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The Underworld Kings #1

Coldhearted Bastard

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Coming soon from USA Today bestselling author Jenika Snow is a brand new full-length gritty mafia romance that blurs the lines between right and wrong... and love and hate.

He didn’t have a heart... but he wanted hers.

All I knew about life was anger and violence. Pain and suffering. Kill or be killed.

I was a “fixer” for the Ruin—a syndicate for the Bratva, Cosa Nostra, Cartel, and any other organized crime faction that dealt in the darker, crueler aspects of humanity.

I was a free agent who was called upon to do things weaker men didn’t have the stomach for.

And when you surround yourself with death for long enough, soon, you didn’t remember what it felt like to be alive.

And then I saw her. She was a fragile little thing who tried to be strong. But I could tell she’d seen too much horror in the world, too much of the ugly within people. I should have stayed away. I’d only bring her farther down into the darkness.

But for the first time in my life, I felt a stirring in my chest, this protectiveness and possessiveness toward another living person. And it was painful. It made me feel alive.

Lina tried to hide how broken she was, but I was an old friend of being ruined. She held secrets I’d find out. Because for the first time in my miserable life, I wanted something for myself. I felt something more than apathy and indifference.

I wanted to possess the innocence she clung to. I wanted to break it open and consume it for myself.

I could look into her too trusting blue eyes and knew I’d maim for her. I’d kill for her. And that became our truth when her past finally came back for her when my present tried to destroy her.

They thought they could take the one thing—the only thing—I’d ever wanted for myself. They were wrong.

When I looked at her, I felt some of the monster that made me who I retreated back to my black soul. He’d never leave... but he’d share the space.

For her.

A complete standalone novel in the Underworld Kings series.

Published October 5, 2021

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About the author

Jenika Snow

411 books7,577 followers
Jenika Snow is a USA Today Bestselling Author, and has been a published writer since 2009.

She can be found at:

FB: www.facebook.com/jenikasnow
Twitter: twitter.com/jenikasnow
Email: Jenika_Snow@yahoo.com

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5 stars
1,192 (31%)
4 stars
1,222 (32%)
3 stars
1,007 (26%)
2 stars
278 (7%)
1 star
73 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 475 reviews
Profile Image for Darlene I read WAY to many books.
3,211 reviews1,565 followers
February 9, 2022
Arlo is sorta a hitman/solo killer for the Ruin/Bravta he takes the jobs higher upers need done. Killer no emotion.. only for one person Lina a waitress who's running from someone. Galina aka Lina is working mini wage making sure she isn't found my her father who sold her out because of his gambling problems. She caught Arol eye when he comes into her work and just sits and eats watches her from afar making sure shes safe and sound. Arol tries to stay away but things get hectic when he spots her in a bar/club and is used against him.
Their relationship is slowish but both know they want more when they are forced to stay at his place for Lina can be safe. We see them grow together him teaching her how to fight the spice 💦💦
Arol is 🔥🔥🔥 I swear he make sure no one fks with his girl even a captian who's days are numbered thanks to his crazy ass sons.

Which one is next!! And I can't wait because we saw some scenes with him and he CRAZY!!

Om drama, no cheating, slight secondary character, Drama, sexy times, virgin gal and no manwhore

Heat level-🌶🌶🌶.5

Praise kink
No condom
Profile Image for Natalie  ~ The Biblioholic.
2,565 reviews1,248 followers
September 22, 2021
Arlo knew nothing but cold, lethal purpose. And then he met Galina, someone he could make a real connection with, someone he would do anything to protect. He made this story for me and I lived for every moment of his truth.

Galina was also easy to like. She was a girl who had some hard knocks in life — seriously, her own father served her up to settle his debts — so she always knew she could only rely on and trust in herself. When Arlo offered to be her perfect anti-hero, she didn't quite know how to act.

I didn't need another father. And although mine was worthless and the world wouldn't miss him if he was gone, I also didn't need anybody to look after me. I could do that myself. No one could take care of me better than me.

Her tendency to lie and hide and be ungrateful got on my nerves, but Arlo man... he made everything better. Who doesn't love a guy who's willing to mow down any and everyone who wants to hurt his girl? I coudn't get enough of this guy!

Coldhearted Bastard gave me hot and sexy with plenty of action to spice things up.

Find my full blog review here

October 4, 2021
Story: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Trope: Protector/instalust
Angst: 😰
Smexy: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Triggers: none

Holy smokes! Coldhearted Bastard started the Underworld Series with a bang! Not going to do a recap since the preview is so good, but this story is awesome and just what I was looking for. Storyline was great and the slow burn gave a lot of time to set the back story and build up some sizzling chemistry between Arlo and Galina. By the time we get to the deed, they are smokin'! Quiet Arlo surprised me with all the dirty talking filth that came out of his mouth, lol. Hoo wee /fans self, lol. Nothing too deep, just a really quick, entertaining read that makes me super excited for the rest of the series! Looking forward to them all!
Profile Image for Sonia.
941 reviews917 followers
July 7, 2022
An OTT mafia cleaner who’ll do anything for his woman? Yes, please

Reading Jenika Snow is always a treat. Her Hs become obsessed with their h’s, which is something I always look forward to in her books.

Lina’s (21) father is an a hole. He’s not a good figure in her life and she avoids making contact with him. He owes a lot of people money and he promises a mafia guy his daughter’s virginity, which is where Galina comes in. But she’s not going to go down without a fight, and she’s going to get away from this life as far as she can. And she does. 2 months later, she meets the mysterious stranger that always watches her while she works at a diner.

Arlo (29) wants the waitress. For two months, he comes in and watches her work. He also follows her home (cough cough *stalks* cough cough 😅😉) to make sure that she arrived safely, considering that she doesn’t live in the best area and then resumes his mafia job of cleaning up bodies. There’s tension rising in his world, which is why he hasn’t approached her yet.

But then, a drunk man dares to touch her on her way home. She manages to get away, but the man made a mistake. He touched what was his- and he’s going to pay, with his life 💁🏻‍♀️💅. No one touches his woman. NO ONE 👀.

“Ya ub'yu lyubogo, kto popytayetsya zabrat' tebya u menya.”
“You’ve said that before. What does it mean?”
He was silent for long moments, and I could imagine he was trying to think of a lie, but what he uttered told me it was the absolute truth. “It means… I'll kill anyone who tries to take you from me.”

When Lina decides to do a side job at a club that he sometimes goes to and she gets grabbed by a different man (don’t worry, he won’t be able to use his hands anymore), he takes her to his home and teaches her to fight.

The chemistry. The tension 🔥. My gosh, when he’s teaching her to fight and get out of holds, I even felt the tingles Lina was feeling 💦🥵. Yeah, this is on the slow burn side, but dayum, Arlo goes all in. By 60%, things became combustible, and Arlo was very gracious in offering Lina relief
You smell so good. The most addicting thing I’ve ever been around.” His fingers were tight on the skin of my inner thighs. “I wonder if this p*ssy is as fucking sweet as you smell.”

But by 76% it’s on 😅🔥😉. Oh LAWD. My kindle was on FIRE🥵. Arlo has such a duuuurty mouth.
”Do you want me to lose control, moy svet? Do you want a gentleman or a monster fucking you for the first time?”

…he flattened his tongue and licked up my cheek, taking that tear into him, I closed my eyes and moaned. “Even your tears are the sweetest thing I’ve ever fucking tasted.” He pushed in another inch. “Give me more. Let me lick them up, take a piece of you in me.”

Arlo will do anything for his woman. We need more Hs to match that energy 💁🏻‍♀️. He’s gonna always make sure the world is a safe place for Lina.

“You know what I’d do to any man who touched you or so much as looked at you?” I nodded slowly, feeling my pulse kick into overdrive. “Say it. Say the words out loud so you can hear the truth.”
My chest heaved up and down from the force of my breathing. “You’ll kill them.”
His smile was slow, self-satisfied. “I’d tear them limb from limb until there was nothing left.”

Swooooon! 🥰🥰🥰

Overall, I loved it ❤️

⚠️ safety squad ⚠️
-no cheating/sharing/owd
-OM tries to attack h. She defends herself and runs away. The H comes in and takes care of him 💅 (don’t touch the h 🤷🏻‍♀️ or else your hand and 🍆 will suffer the consequences). OM2 grabs h while she’s working (attempted SA) and the H sees red. He takes care of him too 💅💁🏻‍♀️he’ll no longer be able to touch any female *karma*.
-spanking/praise kink/breath play
-virgin h
-no condoms- it’s not even talked about (he wants kids)
Profile Image for Dora  Koutsoukou.
1,872 reviews430 followers
December 2, 2021
3 🖤❤️🤔⭐️s

I wasn’t convinced of their love. They shared chemistry and attraction, but love was not developed.
Cliches, virgin hiding from bad guys and falls for another bad guy who would do anything for her.
The ending was rushed and too easy, yet the epilogue was sweet.
Profile Image for Mary.
135 reviews2 followers
August 13, 2022
Cute little love story between a sweet waitress/fugitive girl with a sad and difficult past to overcome and a cold mafia mercenary who completely falls at her feet right on and is oh-so tender and loving to her and her alone.
There were multiple scenes on a darker note throughout the book but most of the drama was outside their relationship which I found quite refreshing. Their love story developed pretty quickly and I loved they kept it real between them and both spoke about their feelings with honesty to one another.
Maybe not as hot as the most recent JS novellas (she's literally been on fire!!!) but it was a very endearing, lovely story. Sigh. Her devoted Hs are always the best!!!
Profile Image for Bex (Beckie Bookworm).
2,015 reviews1,313 followers
December 13, 2022

Loved this I’ve read this author before so was pretty confident I was going to like it and I definitely did. Had lots of my favourite tropes included and the hero still retained all of his delicious darkness by the finish not changing himself whatsoever Galina accepted Arlo for exactly who he was so I was ecstatic about that. It’s a definite pet peeve of mine when the love interest evolves into a good guy and becomes completely unrecognisable all for the love of his woman. I actually prefer the heroine getting corrupted and dragged over to the dark side much more delicious in my opinion.

Here Galina flees Las Vegas after her father uses her as collateral for his drug debts with a local loan shark gangster. Finding herself in Desolation New York Lina takes a cash-in-hand job in a sketchy all-night diner whilst also attempting to save cash for when her past inevitably catches up on her and she again needs to run.

Aldo is a fixer he’s of Russian origin and independent of the local crime family’s he works for an organisation as a freelance doing the jobs he is paid no questions asked. His past isn’t pretty and his life has been void of any love he’s not a good man and doesn’t claim to be. He’s cold unemotional and not much of a talker or a people pleaser for that matter.

He knows visiting Sal’s diner and watching the pretty waitress he can’t get out of his mind is not a good idea. For the first time ever he feels something besides his emptiness inside though he also doesn’t want to taint her light but he can’t seem to keep away. He sees so many secrets in her expressive eyes and wants nothing more than to protect her claiming her for his own.

Lina is wary of the stoic cold male that radiates danger. She instantly recognises his dark aura having plenty of experience with this growing up as she has but she is equally drawn and fascinated by him. When her decisions put her in an untenable situation Arlo plays his hand inadvertently placing Lina in danger through association. It is obvious that she is his only weakness and Arlo is now determined to keep Lina safe and kill anyone who threatens or dares look her way.

I adored Arlo his protective over the top adoration of Lina was beautiful she is the one niche in his armour. I loved how honest he was with her never sugarcoating who he is and in return, Lina accepts him completely.

The chemistry was scorching and the sex was everything my greedy little heart desired. My god it was hot and Arlo sure has a filthy mouth on him that he was extremely talented with and definitely put to very good use when he then lapses into his mother tongue Russian it was so incredibly sexy.

Galina despite her younger age was old-headed (I think she was twenty-four) life had definitely forced her to mature fast she wasn’t a naive girl and she realised fairly swiftly that it was in fact a good thing to have the protection of a man others are scared to death of. A male that would in fact kill to keep her safe and secure. Arlo may be a monster but he’s also her knight willing to go to bat for her. Lina doesn’t see things in black and white or even through rose-coloured specs and Arlo is everything she could have ever wanted.

This was an easy read it was well-written sexy as all hell and easily engaging. I’m definitely planning to read the rest of this series. This author has an easy appeal and from what I’ve read of hers previously her heroes are always so delicious and OTT which I do adore. I definitely recommend it if you like the dangerous alpha male baddie who is totally ga-ga over his woman. She’s his one exception and he’s willing to burn down the world to keep her safe from harm as this one has that vibe in spades.

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Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm
Profile Image for The Romantic Rush Blog.
1,753 reviews834 followers
October 6, 2021
Dark mafia and the sensual intensity of Jenika Snow? Sounds perfectly delicious. Full of action and brimming with sexy, there’s a lot to like about Coldhearted Bastard. It’s fast-paced, steamy, and full of the dark mafia brutality.

The story, however, took me a good minute to dive into. Something about the exposition didn’t quite work for me- the pace was quick, but perhaps it was so action packed that I felt I didn’t get into the hearts of our characters until much later. We have a lot of information and action coming at us early on. We have our heroine Galina brutally betrayed by someone who should have protected her, and with abundant dangers and atrocities lurking around every corner, she finds herself on the run, a choice that puts her in Desolation (literally and metaphorically) and in the path of Ruin bratva assassin Arlo, who, of course, can’t resist her. But will she take a risk on a man just oozing with dangerous charisma and edgy intensity?

Arlo is an interesting character, and I think he’s part of why I struggled to get into this story at first. Whereas most mafia men are brimming with volatility and emotional extremes, he’s relatively emotionless. Which, I guess makes sense- he’s coldhearted and all. Stoic in his violence, his POV almost detached from the world around him. Once he starts to connect with Galina I found the story more compelling- she evokes something in him more magnetic and, well, interesting- and we get more depth and intensity from him- the mafia passion I crave. Galina on the other hand is a victory- a scrapper, a clever survivor. She’s got a softness, of course, that draws us in, but ultimately she’s had to survive and adapt quite rapidly. The chemistry felt a bit lukewarm at first- but Jenika does alpha possessive steam like no other, and once it got there, the chemistry got delicious. The sensual connection of her characters is always something I can count on from Jenika Snow- and yet again, she sizzles.

This is a fast-paced, quick read- and one I enjoyed overall once I connected to it. I’d love to see even more mafia stories in the future from Jenika Snow.
Profile Image for Jenn (The Book Refuge).
1,867 reviews2,804 followers
September 30, 2021
*Thank you to the Author and Give Me Books PR for an eARC of this book.*

I am so happy I have so many mafia and dark romances to look forward to with this series of books and by so many different authors that I have never tried before. This book is by such an author for me. I have never read a book by Jenika Snow before. I have seen her books around on kindle and instagram now and then, and I am so happy to get to explore some of her work. That being said, I don't know anything about how or if this connects with other books in her worlds so this read just fine as a standalone for me.

This entry to the Underworld Kings universe instantly caught my attention. Our heroine is a woman on the run for her life from her fathers debts and our hero is a man of violence who crosses paths with her and falls head over heels in lust. He stalks her steps, a silent protector who removes threats without her ever knowing his name.

Things escalate when she runs into him again in a more precarious situation and he stakes his claim in an undeniable way. When he secrets come out… will she be able to trust him? And the passion they feel burning under their skin?

This book was smoking hot and had me sucked in right from the beginning. Galina and Arlo were passionate, fierce, and had me swooning. This was be a great read for any Mafia lover and worked well as a standalone mafia romance for me.

I did struggle a bit to connect on a deeper level with the characters, but while I was reading it I had a great time.

4/5 stars
Profile Image for ivyreadsromance.
24 reviews7 followers
November 12, 2021
Why am I so into murdery Russian boys lately?? Should I tell my therapist about this?? Anyway if that’s your thing too, this was a good read, felt a bit rushed overall but Arlo was your perfect “sociopath to everyone but her” antihero and Galina had a fair amount of backbone to her, which is sometimes missing in books with this premise. I got a little done with how often the book/the H zeroed in on her being a virgin, but if I really took issue with that happening I’d probably never get to read another murdery Russian boy’s book again.
Profile Image for Mirjam.
1,759 reviews102 followers
June 7, 2022

Galina Michone is on the run. She is running from her father who offered “And that’s you—or more so your body and that sweet cherry you still have between your legs.” as compensation for his gambling debts. Managing to get away from Henry was nothing more than a low-level loan shark, a drug dealer, and an all-around piece of shit., Galina became Lina Michaels.
Lina, who waitressed the night shift at Sal’s diner, serving drunk, obnoxious and demanding assholes.
But Lina had another regular customer, a man who instantly had every survival instinct in me kicking into gear. Knowing the man is dangerous, still Lina can't help to be drawn to him.

Arlo Malkovich, free agent for the syndicate known as the Ruin, a fixer for hire. When the Ruin called, I took the job, I didn’t care if it was for the Cosa Nostra, the Bratva, or the fucking Cartel.
But lately Arlo has developed a obsession, and her name was Lina. Sadly the dangerous and violent Pakhan, a sociopath—Leonid Petrov, leader of the East Coast Bratva has noticed Arlo's weakness and has every intention of cashing in.

Arlo & Galina will attend the Morelli's annual Christmas ball
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by M. Robinson

While within the same universe, these books can be read as standalone, but will be best enjoyed when read in order:
Cold Hearted Bastard (Underworld Kings, #1) by Jenika Snow Reckless Heir (Underworld Kings) by Jenika Snow Little Bird (Underworld Kings) by Jenika Snow

Part of a multi-author series of standalone books filled with mafia families waging war, danger and violence, arranged and forced marriages, angst, love, and everything
in-between, The Underworld Kings Series
Profile Image for 1-Click Addict Support Group.
3,749 reviews455 followers
October 5, 2021
Filled with tension, grit and desire…

I took a walk on the dark side as Arlo and Lina connected under the worst of circumstances. Lina was hiding and found Arlo in the shadows. While Arlo refused to care about anyone, he was going to coax Lina out of the darkness…

This story was chock-a-block full of all the mafia-esque goodness – power, tension, loyalty, fear. Arlo claimed no one as his boss but he knew the rules and stuck to them. Stoic, focused, he let nothing distract him. Refusing to give up his independence, he had no weakness to explore. Until Lina… Lina was hiding in the un-lit corners of life where Arlo lived. She kept her head down, hoping she could just survive. And maybe live again one day. She was scared. Until Arlo… Trust was hard-won yet his strength called to her own. Maybe she could have love too. And so could he…

This was a scorcher set in a world of darkness and pain. The author didn’t shy away from the violence that inhabited it nor the passion that Arlo and Lina created. Steamy? Well, if melting the pages could be called that, then yes. Let’s go with steamy… They should never have gotten together and maybe that’s what made it even sweeter.

Discovery and anticipation was quickly followed by no holds barred action, emotion and heat – and all of it made for a fantastic read! ~Diane, 4 stars
Profile Image for Coco.V.
50k reviews4 followers
March 9, 2022
A very well written story that is intense, engaging, intriguing and steamy. The author knows how to draw you into the story....
Profile Image for Miki’s⚠️Safety Reviews⚠️.
210 reviews143 followers
February 9, 2023
⭐️4.5 Stars

✨The first book in this mafia series by Jenika Snow was a great start and I’m excited to read all these hot Mafia men.✨

Lina -20yrs old
Arlo -31yrs old

✨It opens with Lina living in Vegas, her dad sells her off to a low end crime boss to wipe his debts. She a V and they know it they plan to sell her V to the highest bitter and after sell her for sex. BUT our girl was smart💪🏻 and escaped.

❤️‍🔥Arlo is a “fixer” for the crime syndicates in Desolation. He sees Lina working in a restaurant owned by the Bratva and becomes obsessed. He follows her home sometimes come into her work every night but doesn’t take things further.

✨Lina crosses paths with the Pakhan of the Bratva with Arlo in a club and things set off from there.

✨Linas safety is threatened and Arlo decides it’s time to claim his woman. He will go to the ends of the earth to protect what’s his…. Literally.

💕Touch her you die! And let me tell you he serves up brutal justice to ANYONE who lays so much of a hand on her. It’s the definition of the phrase and I loved every minute of it.

❤️ I love men like Arlo. He’s faithful OTT JP and NO OW nonsense 🥳. Jenika hit the mark with this man😍swoon.

😅 Its a slow burn….. not my fav cause I’m an impatient person😂 but sexy times start around 70% and Actual sex didn’t happen till 80% of the book.

🔥���️‍🔥But man the sex scenes are so hot. She really knows how to write great sex…and that dirty talk? Yum ❤️‍🔥🔥Even though it’s not till the end we still get a few sex scenes.

💕I loved the last 15% of the book with them as a couple and I especially loved the Epilogue and how this couples life turned out. I loved 🥰 Arlo character growth.

🌟I really had high hope for this and I did really like so much of this read….but I hate so say it…. I was so bored a few times early on. This is why it didn’t make 5 stars And some things I didn’t love….

✨Lina was kinda a blank character for a good chunk of the book. She didn’t grab me past her fight for survival in Vegas. She seemed to like to talk to herself and always had some kind of understanding about EVERY situation or person-including Arlo- with out needing a word from them or information about that situation. She just knew. 💪🏻 She did however seem to find herself more at the end and I liked her so much more then.

✨My real complaint about this is that the beginning dragged for me. It was around 40% before anything between our couple even begins. And I’m not talking sex I’m talking about having actual conversations. So it’s a slow burn. But I don’t feel like that 40% is used properly. Do we need story setting and character building? Yes…but here it’s long a drawn out sometimes boring filler or over detailed scenes…….
✨Example: I just read to back to back scenes of her in the bathroom showing, brushing teeth, brushing hair ext. like why? So boring these details don’t need multiple scenes and especially not when she’s barley had a scene with the H and it’s 45% in. Like just pointless to me.

✨She’s also not big on actual dialogue in this. So much inner monologue. Rambling details and so on, it’s just so much. I wanted more interaction.

✨I DEFINITELY NEED more relationship time. I couldn’t fully connect with the relationship when it’s only a focus for about 30% of the book. I mean I’m here for the ROMANCE so give it to me please. However the last 10% I really lived them together.

✨I’m not into looking up all this Russian so if you’re gonna put it in please as an author leave it translated as well. It takes to much time to look up and I want to know all the swoony stuff he said.

⚠️Zero OW drama or OW anything. Arlo doesn’t even mention past hookups or anything 💕😍Swoon!
⚠️ Violence
⚠️Age gap
Profile Image for Bookaholic Shaima .
161 reviews132 followers
June 16, 2022
✨This book was everything and then some.
It was well written, spicy , romantic suspenseful and a page turner. I could lose myself in this book again and again and never feel bored.

Sure it's a dark romance, but you can take it. ( Pun intended 😀).

✨Arlo may seem a bit too much 👀 but that's how we love them , unhinged and unapologetic and downright POSSESSIVE. ( Of course fictionally speaking 🌝🌝🤭) he's a stalker so what?. What's wrong with some People watching it's kind of therapeutic.

✨I loved everything that it is Galina even though she was a badass and independent, she knew when not to put a fight to a losing game.
Because again, when it comes to her safety and well-being Arlo was a rock. He would never think twice to unsure she's safe and taken care of.

And let's not start on the Russian way he talks to her 😩😩😩. Like. KI££. ME.RIGHT.HERE.

❝ A. Fu©king. Look. That’s all it took to go down this rabbit hole where, for the first time in my miserable life, I questioned my very sanity. For the first time in my life, I want something just for me .❞

I highly recommend it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Profile Image for Kate V.
1,256 reviews125 followers
February 20, 2022
4 - 4.5 stars!

Jenika Snow has been killing it recently. I really enjoyed this story! Arlo is kind of a contract killer for the Ruin/Bratva. He has spent most of his life in darkness and feels very little for anyone or anything. Arlo has a reputation and people know he isn't one you cross. It isn't until he sees Lina that he realizes just how much the darkness has overtaken his life. She is now the light in his pitch black world and his soul calls to hers.

Galina (Lina) got dealt a bad card in life and her father just about sold her virginity to a cruel and horrible man. She manages to escape and build a small life for herself while also hiding. Working at a minimum wage job, she begins to see Arlo come in to her place of work and casually sit and eat. He watches her with a fierce intensity and she knows he is dangerous but she is also drawn to him.

When Lina gets thrown into the crossfire because someone discovers she is Arlo's weakness, he decides to take what he considers his and keep Lina safe. The more time they spend together, the closer they get but Lina's demons are resurfacing and Arlo has demons of his own. Can the two of them make it out alive and happy?

I would definitely consider this to be a slow burn but the tension was delicious. I loved Arlo's crazy possessiveness and obsession and I loved Lina's down-to-earth personality despite the circumstances of her life. Cold Hearted Bastard had a great story line with hot steamy moments and a HEA. I am looking forward to the next book!
Profile Image for Batool Zainab Suleman.
130 reviews23 followers
November 22, 2021
Another Enjoyable Mafia Romance

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this! It's a bit of a slow-burn, more than I'm used to with mafia romances, but the payoff was EXCELLENT.

The chemistry between the characters was beautifully written. I really fell for these two. Galina and Arlo are great characters.

I loved how Arlo didn't push her for sex. I loved how Arlo put her safety first. I loved how Arlo pushed her to take self-defense classes. I loved how Galina was not a pathetic, naive girl. I loved how Galina was strong and smart.

WELL-WRITTEN SPICE! Jenika Snow, I am impressed at how much I loved the spice in this. The perfect way to reward us readers after the slow burn.

The plot could have been a bit more complex/layered, but I don't expect that from standalone mafia romances. It's a nice to have, not a must.

My only issue with this book is the ever-pervasive issue of "pale" FMCs. Why? Why couldn't Galina be a woman of colour? Or even ethnically ambiguous? Why describe her as "pale" at all? I'm so sick of "pale" FMCs.

Nice book, but could have easily been a five star one if this issue wasn't there.
Profile Image for TheBookPlatypus.
925 reviews161 followers
May 5, 2022
Well. This was interesting. I ended up NOT reading this in order. This is book one of Jenika Snows Underworld Series.

I absolutely loved book two, Reckless Heir. But I struggled with this one, Cold Hearted Bastard. It was a slow plot with little to no heart thumping moments for me. Galina is on the run from men who she was sold to to pay off her fathers misdoings.
In doing so she collided paths with Arlo.
Galina instantly becomes Arlos weakness and someone takes notice. Not a good someone.
It’s the plot line of - he takes her in to protect her, insta love, virgin heroine, she’s the only light in his life and he does anything to protect her.

“What Arlo unknowingly made me feel was hot enough to burn the wings off an angel.”

Overall, it was an okay read which is surprising for me to say since going through my reviews on Jenika Snow’s books, I normally love her writing. This one was just Meh for me.
Profile Image for Brianna.
236 reviews191 followers
May 22, 2022
5/5 ⭐️
3/5 🌶 (quality>quantity)

- age gap (10yrs)
- mafia romance
- heroine on the run
- free agent hitman x waitress
- OTT protective + possessive hero
- obsessed hero
- murder & violence
- slight damsel in distress (but she isn’t weak)
- “Look at her and you die” 👀
- virgin heroine
- 🦋dirty talking🦋

POV: first person - dual

Type: interconnected stand-alone (book one)

I LOVED THIS BOOK. Slowly working my way through this author’s mafia backlist but gosh does she check every box.

This book is one giant guilty pleasure (not feeling guilty though).

It’s fair to say I’m obsessed. The (anti) heroes this author writes are MY TYPE OF MEN (in fiction ofc…). I can’t say one bad thing about this man. The heroine was so sweet, I loved her just as much. Well, I loved him more but I can’t help it.

The epilogue satisfied every need I love in a romance book. It was simple but oh so sweet and gave the perfect insight into where the characters future is heading.
Profile Image for Serialbookstarter.
510 reviews26 followers
November 25, 2021
This wasn’t what I expected. It was a slow burn/instalove for the H. He treated the h like a Queen and was really sweet for a sociopathic killer who unalives and then disappears mafia guys. I really liked it, a good quick read.
Profile Image for Sara.
85 reviews
January 7, 2023
I was in the mood for a dark romance and picked this book up. It’s been on my tbr for awhile, and this book did not disappoint!

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the chemistry and tension between Lina and Arlo. Arlo’s dirty talk is something else 🫠.

This was my first book by Jenika Snow, and I will be reading more from her. Overall I really enjoyed this book!

This a dark romance so make sure you check TWs/CWs

♡ mafia
♡ age gap
♡ innocent fmc
♡ “touch her and you die”
♡ guy falls first and hard
♡ overly possessive and protective mmc
Profile Image for PP's Bookshelf.
2,205 reviews330 followers
September 28, 2021
If you love dark mafia romance that pushes your boundaries and doesn't hold back the violence or the filthy passion, Coldhearted Bastard by Jenika Snow is perfect for you.

Galina had to run away from her home at Vegas after she barely escaped the loan sharks after her body, courtsey her gambling father. She has come to Desolation and got herself a new identity. And then she catches attention of Arlo. The merciless killer on hire for Ruin who works for Russian bratva. She is attracted to this man with darkness and violence. But will it put her in even more danger?

Arlo is a very extreme kind of antihero who will make you shiver in fear and also make you oddly fascinated. He doesn't show any mercy or emotion while killing people ruthlessly. But for Galina, his protective and possessive side comes out. The darkness is an integral part of his soul and he loves Galina with animalistic intensity and fierceness. Galina has tried to stay away from this cruel and dangerous side of Desolation but she was dragged into it nevertheless. She may be vulnerable and without resources but she is a fighter and she fought tooth and nail to save herself. She is a mix of sweetness and hardness. The rough and dirty side of Arlo calls to her and she accepted him with all his demons. This story is very spicy and the chemistry was hot!

Coldhearted Bastard by Jenika Snow was an explosive, dark and sinful mafia romance that will keep you glued to the pages.

I reviewed an early copy voluntarily
October 4, 2021
Story: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Trope: Protector/instalust
Angst: 😰
Smexy: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Triggers: none

Holy smokes! Coldhearted Bastard started the Underworld Series with a bang! Not going to do a recap since the preview is so good, but this story is awesome and just what I was looking for. Storyline was great and the slow burn gave a lot of time to set the back story and build up some sizzling chemistry between Arlo and Galina. By the time we get to the deed, they are smokin'! Quiet Arlo surprised me with all the dirty talking filth that came out of his mouth, lol. Hoo wee /fans self, lol. Nothing too deep, just a really quick, entertaining read that makes me super excited for the rest of the series! Looking forward to them all!
Profile Image for kindlequeenandcoffee.
614 reviews69 followers
September 30, 2021
4/5⭐️ 3.5/5🔥

STEAM: 3/5🌶

This is a stand-alone set in the Underworld Kings series written by different authors. It’s a dark mafia romance about Arlo and Galina. Arlo is a “fixer” called the Ruin who is enamored by Galina “Lina” new into the small town of NY called Desolation running away from her father’s crappy habits that cost her to hide.

Very quick, entertaining, dark with the perfect amount of violence and spice 😍😩🥵
Profile Image for Travelogged Blogs.
881 reviews85 followers
December 13, 2021
This was my first time reading something by Jenika Snow and I liked the writing style right from the beginning. The book had quite a medicore plot where the girl has been sacrificed by her father to pay off his gambling debt and that's where the anti-hero steps in saving her and keeping her safe. Except Arlo was obsessed with Lina, he often watched her working or followed her home, he was instantly captivated by her and just wanted to keep her by his side. Though Arlo's feelings were quite clear, I couldn't understand when exactly did Lina fall for him. Their relationship was all insta-love and I didn't feel the chemistry between them untill the second half of the book tbh. But overall, I liked the pace and the writing style. All the side characters were just vile except Nikolai & Dimitri. It is mentioned that Nikolai's story will be coming soon and I can't wait for that!
Profile Image for Rochelle.
1,566 reviews
October 29, 2021
Part of the Underworld Kings series and can be read as a standalone and I loved it. This dark mafia romance will heat up your evening. If you don’t like filthy dirty men and the women who love them, then I would recommend not picking this up, but you would be missing a read of a lifetime. Loved Arlo and Lina. They meet when Lina is running from her dad’s decision to make her his debt payment. He is her savior even though he has his own dark past. Loved the chemistry between them. Great read.
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