Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly
by Cora Reilly
Book 3 in The Camorra Chronicles
Remo Falcone is beyond redemption.
As Capo of the Camorra he rules with a brutal hand over his territory – a territory the Chicago Outfit breached.
Now Remo is out for retribution.
A wedding is sacred, stealing a bride sacrilegious.
Serafina is the niece of the Boss of the Outfit, and her hand has been promised in marriage for years, but kidnapped in her wedding dress on her way to church by Remo, Serafina quickly realizes that she can’t hope for saving. Yet, even in the hands of the cruelest man she knows, she is determined to cling to her pride, and Remo soon understands that the woman at his mercy might not be as easy to break as he thought.
A ruthless man on a quest to destroy the Outfit by breaking someone they are supposed to protect.
A woman intent on bringing a monster to his knees.
Two families that will never be the same.
Involves abduction. Please don't read if this is triggering for you.
Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly is the third book in her Camorra Chronicles, and centers around Camorra Capo Remo Falcone, and eldest daughter, and niece to to the Chicago Outfits's Capo, Seraphena. It's supposed to the happiest day of Seraphina's life. The day she is to marry the man she has been promised to for years. But the day quickly becomes one of the most terrifying days, when on the way to the church, she is taken by Remo Falcone, who wants revenge for the Outfit almost killing his brother. Remo's goal is to break Seraphina, but he quickly learns that Seraphina is not the type to easily break. Two people, prideful, strong, each trying to bring the other down.
What happened to me? Why do I like this? Why do I love a book that starts out with a kidnapping? Sigh. So I liked it! I was technically spoiled for the ending of this book, because I read Bound by the Past in the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles first. Despite the warning of spoilers, I didn't think I was going to continue with the spin off. But then I read it, and I had to know the story from Seraphina's and Remo's POV. And I don't regret it. Their chemistry is hot, even at the beginning, and it's because they are both alpha personalities. She might be the captive, but she is a force to be reckoned with, and Remo is constantly surprised by her. I think if he had treated her like shit during the time he had her, I would have hated it, but he wasn't terrible to her. Did it feel like Stockholm Syndrome? I mean ... yeah, kinda. Seraphina even questions it. But the fact that he fell for her too, it helped. The fact that he let her go, and 18 months later, she still loves him as a free woman ... it took that Stockholm syndrome feeling away for me. Aside from the romance aspect, I really appreciated Cora's emphasis on Seraphina's bond with her family - especially her twin Samuel. It makes ------------------> her sacrifice that much more emotional. Especially since, if you have read the other books, you know these people. You respect them, and you hurt for them. But you understand WHY it needs to happen. <------------------
I still am confused why I liked this book. In real life I would be horrified. I guess I justify it because it's fictional. And I'm a little messed up. And I love a good enemies to lovers trope, with characters with great chemistry. And you get that here.
Samuel and Seraphina's bond <3
Seraphina fighting back against Remo
Their first real kiss
Remo taking Seraphina running with him every morning
Remo sparing Samuel WITHOUT taking Seraphina up on what she was offering him in exchange
The sex oh my god
Can I add Seraphina getting a hold of the gun and pointing it at Remo's head, before slowly lowering it, and then fucking him. UM HOT.
Fabiano finally getting revenge on his father
Seraphina finding out she's pregnant
Remo turning himself over to save Adamo
Seraphina saving Remo, and telling him about the twins
Nino and Savio's reaction to the babies
Remo meeting his babies for the first time
Seraphina choosing to be with Remo
Remo inviting Samuel to their wedding so she could see her twin
Samuel: “You have an impossible temper.”
Seraphina: “I have your temper.”
Samuel: “I’m a man. Women are supposed to be docile.”
I rolled my eyes. Samuel crossed his arms and leaned against the wall beside the window.
Samuel: “You always act like a well-behaved lady when others are around, but Danilo will get a nasty surprise once he realizes he didn’t get a lady but a fury.” Seraphina: “He embarrassed me in front of Danilo, Dad.”
Samuel: “I told Danilo I’d rip his balls off if he didn’t treat her right on their wedding night.”
I scowled at my twin. He hadn’t mentioned that detail to me. Dad gave me a wistful smile, touching my cheek.
Dad: “My little dove.”
Then he moved to Samuel and clapped his shoulder.
Dad: “You did good.” I smiled up at my twin.
Seraphina: “My protector.”
Samuel smiled back.
Samuel: “Always.” Dad: “Dove, you’re the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen.”
Mom raised her eyebrows in mock shock. Dad laughed and took her hand, kissing her knuckles.
Dad: “You were, of course, a breathtaking bride, Ines.”
Sofia: “What about me? Maybe I will be even more beautiful?”
Dad lifted a finger.
Dad: “I will keep you as my little daughter forever. No marriage for you.” Remo: “I haven’t started playing, and you aren’t a mere chess piece. You are the queen.”
He took the knife and straightened, releasing me in the process. He stood slowly, drawing up to his full height and staring down at me.
Seraphina: “And what are you in this game of chess?”
I whispered harshly, still lying on the mattress.
Remo: “I’m the king.” Remo: "Is there a reason why you’re here disturbing my post-fuck-fury? "
Savio: “What’s the difference between that and your pre-fuck-fury?" Remo: “Fuck,”
I snarled and glared at Nino.
Remo: “Couldn’t you have chosen an airheaded wife? She’s as good at manipulation as you are.”
Nino’s mouth twitched and he looked proud. Fucking proud. Remo: “Your pride will be your downfall,”
Seraphina: “And your fury will be yours.”
Remo: “Then we’ll fall together. Isn’t that the beginning of every tragic love story?”
Seraphina: “We won’t have a love story. Not a tragic one, not a sad one, and definitely not a happy one. You can have my hatred,”
Remo: “I’ll take it. Hatred is so much stronger than love.” Remo: “They will protect your innocence at any cost because it’s the only pure thing in their fucking lives. They think your innocence could wash away their sins, but they breathe sin. We all do. One hundred virgins can’t wash the sin from our veins. Definitely not from mine.”
Seraphina: ”Not even an angel?”
I murmured, tilting my head up, peering at him through my lashes. My pulse throbbed in my veins, aware of the risk I was taking. But I was forced into Remo’s game, willing or not, and I could either be a pawn or a player. Something in Remo’s dark eyes shifted, something hungry and lethal unfurling. He leaned closer, his breath hot against my lips.
Remo: “You are playing a dangerous game, Angel.”
Seraphina: “So are you.” Remo: “That’s the kiss Danilo would have given you in church, and maybe even later on your wedding night. Polite. Controlled. Reverent. That’s not a kiss.”
Anger surged through me.
Remo’s mouth crashed down on mine, fingers bruising my hip as his other hand cradled my wrist between our bodies. His lips conquered mine, his tongue tasting the seam of my mouth, sucking at my tender lower lip, demanding entrance. Heat flushed through me, and my lips parted slightly. Barely. A flicker of submission and Remo plunged his tongue into my mouth, tasting me, consuming me. His taste was intoxicating, his body’s heat overpowering. His thumb pressed into my wrist, his palm sliding from my hip to my lower back. Small sparks of electricity followed in his touch’s wake. My head swimming, I was unable to pull back, unable to move at all. Finally, Remo let me free. I sucked in a desperate breath, lightheaded, confused, my body tingling from head to toe. Remo exhaled.
Remo: “That, Angel, was a kiss. It’s the only kind of kiss you’ll ever get from me, and it’s the kiss you’ll use to measure every kiss that follows.” Remo: “I thought Danilo was the man who owned your heart, but now I see I was wrong.”
I wiped at my eyes.
Seraphina: “He’s my twin. I’ve never been without him. I would walk through fire for him.”
Remo nodded slowly.
Remo: “I believe you.” Nino: “Telling you ‘I told you so’ one day will be as satisfying as annoying you with my logic.”
Remo: “It’s my game, Nino. I’m the best player on the field. I will win.”
Nino: “There won’t be any winners, Remo.” Seraphina: “What do you really want, Remo?”
He regarded me with unsettling intensity.
Remo: “You know what I want.”
Seraphina: “Body and soul,”
One corner of his mouth lifted.
Remo: “Body and soul.” Remo: “Gotcha,”
I murmured, panting, dripping sweat. Serafina’s chest heaved, her eyes indignant and furious.
Seraphina: “You enjoy the chase.”
Remo: “Actually, I don’t,”
I said in a low voice, bringing our lips closer.
Remo: “But with you I do.” Remo: “So strong. So very difficult to break.”
Seraphina: “You won. You broke me. I begged you. I’m offering you my body. Please spare Samuel.”
His eyes traveled the length of my body before they locked on mine once more.
Remo: “You aren’t broken, Angel. Sacrificing yourself for someone you love isn’t weakness.” Remo: “I’m not a patient man. You are playing with fire.”
Forcing down my nerves, I turned my face, bringing my own lips to his ear.
Seraphina: “Oh, Remo, I will be your first angel. Patience is a virtue, and you will be rewarded for it.”
I kissed his ear then trailed my tongue over the rim. His dark eyes said what I’d known all along. He possessed me. He owned me. I was the queen. He was the king. Checkmate. Seraphina: “You took something from me, true, but you’re not the only one doing the taking. Maybe you don’t see it yet, but with every bit you take from me, you’re giving me a bit of yourself in return, Remo, and you will never get it back.” Seraphina: “I’m only your captive. The queen in your game of chess. Something meaningless, easy to forget the moment you give me back.”
Even as I spoke the words, I couldn’t imagine Remo really letting me go, not with the way he looked at me, and I wasn’t sure if the realization terrified or relieved me. Because how could I return to the Outfit?
Remo; “Oh, Angel, forgetting you will be impossible.” Seraphina: “I hate you,”
I whispered as if saying the words aloud would make them true. Remo’s eyes bore into mine, filled with emotions, his mouth twisting in a dark smile because he knew. He moved closer, tongue sliding along the seam of my lips.
Remo: “Nothing tastes sweeter than your lips, even when they’re spewing lies, Angel.” Remo: “You are mine, Angel. Body and soul,”
And God help me, he spoke the truth. Remo leaned closer, his lips brushing my ear.
Remo: “I own you, Angel. Remember that. You gave me a part of yourself and you’ll never get it back. It’s mine no matter what happens next.”
Dante, Danilo, and my father looked on the verge of attacking, their body’s tense, expressions twisted with hatred and fury. They wanted to protect me when I no longer wanted saving, couldn’t be saved because I was irrevocably lost. I turned my head slightly, meeting Remo’s cold gaze.
Seraphina: “I’m not the only one who lost something. You gave me part of your cruel black heart, Remo, and one day you will realize it.” Matteo: “I still can’t stand your fucking face, Remo. But for this I might hesitate a millisecond before cutting your throat once we’re back to being enemies.”
Remo: “That millisecond will be the moment I’ll cut your head off, Matteo,”
I said with a twisted smile of my own. He released my hand.
Matteo: “May the craziest fucker win.” Adamo: “Don’t. Don’t do this. Don’t let them kill you because of me. I’m a fucking failure.”
I moved toward him and touched his head briefly.
Remo: “You are the one from all of us who deserves death the least, Adamo.”
I removed my hand from his head, but before I could move on, he grasped my forearm, his fingers curling over my Camorra tattoo.
Adamo: “It’s us against the world,”
Remo: “Us against the world,” Seraphina: “Our children are perfection but here, in the Outfit, they represent shame and dishonor. People whisper behind their backs, call them Falcones as if it is something sinful, something dirty. Our children are beautiful.”
My voice became fiercer with every word.
Seraphina: “They are meant to hold their heads high, not be ashamed for who they are. They aren’t meant to bow, aren’t meant to live in the shadows. They are meant to rule. They are Falcones. They belong in Las Vegas where their names carry power and respect. They are meant to rule at the side of the cruelest, bravest man I know. Their father.” Seraphina: “How strong are you, Remo Falcone?”
Remo: “Strong enough to take you and our children home where you all belong, Angel.” Savio shook his head.
Savio: “I’m not going to change diapers. I don’t give a fuck if Remo gives the order or not. I’m not going anywhere near someone else’s shit, baby or not.” Seraphina: “I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy,”
I admitted, not caring that I was being emotional in front of Remo. This was no longer a battle of wills, a twisted game of chess. These stakes were too high. Remo locked his gaze with mine.
Remo: “I know I’ve never been happier.” Remo: “Hardly anything worth having can be gained without loss, pain, and sacrifice.” Her body was weaker than mine. She wasn’t as harsh, cruel, or fearless. But God she was strong. Remo: "I won’t force you to be with me. You are free.”
Seraphina: “Free to do as I please,”
she murmured, warm and soft against me. Tantalizing.
Seraphina: “Even take another man into my bed?”
A burst of rage filled me. I wanted her for myself, wanted to remain the only man who’d ever tasted those perfect lips, who’d ever claimed her, but more than that I wanted her to want it, too. I swallowed my fury.
Remo: “Even that,”
I said then continued in a harsh whisper, Remo: “I won’t stop you. I won’t punish you for it.”
She smiled a knowing smile.
Seraphina: “But you will kill anyone who touches me.”
I brought our lips close.
Remo: “Not just kill them, obliterate them in the cruelest way possible for touching something they are unworthy of.”
Challenge flickered in her eyes.
Seraphina: “Are you worthy?”
I claimed her mouth, hard and desperate, before pulling back.
Remo: “Oh no, Angel. From the day I saw you, I knew I was the least worthy of them all.”
I should have never laid a hand on her, but I was a fucking bastard and had taken everything she was willing to give. Seraphina: “Is there something in there capable of love?”
Remo: “Whatever’s in there, it’s yours. Whatever love I’m capable of, it’s yours, too.” Remo: “Marry me, Angel.”
It still wasn’t a question, but his voice wasn’t dominant anymore. It was soft, compelling, raw.
Seraphina: “Become a Falcone?”
I murmured against his lips.
Remo: “Become a Falcone. Become mine.”
Seraphina: “I have been yours for a long time.” Chuckling, I took Nevio from him and hoisted him up on my hip despite his loud protest.
Nevio: “Mom, no. No. No. No!”
Remo: “I was so looking forward to them speaking. But Nevio enjoys the word ‘no’ a bit too much for my taste.”