Bound by Duty
by Cora Reilly
Book 2 in the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles
Dante Cavallaro’s wife died four years ago but her memory still haunts him.
On the verge of becoming the youngest head in the history of the Chicago Outfit, Dante needs to remarry or risk appearing weak.
Valentina is chosen for the role.
She, too, lost her husband, but her first marriage has always been for show. Even after her husband’s death, Valentina carries the weight of his secrets with her— to protect the honor of a dead man and herself.
With her wedding to Dante, her castle of lies threatens to crash.
Valentina fears the wedding night might reveal her secret, but her worries prove unfounded when Dante ignores her. Soon, her fear turns to confusion and anger.
Valentina is tired of being ignored. She’s determined to get Dante’s attention and desire, even if she can’t get his heart that still belongs to his dead wife.
She wants to capture his cold heart but she may have to settle for his desire.
Bound by Duty by Cora Reilly follows young widow Valentina, who is arranged to be married to Dante, a widow himself, who is about to become the head of the Chicago outfit. Valentina is ready to marry. While her first husband was her best friend, it was also done to cover up her husbands sexuality. Dante, still haunted by his wifes passing, is only going ahead with the marriage to appear strong amongst the outfit. While Valentina is afraid of Dante realizing her first marriage was a sham on their wedding night, it turns out she didn't need to - for Dante ignores her. What starts out as hurt and confusion, turns to anger. Valentina has already done the whole marriage for show thing - but not this time. Valentina might not be able to get her husbands heart - but she is determined to at least get his desire.
I actually really enjoyed this one. We are still dealing with bad people. They still murder and commit crime. But Dante is better than a lot of the men in Cora Reilly's world. He does believe women have more to offer than their bodies, and he has absolutely no tolerance for rape. So automatically, for this world, he is a great male character. And I loved Valentina. She is a strong willed, and intelligent woman. She doesn't let men walk all over her - despite living in a culture that deems it so. She enters into a marriage with her childhood best friend to protect him from the Outfit, knowing he could never give her a true marriage. I love her - and I love her and Dante together. His issues made sense, which made how the story played out much more interesting. Something I find interesting is --------------spoiler---------> the book ends with Dante still not telling Valentina that he loves her. She senses his love for her in his actions, and she is okay with that. To this day, I have NEVER read a romance that didn't end with an "I love you", and it works for this storyline. <--------------------
I'm still not sold on the whole mafia romance storyline, but after this book, I do plan on starting the next one. Hopefully we get another story with a strong, female character like this one. If you like darker romances, with morally grey (or just downright bad) characters, and kick ass females, Bound by Duty is a good one to read.
Valentina standing her ground, and not giving Dante any information
Dante FINALLY consummating the marriage
Dante putting his hand over Valentina's when she snuggles him in bed
Valentina telling Dante that he needs to apologize for what he said to her, and until he does, she is done with them.
Valentina telling Dante about Antonio
Valentina giving Bibi poison to kill her POS husband
Dante at the hospital with Valentina
Dante telling Valentina not to hide her scar from him
Valentina: “You don’t like to beat around the bush, do you?”
His dark eyes twinkled with mirth.
Dante: “Oh, I like bushes well enough, don’t worry.” Dante: “Aren’t you loyal to me? Don’t you think you owe me the truth? Don’t you think it’s your duty? Not only because I’m the Boss of the Outfit, but because I’m your husband.”
Valentina: “And you owe me a decent wedding night. As my husband, it should be your duty to take care of my needs. I suppose we both will have to live with the disappointment.” “There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil. For to thee is this world given,” Valentina: “You’re so busy honoring her memory and protecting the image of her you have in your mind that you don’t realize how badly you’re treating me. You lost your first wife through no fault of your own, but you will be losing me because you can’t let go of her.”
Dante stared at me, completely frozen. The myriad of emotions in his eyes were impossible to read, and I was too tired to bother. I walked past him and he didn’t try to stop me. He didn’t move at all.
Valentina: “I’ll move into the guest bedroom. There isn’t enough room in our bedroom for me and the memories of your past. If you ever decide you want to give this marriage a chance, then you can come to me and apologize for what you said. Until then, I’m done with us.” Valentina: “You know what’s strange? At one point, I thought I could never love someone as I loved Antonio, no matter how unrequited that love was. And today I’m condemning him to his death for another man who will never love me back.” Dante stalked toward me and gently pulled my hand away, revealing my scar to him.
Dante: “Don’t hide yourself from me.”
Valentina: “I wasn’t sure if you’d be turned off by the sight of my scar.”
Dante laughed, a rough sound deep in his throat. He gripped my waist, eyes hungry and possessive.
Dante: “You look like a goddess, Val. Your scar doesn’t make you any less desirable for me. Or do you find my scars repulsive? I have plenty of them.”
Valentina: “No, of course not. But you are a man. It’s different for women.”
Dante lightly stroked my scar.
Dante: “This makes you even more beautiful to me because I know why you have it.”