by Cora Reilly
Book 1 in the Camorra Chronicles
Fabiano was raised to follow in his father’s footsteps as Consigliere of the Chicago Outfit – until the man abandons him.
Left to fend for himself, Fabiano is forced to fight for a place in the mafia world. As a ruthless street fighter, he quickly earns his place as the new Enforcer of the Las Vegas Camorra – a man to fear.
Leona wants to build a decent life for herself, away from her drug-addicted mother. But soon she catches the attention of a dangerous man – Fabiano Scuderi. Staying out of trouble and living a normal life are near impossible with a man like him.
Leona knows she needs to avoid Fabiano, but men like him aren’t easy to shake off. They always get what they want.
Fabiano cares about only one thing: the Camorra.
But his attraction to Leona soon puts his unwavering loyalty to the test. Is Leona worth risking everything he’s fought for, and ultimately his life?
Twisted Loyalties is the first book in Cora Reilly's Camorra Chronicles, which is a spin off from her Born in Blood Mafia series. Twisted Loyalties takes us from the East Coast, to the West, where the notorious and brutal Camorra rule, and the family Fabiano, from the Born in Blood series, has pledged himself to. Found by the Falcones when his father abandons him, he fights his way through the ranks of the Camorra, and becomes the Camorra's Enforcer, a man Vegas fears. Except for Leona, a young woman who recently moved to Vegas to get away from her drug addicted mother, and start a new life for herself. But a new life becomes an impossibility when she quickly learns her father is still a slave to his own addictions, and she catches the eye of the mysterious and dangerous Fabiano. She knows she should stay away from him. He knows he should keep his distance from an outsider. But when these two collide, Fabiano is forced to make a choice: Leona, or the Camorra.
I liked this one! Actually, I think I like this series more than the Born in Blood series. There is still some editing and translation issues, but its actually improved a lot from her other books. But what I like more is the story and characters. The Camorra have been talked about in the Born in Blood books since the beginning, described as ruthless, brutal, and not sparing the women. And while that is true, they also give the women more freedom. I was nervous going into this, because of everything that is hinted by the Camorra in the other series, and I was scared to see Fabiano do terrible things. And while he does do brutal things, he has stipulations, that are honored: he doesn't deal with women clients. And the men he does deal with, KNOW what they are getting into before they make the deals with the Camorra. I don't know. I guess the business side of it seemed fitting for the storyline. While I liked Leona, I found myself frustrated with her weakness when it comes to her parents. She puts up with A LOT, and puts up the bare minimum of fights. I just don't see her fighting for the new life she wants. But I do like Fabiano and Leona together. And Fabiano is right when he thinks that Leona is a lot like his sister Aria - easily the most submissive of the Scuderi sisters. I appreciated that the main conflict of the story was Fabiano falling for an outsider. The Born in Blood books got stale, and didn't feel overly unique, but this was refreshing. In the other books, its always talked about how outsiders were forbidden, and I like that it wasn't an easy path to get their HEA.
The Camorra Chronicles is definitely darker than the Born in Blood books, but so far not, it's not off-putting. I think Cora Reilly did a good job making this family stand apart from the others, and I find myself excited to start the next one.
Fabiano getting her a meal
Fabiano buying her the dress
Fabiano giving Leona the bracelet
Fabiano killing her father
Fabiano bargaining for her life
Remo forgiving Fabiano
Leona: “No suit but still all black. I take it you like it dark,”
Fabiano: “You have no idea.” My mother had always said I was a fixer, that I needed something broken so I could see if I was capable of mending it—injured animals, sick people, broken-down cars. Her. She’d said it would get me in trouble one day. Because people couldn’t be fixed, and one day I’d find someone so broken, he’d break me before I could mend him. Was that what had drawn me to Fabiano from that very first second? Had I sensed that something about him was broken and I needed to fix it? Leona: “I’m sure it’s a big no-no to take money from someone like you,”
I still held her wrist, and I could feel her pulse speeding up under my fingertips. I leaned down to her ear.
Fabiano: “It’s an even bigger no-no to refuse a gift from someone like me.” Fabiano: “You should get away from him.”
Leona: “He’s my father.”
Fabiano: “Sometimes we have to let go of our family if we want to amount to anything in life.” Leona: “I can’t believe how much you paid! I could have bought ten dresses at Walmart for that much money,”
she whispered as I led her out of the shop. I pressed my palm against the naked skin between her shoulder blades, relishing in her small shiver and the way goosebumps rose on her skin. That familiar blush spread over her cheeks. Before I opened the door, I leaned down to her, my lips brushing her ear.
Fabiano: “It’s worth every penny, trust me.” Fabiano: “Temere me, perché sono l’occhio e la spada,”
Fabiano said in what sounded to me like flawless Italian. He caressed the words with his tongue, almost as if he was their lover. A shiver raced down my back. How would it feel if he whispered words of passion into my ear in that same voice?
I cleared my throat, hoping he couldn’t tell how his closeness and voice affected me.
Leona: “What does it mean?”
Fabiano: “Fear me because I’m the eye and the blade.” Leona: “What do you want from me?”
Fabiano: “Everything.” Fabiano: “It’s only the beginning.” Fabiano: “I thought you didn’t drink,”
She raised those cornflower blue eyes to me. Against her deathly pale skin, her freckles stood out even more.
Leona: “Today is a good day to start, I think.”
She swallowed, lowering her gaze as if she couldn’t bear looking at me. She was still in shock.
Fabiano: “No, it’s not. Don’t let it happen.”
Leona: “Let what happen?”
Fabiano: “Don’t let my darkness drag you down.” Fabiano: “I betrayed for you, I killed for you. I’ll bleed and I’ll die for you.”