Lies and love. This is how a war starts. A life for a life. That's the mafia way. Damian Rossi owes his life to a man who is ready to collect. That payment comes in the form of an arranged marriage to the daughter of another leading family in the Chicago Outfit. He's ready to follow through, even if that means making sure Lily knows she's his. Lily DeLuca isn't being given a choice. Forced home to marry a man she doesn't know and back into a life she'd rather forget, her world is full of half-truths, buried pain, and uncertainty. But Damian is nothing like she expects. His motives aren't clear. Her beliefs are being tested. When it comes to this world, no man can be trusted. Someone is ready to flip the Chicago Outfit on its side all for the promise of something better. But no one runs a clean game and these men play for keeps. When blood begins to paint Chicago red, four families will be divided by loyalty, hatred, and revenge. There is no hiding. There is no safety. No one is deathless. No one.
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I love mafia books because there's suspense, thrills, excitement, drama, sex, twists and turns; they're so exciting. Deathless & Divided doesn't disappoint.
There are four families involved in this mafia ring: The Rossi's, the DaLuca's, the Trantini's and the Cante's.
Lilly Daluca is the sister of Dino DaLuca. Dino has let Lilly travel Europe for 3 years and has now told her she needs to come home. Dino is going to prison and for Lilly's safety arranged a marriage between Lilly and Damien Rossi. Damien owes Dino his life so he agrees to the marriage. Lilly on the other hand is furious even though she knows arranged marriages are common in the mafia.
There is a lot of deceit, betrayal, and revenge that takes place before and after the wedding. Lilly and Damien do fall in love before the wedding but they don't have their HEA yet. The story is to be continued.
Roberto Scarlato gave a good performance. It takes a little getting used to his female voices.
This is my first book by Bethan-Kris and I'm looking forward to more of her stories.
4 "Arranged Marriages & Mafia Ghosts" for the story and 4.5 narration stars!
Being a big fan of mafia romances, I'm always looking for a new one to fill my bad boy fill! I mean who doesn't love sexy, alpha, bad boy heroes who pursue their business with the same flare as their scorching hot romantic relationships? Filled with plenty of suspense and hot encounters between the hero and heroine, Deathless & Divided definitely fit my mafia romance craving and beyond that also brought an interesting perspective where supposed mafia brothers battled with more than just their known rivals, bringing a whole new meaning to hidden ghosts and secret agendas! Additionally, not only was the story line satisfying, but the narration by Roberto Scarlatto was also top-notch making this a great title to choose in audiobook format.
Those of you who read/listen to mafia romances know that arranged marriages are common, and indeed, seen as a common way to unite families and do business in the mafia world. In Deathless and Divided, Lily Deluca learns that even though she is an orphan who has been spared the mafia world for a number of years while she explored Europe, she still owes the same obligations to her family. The only difference being that in this case it's her older brother who is making the marriage business decision rather than her father (who was killed for being a traitor).
Lily really resents being told who she must marry even if she can't help but feel a natural attraction to Damian "Ghost" Rossi, the man her brother has chosen for her to marry. Of course, Damian has his own reasons for agreeing to the union, including a debt he owes to Lily's brother. Still I found it interesting that rather than regret the imposition, Damian takes his commitment to Lily seriously and endeavors, right from the beginning, to pursue a true romantic relationship with Lily. But can Damian wear Lily down and convince her that marrying him is more than obligation?
In addition to the romantic arc, there is also an interesting suspense arc that melds together the business ambitions and secret revenge plots of a number of the members of the Chicago mafia. Watching Damian both navigate these waters, as well as, try to stay true to his own wishes and desires was an interesting venture, full of action-packed scenes--with plenty of bloodshed--as well as intrigue as to the true motivators underlying a number of the mafia members' motivations. But perhaps what I loved the most was Damian's alpha protective side which kicked into high gear as a family war was unleashed among the Chicago mafia members. However, when so many violent and powerful people are driven by their own agendas, can Damian be successful in protecting the one thing that he knows is "his": Lily?
Perhaps my only observation is that Lily may have caved into accepting Damian as more than just a family obligation just a bit too quick. Then again, Damian sure does know how to treat his woman--so perhaps that's understandable.
Having previously listened to Roberto Scarlato's narrations in the past, I knew that the narration would be good--and Mr. Scarlato does not disappoint! Having a natural tough guy voice for the plentiful mafia characters in Deathless & Divided as well as the ability to impart emotion into his rendition, Mr. Scarlato brings the story to life making it even more compelling.
Mr. Scarlato also does a good job of providing distinguishable voices for both Lily and Damian. By varying the pitch of his voice, Mr. Scarlato is able to create a believable feminine voice for Lily while at the same time a deeper voice for Damian. This made distinguishing the character speaking seamless without the need to rely on dialogue tags. Mr. Scarlato also slightly varies his intonation even among characters of the same gender so that the listener can distinguish the various mafia members and their female family members.
Given this is an ACX produced title, I also was impressed with the production quality of the audiobook as I noticed no differences between this book and others produced by the major audiobook publishers.
All in all, Deathless and Divided is sure to keep mafia romance lovers entertained. And although there is no cliffhanger as it relates to Damian and Lily, Bethany-Kris has certainly laid out the framework for plenty of more Chicago War stories to come!
Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.