— BLURB —
F o r b i d d e n D e l i g h t s by Cora Reilly
A Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles Short Story
Stella is a forbidden fruit Mauro isn’t allowed to taste.
Not only because she isn’t promised to him, but also because she’s his step-sister.
She used to be his annoying shadow, the little girl he needed to protect and babysit. Now she’s all grown-up and he can’t stop noticing. Being locked into a panic room with her might be the ultimate test for his self-control…
Mauro has always been Stella’s protector and ally, until she starts to see him as more. Afraid of his reaction, she hides her attraction. But can she keep doing so when they’re trapped in a small room all alone?
— MY REVIEW —
I love my mafia romances. And more specifically I love Cora Reilly’s mafia romances. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read her novella that was included in the Love in Lockdown romance anthology. 😊
But let me ask you this…
Have you ever felt a little creeped out or iffy about romances that centers around step or foster siblings — thinking it’s a little too close to incest despite the fact that they’re technically not blood related… but still, you know… weird?
Haha. No? Just me then? 😅 It’s why I usually steer clear of any romance reads with this trope. I’ve read some pretty disturbing ones in the past and it’s a big reason as to why it’ll never be one of the tropes I look for.
So, reading the blurb for Forbidden Delights, I had my doubts. But you know what? I really shouldn’t have doubted Cora or her writing talents because any concerns I had about a step-sibling romance went right out the window. What I saw between Mauro and Stella is yes, a familial affection from having grown up together but it also goes deeper than that. It also displayed blossoming young love between two people who truly care about one other. No weird factor present! Yay!
“The mafia world was built on rules. Rules never to be broken.”
“One of those rules was not to desire a girl that wasn’t promised to you…”
This a forbidden/ secret romance set in a dark mafia world, but their story is full of warmth and lightness. As much as I love a good, gritty mafia romance, having the mafia side of things be in the backdrop to their increasing closeness was refreshing. Sometimes you just need a love story with less drama. 😉 I enjoyed reading their points of view and seeing Stella and Mauro try and navigate through their feelings. It’s adorable seeing their thoughts mirror each other but in fear of their relationship changing for the worse or their feelings not being reciprocated, they keep it to themselves.
*whispers* The bed scenes are a highlight. I could not stop giggling! 🤭🤭
So little time to tell their story, yet it packed a punch full of chemistry, heart and hope! Being trapped alone certainly gave this story suspense.
How much are they willing to risk?
How far will they go?
Will they get caught? *dum dum duuuum!*
“You look as if you got a jail sentence. Is it really so bad to stay with me?”
I can’t say anything bad about either one of these characters because they’re both likable. Stella’s a teenager, and whilst she’s been shied away from the mafia side of their family, she has a maturity about her and knows the seriousness of the business. (Although seeing her crushing on Mauro is totally teen-like… and quite understandable). 😜 Mauro’s character screams thoughtful and protective from beginning to end. I swooned over the fact that he always considered Stella and her feelings first. Ladies, he’s a gentleman. *fans self*
This was a relatively short story (even for a novella) but Cora has managed to add in world-building — even if you’re not familiar with her Mafia world, it’s described in this novella well enough for you to get a gist of the importance of both Stella’s step-father and Mauro’s positions in the business and the dangers of being involved in it. You also get a good sense of her family dynamics and the type of relationship she has with her mother.
I like the idea of Mauro and Stella against the world (or in this case, against their family and “the rules”). Their bond is evident and relatable. They share lighthearted banter here and there, but mostly reminiscing over sweet memories of their childhood. They have a very close relationship, developing from brother and sister to something more… but thank fuck it didn’t come off as disturbing or nauseating. Lol.
Ugh. This was too good to pass up. But too short of a story! 😭 I only hope this isn’t the last time we hear of Mauro and Stella. And I hope that if we do see them in future books that they get the ultimate happily ever after! 🙏
Highly recommended for Cora Reilly fans that want more of her mafia world. Don’t sit on this one if you already have a copy of Love in Lockdown, but have yet to read any of it.
Side note: While Forbidden Delights is part of Cora Reilly’s mafia world, it doesn’t affect or directly connect to any of the storylines with her Born In Blood series. This can be read on it’s own.
L o v e I n L o c k d o w n — ( C h a r i t y A n t h o l o g y )
A state of isolation, close proximity, or confinement.
Join fourteen bestselling authors as they distract YOU from lockdown with this collection of all-new short and steamy stories.
There’s no escaping… love is catching.
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Catch you in my next one. Happy reading, guys! Xo