A shape-shifting Mafia capo insists on romance amid dark family mysteries.
The death of her sister and aunt in Arcadia Awakens (2012) have left Rosa Alcantara the head of a Sicilian Mafia clan. Her love affair with Alessandro, capo of the rival Carnevare family, makes both of them vulnerable to vicious members of their own families. It's bad enough that they lead different Cosa Nostra clans, but their magical abilities are at odds as well. The Alcantaras become giant snakes, while the Carnevares become panthers, leopards and lions. Rosa mostly ignores the family business while she investigates the brutal rape she endured a year and a half before. Her investigations reveal unsettling truths: Nothing in her pre-Mafia past, neither the rape nor the death of her father, is unrelated to Cosa Nostra. Her own family has engaged in heinous crimes against her and the rest of the Mafia. A climactic battle—partially described in a six-page cellphone conversation between Rosa and Alessandro—ties up a few loose ends and leaves the rest for the next volume.
Mafiosa Rosa is rarely likable, but this tough survivor takes control of her own life, determined not to be controlled, assaulted, lied to or—quite literally—devoured. (Paranormal romance. 14-16)