Beauty and the Beast Mafia Style
I enjoyed this tale of the Daughter to the Mafia Consigliere who drove his wife to commit suicide with his ambition for money and power. He treated his daughter like a prisoner and she rebelled by flirting with his men until one day he did something unforgivable and treated her in a way she couldn’t forgive. Arabella ran and hid out in the only place she could get work for cash under the table with no documentation, a strip club.
Years later her father’s men find her and warn her that she may be in danger but she doesn’t believe them and is not about to accept their help if it means going back to living under his thumb. That night she is kidnapped on the way home and brought to a warehouse where she is forced to live in a cage.
She knows the men are sex traffickers and from things she hears, she figures out they work for the same Mafia family that her father does but she can’t figure out if they know who she is or not. She asks the man in charge, Domineco, if he knows who she is and he says yes. But she isn’t sure if he means he knows she is a stripper named Ella or the Consigliere’s daughter named Arabella.
Ari slowly starts finding herself more and more attracted to the handsome Capo with the scar across his face. Domineco claims Ari as his and plucks a petal from a rose every day. Ari knows it is some sort of count down but she is not sure if it is to her sale or to her death. However she is afraid that telling him who her father is will not do any good if it was her father who had her kidnapped to begin with, so she keeps her mouth shut.
I thought the world building was spectacular, the struggle and angst were believable, the romance was hot. The Mafia setting was perfect for this story. There were a few small detractors, like the fact that Domineco was a human trafficker and he said he didn’t really like the job but he did it because he was loyal to the family. Also he didn’t rape women and he fell for Ari pretty quickly and then he just wanted to protect her. But then this other girl came in and he had no problem selling her to the highest bidder and seeing her as property. He even referred to Ari as property. I just don’t see it. I don’t think you can just be indifferent to human trafficking and sexual slavery. Either you get off on it (even if for just the power and the money) or you hate it with a passion. But that is just a guess on my part.