I’m planning on making this a regular thing, like a recommendations section on this blog where I post recommendation lists every few days. Do we like the idea? I don’t know about you guys (yet), but I love the idea and I already have some lists lined up for future posts.
I think its only fair the first recommendations list I post is for mafia books specifically since they’re hands down one of my favorite “category” of books. I mostly read romance (whether it’s the main genre or a sub-genre) and even though I don’t specify that often, I think it’s rather glaringly obvious now. The books in this list are some of my favorite mafia romances, including the one that first got me into mafia.
If you’re a mafia romance lover, you’ve probably read a lot of these already, and I hope you’ll love the rest if you choose to give them a chance. On the other hand, if you don’t read mafia romances (yet), I’m hoping here’s some places to get you started with them since I truly do love these, just like so many other romance lovers out there.
Know that all of these books display graphic violence and more so if that’s not for you, you’ve been warned now. If any of these books have additional triggers, which some of them do, they’ll be on Goodreads or in the book itself before you start reading. Please be sure to read them.
These books vary in tropes, from enemies-to-lovers, to arranged marriage, to the kidnapping trope, and way more. Some of these books I hold very close to my heart, and all of these I’ve undeniably rated 5/5 stars. I’ve added the synopsis and buy links (of course) for each book in this post and additionally, I’ve also added which tropes each book has to get you started so you know a bit more about the book and see if you’d be interested in it. Happy Reading!
The Mafia and His Angel by Lylah James
Tropes: Forbidden Love, Forced Proximity, Hidden Identity, Trauma
Cold. Ruthless. Killer. I am respected and feared by all.
I wasn’t put on this earth to love or be loved. I was put here to wipe out every last member of the damn Abandonato mafia, to pay them back for my mother’s death.
When I find a strange girl hiding, beaten, under my bed, I don’t let her live out of compassion. She’s a trinket, my plaything.
I thought Alessio was only one more man who wanted to use me, hurt me, and throw me away. I don’t know what it is to trust anymore. I can’t find my heart under the pain.
Alessio found it. He touched it, and brought it alive again.
But if he discovers just how dangerous I am to him…I’ll lose my life.
This is book one of three.
Ruthless People by J. J. McAvoy
Tropes: Arranged Marriage/Marriage of Convenience, Enemies-to-Lovers, Surprise Pregnancy, Partners in Crime
To the outside world, they look like American Royalty, giving to charities, feeding the homeless, rebuilding the city. But behind closed doors is a constant battle for dominance between two Bosses, cultures, and hearts.
Ruthless People is a romantic crime fiction set in modern day Chicago, following the life and marriage of Melody Nicci Giovanni and Liam Callahan—rivals by blood and leaders through fear. Their marriage was arranged by their fathers in hopes to end years of bloodshed between the Irish and the Italians.
Liam, next in line to lead the Irish, believes he’s getting a simple-minded wife, one he can control, one who bends to his every need . . . the complete opposite of Melody. Bred to be a Boss, a world-class marksman, master of disguise, with no mercy and no fear. Twenty-four years later, she has achieved more than any man could even dream of, killing anyone who steps in her way. She knows exactly what type of man Liam is, and she would rather die than give up the power she has spent her whole life building. But with no other family left, she must not only learn to work with Liam, but the whole Callahan clan.
The Mafia of the past is evolving, and with rival bosses gunning for them, Melody and Liam will have to figure out how to work as one to take down those who stand in their way, all while keeping up appearances.
Power, Family, and Respect are everything.
This is book one of four.
When Heroes Fall by Giana Darling
Tropes: Enemies-to-Lovers, Forced Proximity, Trauma, Forbidden Love
I am the villain of my own story…
Jilted by my fiance.
A disappointment to my family.
Haunted by my childhood traumas.
I felt so much all my life that I resolved to feeling nothing at all.
Until I met my match.
As the most infamous mafioso of the 21st century, Dante Salvatore was madly passionate, unequivocally bad, and entirely too dangerous to know. He was everything I abhorred, yet I found myself representing him in the biggest criminal trial of the decade.
I was so focused on winning and achieving the success I deserved that I didn’t notice the gorgeous black-eyed man’s effect on me until it was too late. My icy heart had been held too close to his flame and now I wouldn’t let Dante go down without fighting with everything I had in me.
Even if the cost of a new life with him meant the loss of my old life and everything I thought I held dear.
This is book one of two.
Raw by Belle Aurora
Tropes: Stalker, Alpha Hero, Surprise Pregnancy, Trauma, Shared Past, Hidden Identity
Growing up the way I did, you’d think I’d be more screwed up than what I actually am.
Soon as I turned sixteen, I left that bump in the road I called home and took my chances on the street.
Best decision I ever made.
Now, at the age of twenty six, I’m educated, employed and damn good at my job.
My friends have become my family. Like me, they know what it’s like to grow up unloved.
But the saying is true.
The world makes way for those who know where they are going.
I know where I’m going and I’ll get there eventually. On my own terms and at my own pace.
But then there’s him.
I feel his eyes on me. I see him hiding in plain sight. He watches me.
He makes me feel.
But it’s real.
I’m sure you’re wondering how a person falls in love with their stalker.
So am I.
This isn’t a story.
This is my life.
This is book one of three.
The Bloody Bride by Bree Porter
Tropes: Arranged Marriage, Forced Proximity, Secrets & Lies, Surprise Pregnancy
In between the towering skyscrapers of the Windy City, there lives a dark underworld where loyalty, violence and blood are all that matters.
Sophia always knew her marriage would be arranged and out of her hands, but when her husband-to-be is nonother than the notorious Alessandro ‘The Godless’ Rocchetti, prince of the Rocchetti family and Capo of Chicago Outfit, she finds herself falling into a nightmare.
The arranged marriage begins bloody and the violence does not end on their wedding day. Sophia is forced to navigate her new family, her grief, and the brutal world she knows. As well as dealing with her dangerous yet intriguing husband.
Secrets and threats surround her from the Feds and criminal world alike. Including the strange occurrences surrounding her sister’s death…
This is book one of three.
Hearts of Darkness by Catherine Wiltcher
Tropes: Kidnapped, Forced Proximity, Enemies-to-Lovers, Trauma, Forbidden Love, Dub-con
“First, Dante Santiago held a gun to my head. Then he blew my world apart …”
He’s a criminal with no conscience. The whisper of a name, a faceless stranger… A man content to dwell in the shadows of his underworld.
I’m the light to his dark, an investigative reporter intent on exposing dangerous men like him. We were worlds apart until I caught his attention. Now I’m his captive, kept at the whim of a devil with no kindness or morality.
I may be an innocent but I have secrets too. For years I’ve been fighting a private war with the illegal drugs trade, with the cartel responsible for murdering my brother. I’m closer to revenge than I’ve ever been until his duplicity tears my life apart.
Ours is a relationship borne of hate but we can’t deny the fire that rages between us. But Dante’s a haunted man. He knows only pain and suffering until I see a spark of light buried deep within the shadows of his heart.
Now I have two choices. Save Dante Santiago’s soul or lose myself to his darkness forever.
This is book one of three.
The Maddest Obsession by Danielle Lori
Tropes: Obsession, Hates-Everyone-but-Her, Forced Proximity
She fears the dark.
He rules it.
Her dresses are too tight, her heels too tall. She laughs too loudly, eats without decorum, and mixes up most sayings in the book. Little do most know it’s just a sparkly disguise, there to hide one panic attack at a time.
Nobody can crack Gianna’s facade . . . no one anyway, until hecomes along.
Most see a paragon of morality; a special agent upholding the law. In the New York underworld, others know him as a hustler, a killer, his nature as cold as the heart of ice in his chest. Christian Allister has always followed the life plan he’d envisioned in his youth, beneath the harsh lights of a frigid, damp cell. With a proclivity for order and the number three, he’s never been tempted to veer off course. But perhaps one should never say never . . .
One winter night and their lives intertwine. She hates him—his stone-cold demeanor, his arrogance and too-perceptive eye—but over the years, even as their games consist of insulting each other’s looks and intelligence, she begins to live to play with him.
Nowhere in Christian’s plans had he ever prepared for Gianna. She’s chaos embodied, not his type, and married, but none of that can stop his eyes from following her wherever she goes.
All along, she doesn’t even know that she’s his—his frustration, his fascination.
His maddest obsession.
This is book two of three (so far), in a series of inter-connected stand-alones.
The Darkest Temptation by Danielle Lori
Tropes: Hidden Identity (at first), Kidnapped, Forced Proximity, Enemies-to-Lovers (ish), Forbidden Love
A fortune teller once told Mila she’d find a man who would take her breath away. She refrained from telling her it would be literally while Mila ran for her life.
Having always done what is expected of her, Mila dresses the part, only dates college boys with exemplary backgrounds, and doesn’t ask questions. Not about her papa’s absences or his refusal to let her set foot in her birthplace—Russia.
Suffocated by the rules and unanswered questions, Mila does what she’s always wanted to. She boards a plane to Moscow.
She never expected to fall for a man on the way. One with unexplained wealth, tattoos on his hands, and secrets in his eyes. But it doesn’t take long for his caress to become a rough grasp muffling her screams.
Revenge is a dish best served cold. Unfortunately, a Russian winter is the coldest of them all, and Mila soon learns the only way to escape intact is to do the impossible and thaw her captor’s heart.
This is book three of three (so far), in a series of inter-connected stand-alones.
Bound by Honor by Cora Reilly
Tropes: Arranged Marriage, Alpha Hero, Hates-Everyone-But-Her
A modern mafia fairytale.
Born into one of the leading mob families in Chicago, Aria Scuderi is a mafia princess known for her beauty. What many consider a gift means her doom when she’s forced to marry Luca Vitiello to bring peace between two mafia dynasties. Luca is the future Capo of the New York Famiglia, a man known for his brutality—and for crushing his cousin’s throat with his bare hands.
Aria is terrified of marrying a monster like him. He may be one of the most sought-after bachelors in New York, thanks to his good looks, wealth and predator-like charisma. But Aria knows the bad boy aura isn’t just a game; blood and death lurk beneath Luca’s striking gray eyes and arrogant smile.
In her world a handsome exterior often hides the monster within; a monster who can just as easily kill as kiss you.
Yet, there’s no escaping the arranged bond, much less a man like Luca. He’d follow her to the end of the world.
Her only chance to survive in a marriage with Luca is to gain his affection and work her way into his heart—even when rumor has it that Luca doesn’t have a heart to begin with.
A mafia princess known for her beauty given to a monstrous man.
Even monsters have a heart.
She has every intention of working her way into his.
This is book one of seven in a series of inter-connected standalones (+ a novella and anthology). Aria and Luca’s story continues in Bound by Love, book six.
Twisted Emotions by Cora Reilly
Tropes: Arranged Marriage, Trauma, Beauty and the Beast, Alpha Hero
Nino Falcone is genius and monster. As the right hand man and brother of the Capo of the Camorra, his lack of feelings is a blessing, not a curse – until his brother asks him to marry for the sake of the Camorra.
Kiara Vitiello, cousin of the Capo of the New York Famiglia, is chosen to marry Nino Falcone to prevent war with the Camorra, but what she hears about Las Vegas makes her veins pulse with terror. After her father betrayed his Capo and paid with his life, her family thinks marriage is her only chance to bring honor to her name; but only Kiara knows she’s a faulty prize given in return for peace.
A man incapable of emotions and a woman scarred by the past – an arranged marriage with the potential to unite, or destroy…
This is book two of six, in a series of inter-connected stand-alones. Nino and Kiara’s story continues in Twisted Bonds, book four.
Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly
Tropes: Kidnapped, Forced Proximity, Surprise Pregnancy, Hates-Everyone-But-Her (except family), Enemies-to-Lovers
Remo Falcone is beyond redemption.
As Capo of the Camorra he rules with a brutal hand over his territory – a territory the Chicago Outfit breached.
Now Remo is out for retribution.
A wedding is sacred, stealing a bride sacrilegious.
Serafina is the niece of the Boss of the Outfit, and her hand has been promised in marriage for years, but kidnapped in her wedding dress on her way to church by Remo, Serafina quickly realizes that she can’t hope for saving.
Yet, even in the hands of the cruelest man she knows, she is determined to cling to her pride, and Remo soon understands that the woman at his mercy might not be as easy to break as he thought.
A ruthless man on a quest to destroy the Outfit by breaking someone they are supposed to protect.
A woman intent on bringing a monster to his knees.
Two families that will never be the same.
This is book three of six, in a series of interconnected stand-alones.
Mine by Natasha Knight
Tropes: Surprise Pregnancy, Secret Baby, Forced Proximity
She was never supposed to walk into my club.
But she did.
I shouldn’t have looked twice at her.
But I did.
The criminal underworld is no place for a girl like her.
One night with Katerina isn’t enough, but men like me can’t afford to be weak.
So, I tell her to leave me behind.
She does, but not before she sees something she shouldn’t.
When she goes into hiding, it’s my duty to hunt her down.
I have a job to do, and she needs to disappear for good.
But four years later, Kat isn’t alone anymore.
And the little boy right beside her looks just like me.
This is book one of two.
Brutal Prince by Sophie Lark
Tropes: Arranged Marriage/Marriage of Convenience, Jealousy, Enemies-to-Lovers
He’s No Prince Charming…
Callum Griffin is the heir to the Irish Mafia. He’s ruthless, arrogant, and he wants to kill me.
We got off on the wrong foot when I set a (very small) fire in his house.
Our families believe a marriage pact is the only thing that will prevent all-out warfare.
I think I might need to murder him while he sleeps.
This would all be a lot easier if Callum wasn’t so damned good-looking.
But I’ve got a lockbox around my heart. Because even if I’m forced to marry him…
I could never love a brutal prince.
This is book one of six, in a series of interconnected stand-alones.
A Kiss of Venom by Beena Khan
Tropes: Single Parent, Forbidden Love, Sleeping Beauty re-telling, Widowed
A comatose broken with a single, deadly kiss.
Once upon a dream…
Heavy were the eyelids of the woman who reigns alone. I’ve been in a coma for the past three years after an accident has left me unconscious and widowed. I’m in a sleep so deep, it cannot be broken… until one day, I feel a brush of soft lips against mine.
In my groggy state, I wake up to a pair of dark eyes and a sinister smile.
Now, I’ve returned to my old life. I’m your neighborhood hot mess single mom who keeps her nose in everyone’s business. My husband was the FBI director, and I was one of his agents. We were part of an operation, and now, caught in the crosshairs, I revisit one of the most treacherous cases of the most dangerous man in New York City.
My case is the Tyrant Alexander Nikolaev, the Pakhan of the Russian Bratva.
They say all great love stories have happy endings, but mine has already ended in a tragedy…. and yet he’s awakening something in me that’s both dark and tantalizing. Kill him or kiss him, I can’t decide.
I’m getting ensnared in his trap. If I don’t entangle myself from his wicked power—I, Ghislaine Khalil, just might end up losing my life. Then no one can sever these threads.
Welcome to New York’s Underworld.
This is book one of three in a series of interconnected stand-alones.
Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly
Tropes: Age-gap, Grumpy-Sunshine, Single Parent, Arranged Marriage, Widowed
The first time Cassio met his fiancée, she called him ‘Sir’.
After losing his wife, Cassio is left to take care of two small children while trying to establish his rule over Philadelphia. Now he needs a mother for his children, and someone who can warm his bed at night.
But in a traditional world as his, choosing your wife is duty not pleasure.
Rules have to be followed. Traditions heeded.
That’s how he ends up with a woman—a girl barely of age. She might not be what he and his children need, but she’s wicked lovely and a sweet temptation he can’t resist.
Giulia always knew she’d marry a man her father chose for her. Only she never expected to be given to someone much older.
Suddenly she’s supposed to be a mother to two small children when she hasn’t even held a baby in her life.
Giulia quickly realizes that Cassio isn’t interested in a relationship on equal footing. Her mother always warned her that men of power like Cassio don’t tolerate insolence; yet, tired of being treated as a nanny and clueless child-bride, Giulia decides to fight for her vision of a happy family.
This is a stand-alone romance that takes place in Cora Reilly’s mafia world, in the Famiglia mafia.
That’s all for today!