ARC Review: A Cruel Arrangement (Kings of New York, #2). ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A Cruel Arrangement by Tijan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From New York Times bestselling author Tijan comes the intensely passionate story of a man trying to make amends and the woman who makes him want to keep his promises.

This was my place. My business. Easter Lanes.

Then a guy comes in, trying to rob me, daring to take it away from me.

My home. My life.

Hell no. I won’t let my livelihood be threatened.

No one knows what I’ve done to build this life for myself.

Except he might.

Ashton Walden, a man I remember from when we were kids.

Even back then I could tell how dangerous he would be one day.

He’s now the head of the Walden mafia family, and my father is so in debt to them that they practically own him.

My dad and I are estranged and I want nothing to do with him or his debt, but the day after the attempted robbery, I don’t wake up in the hospital.

I wake up in Ashton Walden’s home. And he drops a bomb on me.

If I want my livelihood back, I need to earn it back.

And thus begins our cruel arrangement.

A Cruel Arrangement

Kings of New York!

The following ratings are out of 5:
Romance: 💚🖤💙❤️💖
Heat/Steam: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Story/Plot: 📕📗📙📘📔
World building: 🌏🌍🌎🌏🌍
Character development: ☹️🙃😍😘

The heroine: Molly Easter – her father has always let her down. He works for the Walden mafia and owes them more money than he can ever repay. Though the one thing Molly learned from him was how to con. She grew up in foster care, but still has some sort of relationship with her father and when he called her to bail him out of jail, she conned him into selling her his struggling bowling alley, which she has since turned into a thriving business. So when it is threatened by an armed gunman, she defends the place with everything she has.

The Hero: Ashton Walden – since his uncles and grandfather were murdered several months ago, he has taken over the family business and is now fully in charge of the Walden mafia. Though he was in a legitimate business before that, he is fully capable of running it well. He is as brutal as he needs to be and has a stellar education and all the business acumen to be a great leader.

The Story: when Molly ends up in unconscious in the hospital, Ashton thinks it is time to let her in on some information she hadn’t known about her father. She is now beholden to him and promises to do some things for him. I liked this one better than A Dirty Business from the start, since I wasn’t too fond of Jess’s chosen profession as a parole officer.

I love just about everything that Tijan writes and I love the fact that this series is about a different couple in each book. Though it is still better to read them in order, I love the fact that we aren’t getting stuck with a huge cliffhanger that leaves the book feeling unfinished. Though there was a bit of a cliffhanger in the last book, it wasn’t one that the romance depended on to be complete.

I also kind of love the fact that she does mafia so well even though she doesn’t pigeonhole it into a cookie cutter, Italian mafia, Irish mafia or Russian Bratva type of stereotype. In this book she has the Walden mafia, the West mafia, the Worthing mafia, in other books she has done the Bennett mafia. With these names, they could be any race, color or nationality. I think that is great.

I really liked Molly from the start. She was from a bad background but picked herself up through hard work and effort and she is an independent woman, but is also vulnerable and has her own distinctive issues and problems. I love the fact that Ashton is a strong, dominant figure from the start, even though with the recent death of his family, he is also dealing with quite a lot.

“I say ‘like’ because in my family, what we do, if you ‘love,’ then you’re considered weak. My family wasn’t weak. I might admit that I ‘cared’ about them, but love . . . I’ll never say that word. Once you ‘love’ someone, you will lose them.”

Like I have said before in my reviews, Tijan is a master at writing great characters and it is never just the main characters in her books that have distinctive personalities. She writes terrific friends, foes and everything in between, but especially the friends. Trace and Jess from A Dirty Business featured prominently in this book and I really loved the friendship/brotherhood between Ashton and Trace.

I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.


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