By Fate I Conquer
by Cora Reilly
Book 4 in the Sins of the Fathers Series
Do you believe in love at first sight?
In a love so strong and bright, it ignites you even in your darkest hours? Do you believe that somewhere in this world there’s someone who’s destined to be your other half? Your soulmate?
Until I met her.
Protected mafia princess from the madmen of Las Vegas, she’s forbidden to me.
My love for my family and my animals was all I needed. I never thought I’d fall in love. Until I met him.
Amo Vitiello. Future Capo of the Famiglia. Cruel and cold. The smiles that he has only for me quiet the chaos in my head.
What if you find your soulmate at the wrong time?
I knew the cruelest men, and yet nothing could ever be crueler than fate itself.
By Fate I Conquer is the fourth book in Cora Reilly's Sins of the Fathers series. This one was surprising for me, to be honest. I don't normally like love at first sight stories. I tend to find it an easy gimmick to rush through the actual romance, to get to the steam. In By Fate I Conquer, the love at first sight trope works. Primarily because despite Aro falling head over heels with Greta so quickly, Cora doesn't skimp on them building up to the climax. Their chemistry didn't feel forced. For a mafia romance, it was oddly romantic. I'm thankful for that, as it honors Greta's character.
One of the things I enjoyed about this book were the risks felt truly dangerous for Aro. The forbidden romance was actually forbidden. Hell, they both almost die just for being around one another. As someone who loves a good forbidden romance, this was *chef's kiss*. Who knew Aro would be such a romantic?
Another thing I loved about this book was that we were back with the Camilla family for at least half of it. It's weird that the most brutally infamous family is the one I enjoy the most, but its all because oh how the women are treated, and they genuinely love one another. I mean, the other families do as well, but I feel it more with the Camilla family. I hate how the men are when it comes to the business, but I love the moments between Nevio and Greta, Remo and Greta, and Nino and Greta, who understands her most of all. Then of course, there is Greta and Serafina, and the amazing gift Greta and Amo are given by her. They throw all those customs out the window that the other families follow. They are insanely protective though as well. I thoroughly enjoyed getting a hint of a future book - specifically Nevio. Considering he is definitely a bit unhinged, I'm curious about how a relationship with him would even work.
Aro and Greta's story may have begun with instant chemistry and love, but it works because Cora builds up their bond throughout the book, and leaves the reader in no doubt that they truly love one another. Despite the brutally of the men in this world, you can't help but root for them all to have a happy ending.
Greta: “I fear what you’re capable of. I fear for the people who’ll cross your path in an unfortunate moment.”
Nevio: “That’s how nature works, you know? There’s dark and light, there must be. Maybe it’s the same with twins, but it wasn’t split evenly between us. I got all the darkness and you got all the light.” Greta: “I won’t ever run from you, Nevio. I’ll always be at your side, no matter what.”
Nevio: “You swear?”
Greta: “I swear.” Greta: “I love you, Dad.”
Dad pressed a kiss to my temple.
Remo: “I love you more than life itself, Mia Cara. Never forget that.” Remo: “There’s darkness all around you, pitch-black like hell itself, and no matter how hard I try to protect you from it, some of it will inevitably touch you because you are part of this family. But I swear I’ll make sure no other darkness comes close to touching you.” Her eyes settled on my face.
Greta: “I never thought about kissing someone. But I think with you I could imagine having my first kiss one day.” Maximus turned his head, looking honestly concerned.
Maximus: “You can have almost any girl, why pick the one you can’t?”
I hadn’t picked her. I had lain eyes on her and had been a goner. Fuck, if I knew how that was possible. Greta: “Love and logic don’t go together, do they?”
Nino: “Logic told me it was useful to love my wife so I did eventually.”
I laughed because I doubted that was how it happened. Kiara told a different story. Maybe Nino just preferred his more restrained take on things. Greta: “How do I know if I’m in love?”
Nino’s body became tauter.
Nino: “I’m not the best person to ask.”
Greta: “I think you’re the best person I could ask.”
Nino gave a nod.
Nino: “It’s not easy to put into words, even for me. I’m not an expert in this field.”
Greta: “You love Kiara, despite your emotional struggles.”
Nino: “I do.”
Greta: “How did you know?”
Nino: “Before Kiara there was calm and then suddenly there was chaos. It was frustrating at first but then I learned to enjoy it.”
I bit my lip. Amo quieted the chaos in my head. Maybe this, too, was a sign. Mom looked at him then at me, her expression softening further.
Serafina: “Leaving my family, it was an impossible choice until it wasn’t, until only one choice remained.” I’d grown up among cruel men. But fate was so much crueler than any of them. Amo Vitiello was my soulmate… …and now married to another woman. Remo: “Greta doesn’t need to marry to be a queen. Only by existing, she’s shining brighter than most ever will,” Greta: “I don’t know what to do anymore.”
Amo: “Last time we saw each other, I told you I wouldn’t save you again.”
Greta: “I’m not sure I need saving. I’m not sure I can be saved.” She nodded, but her despair remained.
Greta: “What if this ends badly?”
Amo: “What if it doesn’t?”
She put her cheek against my chest.
Greta: “How could it not?” Greta: “I love your scent,”
I murmured, then yawned.
Greta: “And the way your body feels against mine. And your smile. Love’s such a curious thing. No logic, no reason.”
I drifted off, my words coming out garbled to my own ears.
Greta: “How do you know if you love someone?” Amo: “You deserve so much better. You deserve to be worshipped like a queen.”
Greta: “Don’t you worship me?”
Amo: “You are a queen in my eyes. My shadow queen.”
Greta: “I’m gladly your shadow queen. I don’t need the light.”
Amo: “But you deserve it.” Amo: “I work my ass off for the Famiglia, Dad. I’ve given my life to the cause. Fuck I married a woman I despise with all my heart for the cause, so don’t tell me I’m not doing enough. When your job for the Famiglia is done you return to Mom, not an empty apartment or a townhouse with a woman that you can’t trust. You get your fucking reprieve, so I won’t fucking apologize for trying to get my mind off things once or twice a month for a day or two.” Luca: “I’m willing to spill as much blood as it takes.”
Luca released a long breath.
Luca: “If you think she’s worth it—”
Amo: “She is.”
Luca: “Then I stand by your side and spill as much blood as it takes. I’ve spilled blood for far less.”
I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore and Valerio wrapped his arms around my neck from behind, his chin on top of my head.
Valerio: “Blood spill, in time for Christmas. What a jolly message. Born in Blood, Sworn in Blood indeed.” I bent down and kissed Serafina’s forehead.
Remo: “I’ll think about it for you and for Greta, but now I’ll have to spill the blood of Greta’s attacker and he’ll meet my cruelest side.”
Serafina gave me a strange smile.
Serafina: “I hope he begs for mercy and you won’t grant it.”
I brushed my lips over hers.
Remo: “You know me.” She pushed to her feet.
Amo: “You are the only heavily pregnant woman who wears eight-inch heels,”
Amo said with a tight smile.
Marcella: “Four and a half inches, Amo. Men really need to measure right. And I’m six months along, I won’t pop out this baby tomorrow, so chill. We have other things to worry about.”
Maddox gave her a grin I didn’t want to dwell on. Matteo: "We spilled enough blood in the months that followed. Now we’ll settle our differences and join forces as a very messed up family.” I reached his side when Remo threw a knife at the man I’d choked moments before, impaling it in his throat, causing blood to spew out and cover everyone around.
Remo: “I could tell he was going to say something to piss me off again,”
Remo said with that twisted grin. Remo: “We can all count ourselves lucky if I manage not to kill Luca for insisting on the bloody sheet tradition. Everything else would be a miracle.”
Greta: “I’m fine with the sheets.”
I bit my lip.
Greta: “You sent sheets of your first night with Mom to the Outfit Capo and her parents, so I think you’ll be brave enough to see my wedding night sheets.”
Remo: “If I’d known my future daughter would find out about this and use it against me, I would have reconsidered my decision.”
Serafina: “You wouldn’t have,”
Mom said, stepping out of the bedroom in her white nightgown and messy bed-hair.
Serafina: “You got a kick out of it.” Greta: “I thought I wouldn’t get the talk.”
Serafina: “It’s not a sex talk. It’s a talk about consent and your emotional wellbeing.” Remo got up but he walked over to me. He handed me a couple of printed out photos. I cocked an eyebrow when I scanned them. They showed a blood-splattered room. The bed in the center was an even worse mess. It looked as if they’d slaughtered a pig on it. But it wasn’t an animal carcass that lay sprawled on the bed. If Remo thought he could intimidate me with these images, he forgot what my last name was. I’d pummeled a biker to a bloody pulp with a hammer as a teen when we’d saved Marcella.
Remo: “When you’re thinking about creating bloody sheets tonight, remember what Nino and I did to Kiara’s uncle at the last big wedding between the Camorra and the Famiglia.”
Dad got up too and shook his head.
Luca: “You took photos of the fucking mess you created back then? It took weeks to renovate the room. You acted like barbarians.”
Amo: “Thanks for the pleasant images before the happiest day in my life.”
Remo narrowed his eyes at Dad.
Remo: “Many would call it barbaric to get off on virgin blood covered sheets.”
I gritted my teeth and sought Matteo’s eyes in the mirror, trying to give him a silent sign to remove those two from the room, or at least Remo. Dad smirked.
Luca: “I’m half tempted to call Dante so he can tell us how kindly he took your presentation of the sheets of your first night with Serafina.”
Remo: “At least I presented real sheets.”
Matteo shook his head and handed them both flasks.
Matteo: “Take a few gulps of this special concoction. It’ll lift your mood.”
Amo: “What about me? The groom usually gets a flask.”
Matteo: “You need your wits about you. Tonight’s a special night, I don’t want you to pass out too soon.” Luca: “I don’t think this is necessary, but I’ll tell you anyway. Treat your wife like a queen tonight. The Famiglia is the place to lose control and allow the monster to come out, never your marriage or family.”
Amo: “You don’t have to tell me, Dad, because you showed me all my life.” The blood-stained sheet spanned between the two as they turned to the crowd. I glanced at the Falcones. Nevio stood slowly, pulled his knife while Massimo poured liquid from a flask on a cloth napkin, which Nevio pierced with the blade, and Alessio lit it up with a lighter. Greta followed my gaze and so did a few others, like my dad, Matteo and Remo. Nobody did anything. Nevio hurtled the knife with practiced precision through the room so it cut through the sheet and let it burst into flames. My aunts and the other women around it let out screams and dropped the burning sheet. Soon the carpet was burning too.
Nevio: “If someone still wants to see blood, they can come to me and I’ll show them their own!”
Nevio shouted while the fire spread on the carpet. With a howl the fire alarm began and a moment later water exploded from the sprinklers above our heads, extinguishing the fire and bathing us in cold water.
Amo: “I knew it,”
I muttered. Greta peered up at me with an embarrassed smile, her hair plastered to her face. Soon her dress became see-through. I removed my jacket and draped it over her shoulder.
Amo: “I knew it would never get boring with you.” Dad stepped in behind him and clapped Amo’s shoulder a bit too hard.
Remo: “Congrats on the first Famiglia Capo to be born in Las Vegas.”