drags and In the end in a cliffhanger.
27 reviews
March 21, 2021
it started oh-so-good. At last, a "serious" mafia story.; not a silly teenager, a real H, just mysterious enough, a man of average and ability, tough but with a good heart ... an Italian family as we imagine them, with "la familia" omnipresent ... a good start.
Even the departure scene with the future groom, everything is engaging.
Then nothing.
This book is a long complaint, wining that never ends with dreams of escape, unanswered questions, useless flashbacks where we learn nothing or very little ... but above all, nothing happen. nothing. Full of speculation from the heroine who imagines this or that. A useless interlude on the one we imagine the former mistress of the hero ... and it drags, it drags ...
No suspense, no action, no emotional engagement on the part of the reader (unless you sympathize with the heroine who laments endlessly)
I'm almost done, maybe 5/6 of this book but I haven't finished, I don't see the point, especially since it smacks of cliff hanger in the face since we know it's a trilogy.
Profile Image for Lisa.
2,188 reviews36 followers
March 8, 2021
It can be hard to review a book when you're stuck on the ending. Obviously it's book one and a cliffhanger so I'm all distraught and sad right now! And left with a bunch of questions. And all of that skews my perception of the characters. But anyways.

Violetta was handed over to Santino at age 19, with no warning. She had only even really seen him once years before, and now she was planning a summer trip. She had no idea! And for all he knows and won't tell her, he's pretty patient. But really when push comes to shove, Violetta is stronger than I'm sure she ever knew. And the romance side is a slow burn in book one, mainly hot and heavy near the end. But I know now that the ball is rolling the other books will burn hot.

This has action and some suspense, surprises, and mystery. Its the first mafia book I've read in quite awhile, and I love the vibe of the whole story. I'm invested.
Profile Image for Nur.
186 reviews11 followers
September 13, 2022

It’s pretty thin book but kinda slow for me. The story was good with the plot at the end. This is my first time reading by this author. So far so good!
Profile Image for LaToya.
119 reviews1 follower
April 7, 2021
This was my first time reading Ms. Reiss and I have to say I’m not impressed. With all the great reviews I was really hoping for some awesome material that I could enjoy, sync my teeth into and run with, and I just have to say this one was not for me.

No matter how much the hero/heroine talked the storyline wasn’t getting anywhere only to end on a cliffhanger that frankly doesn’t surprise me because the heroine spent the whole book talking about how beautiful her sister was with her hazel eyes and beauty long lashes. I just couldn’t relate. I have two beautiful sisters but if a man chose me I would say I’m beautiful in my own right. Usually men pick us for different reasons, because of our differences....She was just starting to sound like a f*cked up broken record by the end of the book.......

The “hero” or “anti-hero” whatever you want to call him, he was great, well developed until the end of the book. I can’t say I blame him for lying about any relationship with her sister because she has no self esteem. However he said that the aunt was wrong with her theories.....

I may listen to another book in the series just out of curiosity, I hate leaving a series open, so I didn’t dislike enough not to finish. Plus, the sex wasn’t steamy enough for me. I like more detail. If you’re going to do it then do it. Hell she described everything else to the tune of 34 chapters...One short sex scene and not much detail....meh......
Profile Image for Lindsay.
2,281 reviews
March 16, 2021
Holy freaking sh*t. This book......I am not sure I can capture in words how much I loved it. I NEED book two yesterday though. The ways of this world, their world, the missing parts and the fact that she knows something is amiss. I cannot wait to read the next book!
Profile Image for Jena .
2,247 reviews2 followers
Shelved as 'dnf-try-again-later'
July 21, 2022
DNF big snooze fest.
only read the sample on Amazon.

- pet peeve : H was married to heroines sister.🤢🤮

-boring writing. Author rambles on and on, it’s all basically filler…

- pet peeve :author never bothered to describe what the h looked like.
But you have to hear about how hot the H is..he’s stunning, beautiful, hot, he’s the shit.🙄

No chemistry.
630 reviews66 followers
March 15, 2021
Mafia Bride by C.D. Reiss was one of my most anticipated books of the year. Once I heard Ms. Reiss talk about her darkest book yet, I knew I had to get my hands on this beauty. And I have to say that this book wasn't quite what I expected and it took me a little while to switch gears. Once I did, I really enjoyed it. C.D. Reiss is definitely a very talented writer and capable of capturing the reader with her beautiful words and transporting them into the world she so masterfully creates. Mafia Bride gives us a peek into the intriguing world of Italian mafia operating in the United States. It's a heady mix of the old world and the new one, and it's clear that the author did a lot of research to ensure that the traditions, the language, and the culture appear authentic. Our heroine, Violetta, is very much the product of this world, balancing on the razor's edge of the new life, while being dragged kicking and screaming into the old one. In the blink of an eye, Violetta's life is changed and she goes from being a driven American nursing student to an unwilling wife of the mafia Capo. The Capo, Re Santino, is as much a mystery to Violetta as he is to us. There are so many secrets, twists and betrayals. This story is an extreme slow burn both when it comes to plot and the romance. It follows the sleepy relaxed pace of Napoli rather than the frantic pace of the new world. I really enjoyed the build of the relationship. We are given a lot of time in Violetta's head, but I really treasured the rare glimpses into Santino's mind. I will say that where the initial disconnect with the story came for me was the expectation of darkness. I know that it's probably going to seem very dark to some due to the subject matter, it's more of a grey romance to me. Santino, for all his violence and dominance, hardly appears to be the villain in Violetta's story. However, that cliffhanger certainly made things interesting and my opinion might change in book two. I can't wait to see where Ms. Reiss takes this story next!
Profile Image for Aղցela W..
3,978 reviews269 followers
April 10, 2021
This was book 1 in "The DiLustro Arrangement" series. This was a really good read that I liked Violetta is a happy 18 year old college student when she is forced to marry a Mafia Don she thinks that he uncle sold her when really she is a mafia Princess because her father was his boss. This was a slow burn of a read. Violetta was determined to get away and when she gets her chance it doesn't go as planned in fact it gets bad. Santino DiLustro is a hot sexy Italian !on boss called the king and he will do anything to protect her. Her aunt and uncle didn't prepare her for life in the mob she was kept in the dark. I liked this book but I felt at times she was very childish. This book was written with dual POV with Santino's going back and fourth the book was mostly from her POV. I also wanted more sex scenes the one in the book was hot. This book was well written and read as I listened to it as well as read it with no errors in grammar or spelling. I am looking forward to reading the next book as this one left off on a cliffhanger.
Profile Image for Lily.
261 reviews25 followers
Shelved as 'gave-up'
August 20, 2021
I should've read the reviews!!

First off, the writing was beautiful. And I was excited to see a mafia story take place partially in Italy, with a very strong but dark community. That's the kind of world building I love.

But there are some BIG things I wasn't prepared for.

I'm not against dark romances, but why bring borderline incest and pedophilia into it????? Are people that desensitized these days? Why does every female character, even the loving sister, have to be a threat to our female main character? I was really repulsed.
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