Rocco is a mafia enforcer who has given up his soul a long time ago. Grace, the daughter of a made man, escaped the mafia life once she learned about it. Rocco and Grace were in love, but Grace was young and Rocco was a vicious enforcer. After a terrible attack that left Grace scarred, she runs, leaving New York and Rocco behind.
While her father and brother were in Vegas for a visit/mafia business, Grace is thrust back into the danger of the mafia world. She is older and a bit stronger now and she is willing to fight for her family and for Rocco, even though he does everything possible to push her away. Rocco was abused as a child and has developed some seriously messed up coping skills. He harbors so much guilt over his life but is essentially powerless to change his station. I didn't expect to understand Grace and Rocco so much. I have nothing in common with these characters, yet Castille does a great job making them relatable and real. I also loved getting to see Mia and Gabrielle (and of course Luca and Nico).
The complex relationship between Grace and Rocco is the driving emotional conflict, but they do still have to figure out who put a hit out on Grace's father and brother and wanted to kidnap Grace. As you can expect in a mafia romance, there is danger and violence at every turn which keeps you engaged, but there is also the push/pull between Grace and Rocco that provides this odd sense of a slow burn (which is deceptive because they certainly are lots very sexy scenes!). Even when they are ready to rip each others' clothes off, you aren't sure if this time will be what finally reconnects these two. The chemistry is scorching but with the way Rocco shuts down and runs hot and cold with Grace at times, it felt like a slow burn that was going to end with a major explosion instead of a fire!
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: no
- Trope: second chance, mafia
- Triggers: spoiler
- Series/Standalone: stand alone within an interconnected series (you could read these in any order if you really wanted to but you would get some spoilers from previous books!)
- Cliffhanger: no
- HEA: yes with epilogue
Mafia series from authors like Rachel Van Dyken
, Meghan March, Tijan
, Terri Ann Browning
...then you will probably like Rocco! See full review on The Book Disciple