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Double The Review-Ruthless Stranger & Broken Fighter by Maggie Cole

by | Apr 24, 2022 | Book Reviews, Double The Romance Reviews | 0 comments

This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.

About The Book

He’s a Ruthless Stranger. One I can’t see, only feel, thanks to my friends who make a deal with him on my behalf.

No names. No personal details. No face to etch into my mind.
Just him, me, and an expensive silk tie.

What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas.
He warns me he’s full of danger.
I never see that side of him. All I experience is his Russian accent, delicious scent, and touch that lights me on fire.
One incredible night turns into two. Then we go our separate ways.
But fate doesn’t keep us apart. When I run into my stranger back in Chicago, I know it’s him, even if I’ve never seen his icy blue eyes before.
Our craving is hotter than Vegas. But he never lied.
He’s a ruthless man…

”Ruthless Stranger” is the jaw-dropping first installment of the “Mafia Wars” series. It’s an interconnecting, stand-alone Dark Mafia Romance, guaranteed to have an HEA.

Since I woke up in Vegas without you, I’ve been falling apart. You brought me to life, and without you, I’m wilting away again.

My Review

First Impressions

I will be honest I have waited too long to read these books, and I was first introduced to this book by Jenn @ The Book Refuge, and she has RAVED about this series and I just knew that I needed to try these books out. I haven’t been reading much mafia lately and I have been wanting to read this author and I felt like this was the perfect place to start and the tropes in this one I was definitely in the right mood for. And I can definitely see why these books are so well loved though, and I was so fascinated with this type of mafia read, because they aren’t your typical mafia romance. I was fascinated by this family of brothers that we are introduced to and I just wanted to delve more into their stories and see the intrigue behind them. I really found the romance to be packed with some drama, sexy sensuality but also plenty of feels. If you are wanting to delve into mafia, this is actually a great beginner book as well.

Summary

Aspen has just gotten divorced after 20 years of marriage and when she learned that her husband had been using her money and also been cheating on her, she knew she was done. And she is celebrating in Vegas with her friends and then she meets her ruthless stranger. Maksim is with his brothers celebrating an upcoming marriage, but when he is in the bar and overhears the type of night and distraction that Aspen is looking for, he knows he is just the man to give it to her. He knows she is the type of woman that is way out of his league but wants to indulge in this one night with her. Maksim and Aspen spend two passionate nights together exploring their desires with each other. Some weeks following, it shocks them both when they find that they will be working on a project together and that they both live in the same city. Maksim knows that he won’t be able to let go of Aspen, he is determined to be fully honest with her about his past and their current situation with her. While Aspen and Maksim work on building their relationship and exploring what they are capable of, they also discover secrets and strengths and are pushed to the limits but also find a beautiful love worth fighting for…

The problem with trust is, once it’s broken, it’s hard to repair. Anything that threatens it again can take the fracture and break it in two, even if the truth isn’t what you perceive.

What I Loved

I absolutely adored this book so much, and even though it didn’t quite make it to the five-star mark, I honestly loved so much of this story and most importantly this solid romance that just worked so well for me. It is quite a page-turner, so you will easily be drawn into the story very quickly. It’s so easy to be invested in their relationship and you definitely will be on the sidelines cheering them on in finding their HEA. I really enjoyed the aspects of the mafia world that we are introduced to.. It’s not your typical mafia setup, as the brothers here, were forced into the life. They worry about keeping the women they love safe, but they have such a strong bond as brothers and friends and always have each other’s backs. I loved the way that they work through the challenges that they face here, and it was so fascinating to see how this story set up the series. I was so intrigued by the cast of characters that we are introduced into. Now for the delicious part…the actual romance., I adored how quickly our couple comes together, they are “together” early on, that doesn’t mean they don’t have issues to work through, they definitely have pasts to work through. But I was so fascinated by the way in which this couple was able to work through their struggles and how connected they were in their relationship. I always really loved their ages, the heroine is in her late thirties and the hero is in his mid-forties, so not much of an age gap, I always get a kick out of more mature characters.

What I Struggled With

I did have an issue with this story that really affected my true enjoyment of the story, I wanted so much more from the conflict that rises between the couple. Honestly, I didn’t find it truly believable their issues that crop up and it felt like a ton of drama that wasn’t necessary. It almost felt like a filler being used almost. It probably won’t affect many ppl’s reading of this one, but it did just annoy me a bit haha

Overall View

I found Ruthless Stranger to be a fascinating beginning, it contains a romance that is guaranteed to curl your toes and endear you completely to this pair and their love story!

Without our past, we cannot have our future. It shapes us and determines what we will and will not tolerate going forward. We can never forget the past lessons, or they will be repeated in our future

Title: Ruthless Stranger

Author: Maggie Cole

Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance

Format: eBook

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Length: 398 Pages

Amazon| Goodreads| LibraryThing| StoryGraph| Literal Club

Book Evaluation

Storytelling Quality: 4

Story Itself: 4.25

Character Development: 4

Writing Style: 4

World Building 4.5

Feels + The Romantic Heart 4

Pacing 4

Plot 4

Cover Art 4

Ending 4

Book Ratings

Overall Rating of the Book

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Steam Level

Simmering—soft warm touches and light intimacy

Warm- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.

Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.

Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.

Trigger Warnings

Violence, Torture, Death


This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.

About The Book

He’s my brother’s best friend, a Russian killer, and boxer with no ties to the O’Malley crime family—my family.

I’ve loved and studied him forever. I witnessed him change when I was only thirteen. He doesn’t know I’m aware he kills, or how I notice once a year he gets a call and disappears.
For years we fight our attraction. One night, we succumb to our desire.
Every touch he gives me is electric. Each moment deepens our addiction.
If it were only us, life would be perfect.
Unfortunately, our union creates targets on our backs from multiple crime families. It puts our loved ones at greater risk. Wars from each of our enemies now plague the O’Malleys and Ivanovs.
Every time the annual call comes to pay off his debt, he crumbles further. I’m not sure how much more either of us can take.
He’s my broken fighter…

”Broken Fighter” is the jaw-dropping second installment of the “Mafia Wars” series. It’s an interconnecting, brother’s best friend, stand-alone Dark Mafia Romance, guaranteed to have an HEA.

The buzz of my skin crackles the moment I see him. I don’t have a choice in the two options. He’s lightning to my veins. And the need for him to strike me over and over has never been greater.

My Review

First Impressions

After reading Ruthless Stranger, I had to immediately jump into Broken Fighter, and honestly, I read the sample because I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep going, however, I was weak haha and I immediately grabbed up this one and I was more excited to discover Boris and Nora’s love story and it was everything I could have hoped for and more!! I fell so hard for them. We see this couple in Ruthless Stranger and I was hoping that we would get to see their story here. What we see is a flashback from seeing them from then and we see the growth of their relationship up until the present and I really loved this style of writing a flashback, it wasn’t that ridiculous back and forth ping pong ball type of flashback that literally give you reader dizzies. Nope, this was pure perfection for me and I loved just about everything about this book here. There was something “more” to this book that just worked for me. I do have a soft spot for that forbidden love type of reading and this one checked off all the boxes for me. And plus I just needed to see Boris have his HEA and how he found Nora and all the good and bad in between. And Maggie Cole definitely delivered a beautiful story here!!

Summary

Our story begins with the beginning when our couple first meets. Boris and Nora have known each other for years, Boris is the best friend of her brother Killian. They help each other train and fight in the ring in their fights but also Boris is invested in the O’Malley family, as he considers them his family. There is this connection that has always been between Boris and Nora but they haven’t acted on it but now those feelings are started to become more present. Nora is a member of the O’Malley family, and she is expected to marry a good Irish man and have Irish babies but she is getting into her mid-thirties and her brothers are pressuring her into dating, But there is only one man that Nora wants, and he is the forbidden fruit she isn’t supposed to go near and her family would have a fit if she ever thought about being with someone Russian over being Irish. Boris has loved Nora from afar, he knows he shouldn’t be with her, its too dangerous. He had to make a deal with the devil to save his family and once a year he is owned and he doesn’t know how he could ever keep her safe. His own family doesn’t want him near Nora but he can’t seem to resist being with Nora. But Boris wonders if he will ever be enough for Nora and if she would be willing to give up her Irish family and expectations to be with him?

Between kisses, she says, “We can’t do this anymore.” I kiss her deeper. “You’re wrong.” “We’re playing with fire.” My arm tightens around her. I hold her head firmly to mine. “You can’t put out the flame when the match is already lit.” She freezes. “Then everything burns to the ground.”

What I Loved

Oh man,..my heart while reading this book was utterly captivated by this pairing and I just savored every single page with Boris and Nora. I absolutely adored seeing their story unfold and all the pain and heartbreak that they have to go through. I just wanted to give them a warm hug, just seeing how much they love each other but are torn from their own families’ expectations was so heartbreaking at times. Boris especially is going through hell trying to figure out this relationship with Nora. He also is tormented by his present and his past, I just loved how his brothers and friends understand even if they don’t know everything, and give him the support that he so needs. The romance between Boris and Nora was just everything, there is something about a forbidden love that will always work out for me. The way that is was written though, was magnificent. I was on board all the way with these two, their story is painful at times because of what they have to overcome but I really admired the way in which they are able to get through it and overcome what they face. It was also very interesting to see how Boris defeats his enemy, and it was so satisfying to see it here. I found the O’Malley family to be such a hoot and I can’t wait to see more of their antics.

What I Struggled With

Not that much, sometimes Nora drove me nuts by delaying telling her family the truth.

Overall View

I found Broken Fighter to be such a fierce and sensual romance that beats a heart of fire and is packed with so much heart and genuine feels. Definitely eager to see what Maggie delivers in the series!

“You’re mine, moya dusha. I love you. No amount of potential destruction is keeping me away from you.”

Title: Broken Fighter

Author: Maggie Cole

Genre: Dark Contemporary Romance

Format: eBook

Source: Kindle Unlimited

Length: 418 Pages

Amazon| Goodreads| StoryGraph| Literal Club

Book Evaluation

Storytelling Quality: 4.5

Story Itself: 4.5

Character Development: 4.5

Writing Style: 4.5

World Building 5

Feels + The Romantic Heart 4.5

Pacing 5

Plot 4.5

Cover Art 5

Ending 4.25

Book Ratings

Overall Rating of the Book

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Steam Level

Simmering—soft warm touches and light intimacy

Warm- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.

Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.

Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.

Series Order

Mafia Wars

Ruthless Stranger-Pub 2021 # 1 in the Series

Broken Fighter-Pub 2021 #2 in the Series

Cruel Enforcer-Pub 2021 #3 in the Series

Vicious Protector-Pub 2021 #4 in the Series

Savage Tracker-Pub 2021 #5 in the Series

Unchosen Ruler-Pub 2021 #6 in the Series

Perfect Sinner-Pub 2021 #7 in the Series

Brutal Defender-Pub 2021 #8 in the Series

Deviant Hacker-Pub 2021 #9 in the Series

Relentless Hunter-Pub 2022 #10 in the Series

About The Author

Maggie Cole is committed to bringing her readers alphalicious book boyfriends. She’s been called the “literary master of steamy romance.”
Her books are full of raw emotion, suspense, and will always keep you wanting more. She is a masterful storyteller of contemporary romance and loves writing about broken people who rise above the ashes.
Maggie lives in Florida with her son. She loves sunshine, anything to do with water, and everything naughty.

Her current series were written in the order below:
All In (Stand alones with entwined characters)
It’s Complicated (Stand alones with entwined characters)
Together We Stand (Brooks Family Saga – read in order)
Behind Closed Doors (Read in order)
Mafia Wars
Coming in 2022 – Mafia Wars New York

Website|Goodreads|Facebook|Instagram

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