Cruel Deception: Kozlov Empire Book 2 Author Monica Kayne

Book Review

5 out of 5 stars!

This series can be read as standalone books but for a better reading experience go in order! Some of the characters from book one, "Merciless Heir" are present in this book along with a brief recap of events that happened. Not enough to be considered spoilers for the previous book!

"I'm Kozlov property now." - Bianca

Bianca had a plan to take down the one responsible for her family's murder, revenge within her grasp until a fateful poker game snatched that all away from her! Bianca's always been seen as "property" within the underworld of the mafia but that feeling really solidifies when she's forced to wed Daniil Kozlov! How is she supposed to obtain justice for her family while being surrounded by the Kozlov empire?

Bianca can do this! She's been a part of this world for a while and has picked up a thing or two. She will not allow this new development in her life to detour her. She has to rethink how to obtain her goal and take down anyone who stands in her way. Even if he's tall, muscular, has tattoos, and is hot as sin. . .No, stay focused!

"I learned early on you can't get hurt if your feelings don't run deep." - Daniil

Daniil avoids complicated matters like the plague! But when a woman catches his eye, and he sees how she's being treated he can't help but to get involved! Daniil steps in and "saves" her surprising even himself even though he knows this is the right thing to do. Only little does he know that his actions within the high-stakes poker game just unlocked all sorts of repercussions. . .

This is a dark mafia romance and I loved it! I have read the first book in the series and fell in love with the author! What I appreciate the most about the author's style is that the FMC of the books are no pushovers. Giving the big, bad, mafia boss's a run for their money! Daniil has no clue what he's really in for when it comes to Bianca.

Bianca's very strong and independent but the mafia world has placed hidden shackles around her neck. She wants nothing more than to get out of the life that's forcing her to play submissive. She knows how to get her freedom but plans change when she's gambled away like a plastic playing chip. Being devastated and angered by the outcome she doesn't back down from the fight. Instead, she reassesses things and begins working new angles.  

Daniil's trying to come to terms with the fact that he's no longer a "free" man. He's in a marriage that he cannot simply back out of, too many things are on the line if he does. He also knows what Bianca's fate will be like if he doesn't continue being her husband. He's prided himself on avoiding things like this or complicated entanglements with women! Now look at him. . .

I loved the tension between the two! Their banter was fantastic as well because neither wanted to back down or throw in the towel. Both willing to play the "game" until the other simply walked away because surrender is a no-no. I loved seeing how Daniil really felt about Bianca through his POV and the same with Bianca. Duo POVs is the best when it comes to dark romances where the main couple is enemies to lovers! Both trying desperately to keep their guards up and not let the other get too close but failing miserably at the same time.

I still very much love Leo and cannot wait for his story! The next book in the series is going to be his romance with someone. Even though Leo is the youngest he is also the voice of reason when Daniil's about to fly off the handle. Also, encouraging his brother's craziness when needed because Leo's a little bit chaotic himself! The Kozlov men have short fuses when it comes to their women. Touch her and die vibes all the way with our morally grey men!

This series deals with things within the mafia and businesses being run. There's violence, bloodshed, and prominent language throughout the book. A character with a death-wish who raises his hand against a woman, but it is brief, our MMC not approving of it at all! Makes it clear that a man is not a man if he hits a woman. And people wonder why we love dark romances and the morally grey men! Feelings of grief and guilt along with acts of manipulation. Author has a full CW list within a link presented at beginning of the book.

We have a slow burn romance between the two MCs. Bianca's also "untouched" and Daniil doesn't mess with women like that. Bianca still refuses to back down or cower under Daniil's thumb. She will not be treated as less and refuses to just be seen as something Daniil says in order to keep her at a distance. The two have truly met their match in one another. Some different play dynamics are presented and discovery of kinks.

This book does end on a HEA but I imagine we will be seeing more of the couple as the series goes on. Love how the FMCs change the MMCs just a little and help to soften them, but the MMCs don't do a complete factory reset or anything! Cannot wait to see how Leo's story will unfold!

Enjoy the dark mafia romance with heroines who don't play the distress card! Don't forget to give the author some stars!

Cruel Deception: A Dark Mafia Romance (Kozlov Empire Book 2) - Kindle edition by Kayne, Monica. Romance Kindle eBooks @ Monica Kayne: books, biography, latest update

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