by Cora Reilly
Standalone - but connected to Cora Reilly's Mafia Chronicles
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.
Sweet Temptation is a standalone in Cora Reilly's Mafia Chronicles. It centers around Cassio, a recently widowed Underboss, and Giulia, the daughter of another Underboss under Luca's rule. When Cassio is left with two small children to raise, he knows he needs help. And in his world, tradition must be followed. Which is how he ends up with Giulia, recently turned eighteen. Giulia knew she would have to marry whoever her father chose for her, but never expected someone 14 years older than her - or to become a mother to two small children. But just because tradition has brought them together, doesn't mean Giulia is going to settle as a nanny. She will fight for the family she wants, no matter the cost.
I hated that I enjoyed this. Why? Well, it is entertaining. I became invested in the story. BUT ... it doesn't make sense. The whole time, I'm thinking - why not hire a nanny or two? Why not take his child to a therapist? But whatever. It's fine. Put that aside, and I liked it. The relationship between Giulia and Cassio is great (and yes, Cassio's "test", and his freak out with Giulia's brother were shitty, BUT by the time you get to the end of the book, you get it), the sex is great, consensual, and fun to read. When everything comes out regarding Cassio's late wife, it is truly shocking and unexpected. And while I am not a fan of children in my romances (and I defend this by saying I'm a mom, I love my kids, but my books is my mental escape from the stresses of parenting and adulting), I was invested in the children. I am wondering if Cora Reilly has any experience with young children. Because the typical 2/3 year old does not speak the way this child does. But again, whatever.
Did I enjoy this because its good? Not really. I have a love/hate thing going on with Cora Reilly's work. It's not particularly good writing, but the idea behind it is good. Does that make sense? No. Let's just leave it at I hate the I like it. I keep going back to her books, so she is doing something right. I will say though, this is one of the better books she has written.
Their first time
Giulia with the dog and kids
The Beach House
Daniele saying goodnight to Giulia
Giulia saying they were her kids too. Theirs.
Giulia fighting for the truth to remain hidden
Mom: “I’m not sure Cassio will approve of your sullenness… or your bangs.”
Dad: “She looks fine, Egidia,”
Mom: “She looks pretty and young, not sophisticated and ladylike.”
Giulia: “If Cassio wants a lady, he should stop robbing cradles,” I muttered. Cassio: “I gave you an order.”
Giulia: “It seems I’m as badly trained as your dog.” She wasn’t what I’d wanted in a wife, but hell, if she wasn’t exactly what I needed. Giulia: “What is it?”
Cassio: “It would defy the purpose of gift wrapping if I told you.” Giulia: "They aren’t just your kids. They are mine too. You can’t call them yours when you see fit. They are always ours, yours and mine. Maybe not by blood, but I’d bleed for them all the same. So don’t talk to me like these two kids don’t mean anything to me when they mean everything. Just like their stubborn, idiotic father.” Simona nodded wide-eyed and stared at Giulia’s still flat stomach.
Simona: “Can it hear me?”
She leaned down.
Simona: “Please be a little sister. Boys are annoying.”
Daniele: “Hey! You’re annoying.”
Daniele had talked with his mouth full and a few noodles fell out when he spoke. Simona wrinkled her nose.
Simona: “You stink.”
Daniele swallowed and let out a burp.
Daniele: “That stinks.”
Giulia: “Enough. We’re having dinner.”
Daniele nodded, but he kept his eyes on Simona. Simona stroked Giulia’s belly as if it was a magic lamp and would grant her a wish before she returned to her place. Daniele stuck his food-covered tongue out at her. She hit him. I gave Giulia a look. You really want another one of these?
Giulia: “I can’t wait for another one,” Luca: “A man would be dead for threatening me.”
Giulia: “I’m not a man.”