Bound by Honor
by Cora Reilly
Book 1 in the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles
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.
Bound by Honor by Cora Reilly is the first book in her Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, and centers are eighteen year old Aria, oldest daughter of a high ranking mafia dynasty in Chicago, and 23 year old Luca, next in line as Capo in the New York mob. When Aria is told she is to marry Luca, she is terrified. Luca is infamous for his brutality, and being the youngest initiated member in the mob. But as a woman in the Famiglia, her options are limited, so despite her fear, she marries Luca. She knows the only way to survive her marriage is by making him fall in love with her. All she has to do is remind him that there is a heart under the mask he shows the world.
Oh god, what did I do? UGH! I have so many thoughts about this book, and I'm not sure where to start. Okay ... let's play a game. I will start off with one thing I liked, and then finish with what I didn't. Because while I hated aspects of this book, there were others I enjoyed it too. UGH!
So I liked the story. It was interesting, had a decent flow, and triggered some tears, so it was obviously good enough to make me emotionally invested. I fucking hated how women were treated in this book. And I get that this series basically centers around tradition and shit, but GOD.
Characters were okay. Aria was a bit too timid for my taste, but ultimately knew what she wanted. Not a terrible amount of growth. Luca was okay. There were great moments --------spoiler-------> like him cutting himself to make it look like he slept with her on their wedding night.<---------------- where I was thinking, hey, this guy rocks. But I found myself not caring about him because of something he does ---------spoiler-----------> sleeping with another woman TWO DAYS after the wedding? Like, two days, and you are cheating? Because your wife is terrified of having sex? Gross. <----------. I'm actually not opposed to a forgiveness storyline, but this was just ... ugh. I will say though, Luca has the most growth in the book.
The romance ... well, there isn't a whole lot of it. I liked them getting to know one another better, but it wasn't romantic. The steam was good. *shrugs*
I did love the fact that the violence and the control the men exert over the women wasn't glorified. It is a shitty part of this world, and it continues to be shitty. Then men in particular, admit to not being good men, and don't strive to be. And the women don't pretend otherwise as well. They know their husbands are bad men. They know a part of them is bad as well, because they don't do anything to stop it.
I honestly wasn't going to continue with the series, but after reading the synopsis for the next one, I am very intrigued. While I found myself entertained in this book, I wasn't drawn in. Don't expect those reviews until after the New Year though, as this December will be all about the holiday romances, and my top ten lists of the year. The way women were treated, and was Luca is caught doing left a bad taste in my mouth, despite the "happily ever after" ending. I am not sure if I will continue the whole series. We will see.
Loved her little brother giving Luca a deadly look, wanting to protect his big sister <3
Luca faking the blood on the sheets, sparing Aria from having sex before she was ready
Gianna was ON FIRE after Aria caught Luca, and I fucking loved it.
Luca teaching Aria how to protect herself
Despite not being a violent person, I'm totally okay with what happened to the guy who drugged Aria
Gianna: "Father always says we’re the weak sex because we don’t carry around guns. We have our own weapons, Aria, and you’ll have to start using them. If you want to survive a marriage with that man, you’ll have to use your body to manipulate him. Men, even cold-hearted bastards like them, have a weakness, and it hangs between their legs.” Aria: “I bet you’re already regretting your decision,”
I didn’t need to explain; he knew what I meant. Without a word, he returned to the wash table, picked up the brush and resumed what he’d been doing before. I was on my way into the bedroom, when his voice startled me.
I glanced back and met his eyes.
Luca: “When I claim your body, I want you writhing beneath me in pleasure and not fear.” Gianna: "You haven’t slept with him yet, right?”
Aria: “No, I haven’t. That’s probably why he’s off cheating on me.”
Gianna: “Don’t you dare blame yourself, Aria. Any decent man would have kept his dick in his pants or used his hand.” Gianna: “How noble of him to agree to not cheat on you again and actually try to make the marriage work. Give that man flowers.” Aria: “You’re impressive, you know?”
I babbled. Luca scanned my face, then pressed a palm against my forehead. Luca: “Your marriage to me shackles you to the mafia. Blood and death will be your life as long as I live.”
Aria: “Then so be it. I’ll go where you go no matter how dark the path.” Luca: “Love is a risk in our world, and a weakness a Capo can’t afford.”
Aria: “I know,”
I said even as my throat corded up. Luca’s eyes shot open, fierce and blazing with emotion.
Luca: “But I don’t care because loving you is the only pure thing in my life.” Aria: “I don’t want to rest. I want to make love to you.”
Luca looked pained.
Luca: “I’m going to hurt you. Your stitches could rip open.”
I trailed my hands down over his chest, his taut stomach until I brushed the bulge in his boxers.
Aria: “He agrees with me.”
Luca: “He always does, but he’s not the voice of reason, believe me.”