Hi Maryse!!! I was wondering if you know of any good mafia/mob/organised crime, bad boys romance type books?? I might drop a comment on your Bad Boys & Rock Stars thread and see if anyone else knows of any too!
In fact, I realized that some of my absolute favorite books involve some “shadier” (yet redeemable) characters. And I’m not just talking my usual tattooed bad boys that still fit within today’s social standards. I’m talking about the disillusioned social outcasts, the extreme nonconformists, the hustlers, and those that make their living on the streets. From the homeless to the richest mob bosses, the high-end escorts to the underground street fighters.
So basically, if they can be arrested for “what they do” and yet managed to steal my heart, they made the list. 😉 You know the books I’m talking about. Those that have you really connecting to the whole bad boy/good girl forbidden love thing. Or the sweet heartbreaking stories of those that have resigned themselves to an unhappy life full of struggle and loneliness and yet found the one person that made them whole again.
*sigh* Unconventional, against all odds, thrilling love stories are my favorite!
Now these are not in order of favorites, but just know if it made this list, it’s ’cause it pretty much rocked my world.
Mafia/Mob Bosses/Organized Crime Leaders
Sempre (Forever) by JM Darhower
Mafia prince in training, born and raised in indulgence, Carmen’s world changes when his Mafia father “rescues” (yes those quotation marks are there on purpose) a modern-day slave girl and brings her home to live with them. Carmen’s world changes as he learns about her past, his parent’s past and his potential role in his crime-lord future. LOVED this one!!! Sort of “Young Adult” but hrmm… not really. Very modern feel with some steamy, violent, and/or obnoxious moments. Check out my Book Review of Sempre
Crow’s Row by Julie Hockley
Very similar to Sempre, but exciting in it’s own right (and quite a bit “cleaner” language and steam-wise). Young king pin of an organized crime ring bumps into a local college girl (jogging) on the wrong side of town (wrong side for her, but right side for him). After multiple warnings for her to stay away, (and of course, her ignoring him, after realizing an intense attraction to him), she happens upon a murder. Bump on the head, and *woops* she’s been kidnapped. By him. 😉 Let the fun begin! Check out my Book Review of Crow’s Row
Lover Avenged: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward
One of my favorite paranormal series of all time, and this book absolutely WOW’D me! “Rehvenge” didn’t quite capture my attention during his lower-key scenes in the earlier part of the series, but when it came to his own book… I fell hard! High-end pimp/high-end dealer/high-end everything else illegal, he walks around with his shiny cane, fancy coats and designer suits, tattoos and hardcore mohawk. But I came to realize with HIS book (this one) that there was nothing “street-tacky” about him. All high-end from head to toe, an elite mix-breed vampire from an affluent family. Be that as it may, he may come from the “right side of town” but his “dealing” and money flow richly from the wrong side. And boy does he know how to rule his world. Check out my Book Review of Lover Avenged (and I suggest you read the entire series which is simply fantastic –> The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series Reading Order:
Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts) by Stacia Kane
An entire series that revolves around “Downside” (the absolute wrong side of town) where two drug lords rule their established territory and war against each other. This series consists of TWO “heroes” (and even still, I swoon for both of ’em). Terrible (my favorite) who is a HULKING (unconventionally sexy in a hard-faced, bad-ass way) enforcer for his crime-boss/pimp/dealer and “Lex” the hottie with the model looks, on the other side of town, who pretty much “heads” the dealer competition (for his dad, the other crime-boss). While the series is paranormal (a local witch who aides in “ghost recon”), her drug addiction keeps her tied to both of the crime hotties. And they both really like her. And I mean really. Which means plenty of angst and emotional uproar ahead. In fact, I’m reading book #5 as we speak, and still…the potential for heartbreak is strong. I love this series, and each book is absolutely relevant to this “illicit bad boy list” –> Here is the entire series reading order: Chess Putnam (Downside Ghosts) Series Reading Order – Also check out my series review here (for the first three books. There have been two more, since.)
Motorcycle Man (book #4 The Dream Man Series) by Kristen Ashley
“Tack” heads a large motorcycle gang and runs a highly successful bike garage. Having taken over the “business” for his father, many things have changed under his rule. However his ties/issues with other gangs and mobsters still disturb his world, and his own way of handling problems don’t always run the straight and narrow. Tack’s ways will surely get under your skin, but OMG will he totally get into your heart! Check out my review here.
Street Smart Bad Boys
Well, all of the above are obviously “street smart” but these are the loners, and/or the social outcasts that aren’t necessarily part of any organization. The ones who live, and get by on the streets.
Finding Home by Bonnie Dee and Lauren Baker
Sean, a seventeen year old homeless kid is approached by Megan (a twenty three year old) interested in writing an article about kids on the street. Reluctantly he lets her in to his life (including his need to “hustle” to make money), and over the course of a few days, they forge an easy rapport. However, everything changes the day she finds him beaten and having been robbed of everything he had saved to get him off the streets. She offers him her place to stay until he can get back on his feet again. And while she struggles to adapt to a male roommate who has lived without rules for so long, she also struggles with her growing attraction to him. Excellent story (albeit an uncomfortable/unconventional one). I loved it anyway! Check out my review here.
Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia
I remember this one absolutely capturing me from the start. I was enthralled. A university student notices a young homeless male everyday at the subway station. And every day, as people ignore him or cast him looks of disdain, she makes it a point to smile at him. And everyday he looks for her to smile back. One day, she approaches him, and offers her friendship, and the heartwarming story begins. As she learns about who he is, and how he lives, she uncovers his ties to a particular street gang. This is the story of three foster brothers that promised to always protect and look out for each other, their lives on the street, and the emotional hardships that they deal with. While I would have preferred the entire story to be focused on the first homeless character (and the girl that saved his heart – and it is the bulk of the story) , the story, as a whole was captivating. Check out my review here. Book Review – Poughkeepsie
Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee
I just read this one this weekend and was floored out how quickly and easily I got attached to the “hero”. Why? Well ’cause first, the story occurs in the 1940’s, and second, because he’s tattooed from head to toe (even his face) and part of a traveling carnival side show. I didn’t know if I’d connect or not (or if I’d “fall” for him), but at the insistence of some of my fellow reader friends, I gave it a go. And I’ve been on a mad search for more intensity like this! This story details his struggles as a social outcast, and his reluctant friendship with a recently widowed “respectable” woman. And you know how that goes… prejudices abound and the issues they face (internal struggles and publicly as friends) are absolutely riveting. Check out my book review of Bone Deep.
The High-End Escorts
Whether they have a “street” past with limited options, or simply chose to partake in such a… *ahem* lucrative career, I think it’s safe to say that the heroes of these stories are absolute hunky bad-boys partaking in illegal activities. Of course, if you ask them… that all depends on how you look at it. 😉
Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone
Model looks and charm have provided this male escort a large clientele of very wealthy women. Having been in this career pretty much since he was a homeless teen, he has done well for himself. The agency “sweetheart”. However who he really is, is 100% different from his escort persona, and even his “boss” doesn’t really know him. But one person does. His pretty new neighbor. Except that she has no idea the life he leads when he “gets called into work”. Check out my Book Review of Fallen From Grace
Damaged Goods by Lauren Gallagher
This one’s a little different! The heroine meets the “hero” when she calls his agency and privately selects him for a meeting. Never having done this before, she’s second guessing everything! Being caught, being arrested, not being “enough” for him, the right and the wrong of her choosing to pay for… well, you know. 😉 Until he shows up and completely puts her at ease. So much so, that she hires him again. And again. And over the course of a few meetings, she starts getting attached. And the “fantasy” part of this one? So does he. Uh oh! Now what are they to do? Fun!! Check out my Book Review of Damaged Goods
The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
I’m actually currently reading this one, so I can’t say much about it, although the story is already intriguing (and I’ve had many recommendations for it, including one from author Sylvia Day!!). “She” is writing an article on the male-escort business, and “he” is the one who was selected to give her the details (he’s also the most popular escort in the agency. But of course!! Closed off about his own life, she really wants to write about who he is, to give the article a personal spin, but he’s not having it. So she keeps re-scheduing. Except, after multiple meetings, he’s finding himself wanting to get to know her. And that’s where I’m at, so far! It’s only available in paperback, so you know. If you’re an avid e-book reader, this one will take some time to get re-used to. 😉
Stranger by Megan Hart
Thanks to Mandi for reminding me of “Jack”, the gorgeous escort that makes occasional appearances in Megan Hart’s series. But he’s one of the main guys in this particular book and we really get to see another side of him. So unbelievably drool-worthy (tattooed, pierced and stunningly gorgeous) and just plain… WOW! This is another where the heroine and the escort forge a “relationship” of sorts that begins exceeding normal escort/client conduct. Check out my Book Review of Stranger by Megan Hart
I just felt the need to include these even though the guys aren’t necessarily “street” guys. But they are street-smart, and they both partake in illegal activities. Absolute bad boys, in one way or another and had to be on the list!
Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
The most illegal thing about Travis is the way he makes his money (oh, and I suppose his hot-headed temper that has him easily throwing punches, on and off the streets). But that’s the key point. He’s an underground MMA fighter using his fantastic fighting skills to bring in lots of money. Last minute scheduled matches in abandoned buildings, betting and plenty of punching! Travis is pretty much unbeatable so this is certainly not something he’s willing to quit anytime soon, even if his successful college life might lead him to bigger and better things. So that’s pretty much it. Travis is one heck of a player/tattooed bad boy with a hot temper and raised by his father and brothers who are so very similar to him. Plus, this is one of my all-time favorite books, and Travis still reigns as one of my #1 heroes. Check out my Book Review of Beautiful Disaster
Sheltered by Charlotte Stein
Van is the ultimate when it comes to bad boy looks. Shaved head, tattoos, and plenty of piercings! And when good girl “Evie” spies on him as he makes a few illegal purchases next door? Yep! He made my list with that extra bad boy feature. Yet, even as appalled as she is when it comes to anything “Van”, a most unlikely (albeit hesitant) friendship develops. Because you see, Evie is raised in a strict religious household. So strict, that even though she is an “adult” she is not allowed to watch TV or listen to modern music. So… secretly befriending someone that looks like Van is certainly grounds for her tyrant father to go nuts. But when her parents are away… 😉 Although there’s so much more to the story then that. This one had me on the edge of my seat! Check out my Book Review of Sheltered
So guys! Any other suggestions? Send ’em my way!! I’d love to continue reading more like these.
Knight In Black Leather by Gail Dayton:
Gitte recommends this one!! “How about Knight In Black Leather by Gail Dayton?? I really liked that one!! …actually I LOVED it!!! (hated the cover though!!)” –> I can’t wait to read these, Gitte!
Warrior’s Cross by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux
Gitte also recommends this one! “Also…Warrior’s Cross by Abigail Roux – loved this one too!!” (YAY me!! New reads!)
No Turning Back (#1 in Kathleen Turner Series) by Tiffany Snow
Sharon suggested these (and I know that many LOVE this series, so far!): “Lets not forget “No Turning Back” and “Turn to Me” (Kathleen Turner suspense romance series) by Tiffany Snow. The two sexy Heros in these books are the infamous brothers Blane and Kade. Blane is an attorney for the mob and carries a gun in his waistband. Kade is an ex-FBI agent, turned vigilante assassin for hire.”
Knight (The Unfinished Hero Series) by Kristen Ashley
Aidan recommends this one: “Knight? K.A. really made a bad boy who pushes the boundaries in that one.” Yep!! Good choice! Knight may not have been my favorite “Kristen-alpha male” but he certainly fits the bill, and so many LOVED him!
Curio by Cara McKenna
Mandi recommends this one: “My favorite escort books are – Stranger by Megan Hart (Jack..oh Jack), Curio by Cara McKenna and Fallen From Grace as you mentioned.” –> Yes!! for Jack (how could I forget?) and am now very anxious to give Curio a try!
Untouchable by Lindsay Delagair
Kim just adamantly recommended this one: “Just saw your post about the top 13 must reads….you ABSOLUTELY have to put down Untouchable right after Sempre! Our book club is IN LOVE with Micah….OMG! If you liked Carmine from Sempre you’ll love Micah. PLEASE, please make this an exception and add it to your list!”
CM recommends this one: “Oh god, this is such an amazing list. Maryse, what about Perfect Chemistry? Alex Fuentes is definitely on the wrong side of the law, or at least a very shady area, and yet that book is one of my all time favorite reads!!”
Check out my other “Favorites” lists: