• BLURB •
Rapture, desire, need – the yearning for our passions is the reason we strive, the reason we breathe. I’ve devoted my entire existence to the pursuit of my passion for dance. Ballet is my escape from the dark underworld I was born in to. As a Carpella and the daughter of a made man, I’ve accepted certain traditions. Yet, having just been promoted to principal within a prestigious dance company, I’m so close to being free…
Until a devil with blood on his hands and an Irish curse inked into his skin tears into my world, now passion holds a whole new, sinister meaning. With ruination in his steel-blue eyes and me in his crosshairs, Lucian Cross traps me in his gilded cage and uses me to deliver his retribution.
Forced to sign a marriage contract to unite two warring families, my father traded my life to save his own. Now I’m bound to Lucian, owned by a monster who swore an oath of pain and suffering to the Carpellas.
Lucian’s passion is revenge.
And because my family destroyed what he loved, he’s vowed to destroy what I love. Every night he forces me to dance until my breaking point. He wants to condition me to loathe the very thing that once gave me hope.
I can’t let him break me, but the closer we get to the wedding date, the more entangled I become in his dangerous, tempting world, and I’m losing myself in this man.
His vow is my pain.
My vow is not to fall for the enemy.
But how can I dance with the devil himself and not be singled by his fire?
• MY REVIEW •
I have never read a romance story with a slow-burn romance that tortured me as badly with how sluggish it developed than this book right here! My gosh, it was like a gradual teasing build-up that led to more teasing and a whole lot of sexual frustration and torture for both protagonists… and *cough cough* me. 🤦♀️😅 If you enjoy angsty, SLOOOOW slow-burn mafia romance reads, this story might just be for you!
Trisha Wolfe is a new-to-me author and this was my introduction to her writing. Marriage & Malice sets a gritty almost squirm-inducing atmosphere right from the opening scene. I was instantly immersed, needing to know what’s to become of Violet and Lucian in this all-out mafia war and enemies-to-lovers story.
Italian mafia vs the Irish syndicate, and caught in the crossfire is Violet who spent most of her life outside of it, training as a ballerina. The premise of the two worlds merging was what initially had me interested in reading this story and it doesn’t disappoint in terms of seeing a nice balance of both elements. There’s an obvious dynamic between Violet and Lucian the minute they meet and it only intensifies the longer they’re in forced proximity.
I did enjoy the build-up to their relationship and the suspense surrounding them. I only wish it didn’t take as long to admit their feelings for one another, and because of that I felt like by the time they were in it for more than the initial arranged marriage and Lucian’s vengeance, the emotions they were feeling wasn’t as in-depth or believable as I was hoping for.
For the most part it was steady-paced storytelling, only occasionally slowing down in certain parts. It’s told from dual POVs and gives you excellent insight into both Violet’s and Lucian’s pasts. Their romance is undoubtedly steamy and their growing attraction for one another is one of the most tantalizing things you can expect to see.
Overall, it had suspense, some unpredictability, and the secondary characters helped create layers in the world-building. It’s a pretty grim and dark atmosphere throughout and putting aside the romance aspect of the story, it has subject matters that may be triggering for some readers. It contains attempted sexual assault, graphic violence, abuse/ torture.
Whilst both protagonists have some character growth, it’s Lucian, in my opinion who had the most development. The further you delve into the story the more you see the subtle changes in not only his demeanor but his mentality towards Violet as he struggles with keeping his revenge. It may be a love story (albeit a dark one), but Lucian is the central character here and the story revolves around his agenda.
As much as I like this book, I do however feel an epilogue is very much needed, whether or not Trisha decides to revisit this world in the future. The ending just didn’t feel complete for a story that’s supposedly a standalone and I was left wanting more for their HEA. 🤔
Nevertheless, I think it’s a great addition to the Underworld Kings. It certainly brings in the darkness, the world of Made Men, along with complexity, villainous characters, and ulterior motives one can hope for in a romantic suspense read. The scenes with Violet dancing were beautiful, and such a contrast to the death and violence that consumed a large portion of the storyline. Lucian is Irish and a real alpha-hole… but for good reason. Violet is thrust back into the world she was born into and discovers she has more grit in her than anyone (including herself) could’ve ever imagined.
If you enjoy reading hate-to-love romances with a dark mafia backdrop to them, give this one a read.
Thank you Trisha Wolfe and the entire Underworld Kings team for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜
💀 More reviews for the Underworld Kings! 👑
Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo