Ruthless Champion Blood and Honor Book 1
by Joanna Rose Genre: Mafia Romance
When your college pal gives you a job lead that lands you in the middle of a Mafia turf war and knee-deep in a family of hot-blooded, gorgeous mobsters...
Caitlin needed something to change in her life. College hadn’t worked out, to put it mildly. Her family life was nothing to write home about (if she had a home to begin with). And she had no job prospects, despite being a computer genius. So when her handsome college classmate Enzo Parisi suggested she look into a computer coding job with his family in New York, she decided she had nothing to lose. But she did have something to lose.
She had no idea how much.
Valerio Parisi knew his place in the family. He was the muscle and nobody seemed to expect much more from him. But Valerio wasn’t satisfied with a minor role in his powerful family’s criminal empire. He wanted more. When his Ivy league brother sends a brilliant but quirky woman his way to help with an online betting ring, Valerio figured things would change.
He had no idea how much.
** Ruthless Champion is the 1st book in the Blood and Honor Mafia Romance series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.
“You better say something. And fast.”
Valerio turned back to his cappuccino for a moment, counting the seconds as the froth passed through his lips, swirled about his tongue, and slid down his throat. No way he could stall for any more time, and now he had to lengthen up the back of his spine and explain himself.
“You know what’s going on,” Valerio started. “The bookies are hungry, but it’s all about doing the online thing.”
“For the bambinos, sure,” Adamo said. “What about everyone else?”
“Are you going to tell me that someone like Jackie Bendetto suddenly figured out how to place his bets on a computer?”
“Maybe not him, but—”
“He’s got kids, Zio,” Valerio interjected, pushing his cup aside and leaning across the table. Even if a part of him feared his uncle and the power that he still wielded, he also knew that the older man would never harm him. It was not in the code.
Add to that, who was Valerio to conquer online gambling in one fell swoop?
“Kids,” Adamo echoed as he lit a cigar and sucked in deep before letting a thin stream of smoke pass through his lips. “You’re always thinking of something.”
“I’m not thinking it,” Valerio insisted. “If it were up to me, we’d go back to having the guys lined up right here. Placing their bets with us.”
At that, Adamo laughed. What would come next? Would he get angry? Valerio recalled the first time his uncle was outbid on the rowhouse that had always provided him a steady stream of income. Rather than let the earliest outsiders come in and take what was rightfully his, he sent Valerio to torch the place, to send a message, and collect the insurance money. As of late, Adamo was not striking as many matches or pouring as much gasoline. But now there was a glint in his eye, and Valerio sat silently, ready for any set of orders along the lines of destruction and more than prepared to follow them to the letter.
“Can’t beat back progress, Val,” Adamo finally said.
“What?” Valerio asked. What was happening? His uncle was never one to give up the fight while he still had breath in lungs—albeit tinged with tobacco, as he took another puff of his cigar—and motioned toward Junior yet again.
“It gives me no pleasure to say as much,” Adamo continued. “I’m with you, kid. Nothing more I would like than to see things back the way they were.”
“Then let’s make that happen,” Valerio argued.
“How do you propose that we do that?” Adamo challenged.
It was tricky at best. In a perfect world, they would have the power to shut down the sites or at least cut off the power. Anything to bring the gamblers back to brick and mortar and keep them in line.
“I’ve talked to your brother about this,” Adamo said.
“Enzo?” Valerio asked, hearing the surprise in his own voice. So many times, he had dismissed his Ivy League-educated sibling out of habit. Book smart was worlds away from street smart, but even as he completed his degree, Lorenzo knew that he owed the family and Adamo for every chance that came his way in the world.
“He suggested something along the lines of setting up our own… what do you call it? Site?”
Valerio tensed at the direction in which the conversation was heading. Maybe Lorenzo was creative, but Valerio hardly had the time to learn code or whatever the hell was required to beat their new rivals at their own game.
“Zio, I don’t know.”
“I didn’t either,” Adamo admitted as he stamped out his cigar and rubbed a large hand across his face. “To hear Enzo tell it, it was all gibberish. And not at all in your wheelhouse.”
It was a veiled insult. Because Enzo was the “smart one.” Their youngest brother, Frankie, was the charmer who could make friends with the bambinos and keep them in line if the need presented itself. But this was Valerio’s piece of the pie. It wasn’t like the envelope was empty, and he loathed the idea that his territory within the family was about to fly from his hands.
Seeming to sense his nephew’s discomfort, Adamo reached across the table and placed a reassuring hand on his nephew’s shoulder.
“I’d never cut you out,” he swore. “You know that. On his deathbed, I promised your Pop that I’d always look after you boys.”
Valerio nodded and remembered that Adamo was barely twenty-two when he took that vow. Now the older man was nearing forty, and Valerio was only two years away from thirty. In all the years that had passed, Adamo never did him or his brothers wrong.
“What are you planning now, Zio?”
The older man kept his hand on Valerio’s shoulder for another second before pulling his palm away and smoothing his fingers down his slacks as he stood.
“Something that you need to get on board with,” Adamo admitted. Both men looked to a side door as it opened, and Valerio held his breath as a woman emerged.
She was short and curvy with rainbow-colored hair and bespectacled eyes. Her bright blue dress did not mask the tattoos running down her legs, trailing up her arms. On the streets, this would be someone that Valerio would turn away from, lest he have even one more reminder of the ways in which the world was changing. But Adamo beckoned the girl closer and now placed his palm on her shoulder before he spoke.
“Val,” he started, “this is Caitlin.”
The girl raised her hand by way of a wave hello, but Valerio was not put at ease by the gesture, rising from his seat to stare the girl down.
“What the hell is someone like her doing here?”
Dark Genius Blood and Honor Book 2
If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen...unless you’re the chef facing off with a sexy, dangerous mobster who says he’s “only there to help”
Michelle Moretti was struggling to keep her family’s Italian restaurant afloat after her father’s stroke. As a chef, Michelle kicked ass. As a businesswoman... not so much, and the powerful, brutal crime family looking for its cut wasn’t helping matters. She knew if something didn’t change soon, she would be responsible for the failure of her family’s legacy.
Would the arrival of Lorenzo Parisi, who was known as “the smart one” of the organized crime family's Parisi brothers, be the change the restaurant needed? Would Lorenzo be the change Michelle needed?
Sparks and bullets alike fly in this suspenseful romance, filled with steamy encounters and plot twists. Dark Genius will leave you breathless.
** Dark Genius is the 2nd book in the Blood and Honor Mafia Romance series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.
Adamo patted Lorenzo’s cheek. “The last thing I want is you boys going at it,” he said. “We’ll find another place for you. Somewhere that is worthy of your talents.”
Relaxing a bit as his shoulders slumped, Lorenzo tried to tell himself that coming home could be its own kind of steppingstone. There were other aspects to the business, and his collar would stay white and his hands would remain clean, to an extent. Not every associate carried a gun and bloodied his knuckles. Maybe this was the place where Lorenzo belonged most, and he nodded his head.
“I’m thinking of Driggs Avenue,” Adamo continued. “You know I have a vested interest in the last real restaurant in Brooklyn.”
“Yeah. Hanging on by a thread,” Lorenzo said.
“Think you should use it to get started,” he said. “Maybe we can be legitimate yet.”
The label passed through his lips with a tone of wistfulness, because a part of Adamo wanted to get his hands clean. But the dirty tang of organized crime had a way of seeping into the pores, and Lorenzo suddenly realized that he was meant to be here. Maybe he had sent Caitlin into Val’s orbit to bring him to this moment.
“I like the sound of it,” Lorenzo said. “Now what? Will you make me the manager?”
Lorenzo stood up straighter as he watched his uncle turn away and examine his nails. “You won’t?” Lorenzo asked. “Then what?”
Why drag him so far from the edge only to pull the rug out from under his feet? Lorenzo felt his face turn red, so he took a deep breath and was ready to stand strong. He wanted respect and--
“You’re in charge, kid,” Adamo said. “So just calm down.”
Okay. Okay. Things were still turning in the right direction, and Lorenzo was nothing if not full of ideas. A broader menu could entice the hipsters. But a dash of old school here and there could bring Adamo’s friends and rivals back into the fold. Once everyone felt secure to the point where they could lick their fingers clean, it was only a matter of time until Adamo made his move to take back control.
And Lorenzo didn’t have to ever fire a gun.
“I won’t let you down, Zio,” Lorenzo promised.
“I know you won’t,” Adamo said. “But you’ll have to make nice with the chef.”
“I… sure,” Lorenzo said. “Fine cuisine is like a secret weapon, no?”
“Finest for miles,” Adamo said. “I’ll arrange for you two to meet.”
“Thank you,” Lorenzo said solemnly.
He hugged his uncle before taking the several flights down to the street with a lightness in his step. This was something that Adamo would never trust his brothers with; it was far too important. He treated himself to a latte and pictured the chef. Men like that were always a bit too fragile for their own good, always wailing about the quality of the provisions and claiming that they could not go one day without fresh fish. But Lorenzo would be strong. He would remind the man behind the apron that he had to work with what he had and keep the plates looking perfect. An artist had nothing on a Parisi. He laughed again, feeling confident as he finished his coffee and started back to the studio apartment that he had secured on Leonard Street. Lorenzo was barely through the door when his phone dinged, and he saw a message from Adamo. It’s set. Go to Moretti’s tomorrow around one. Lorenzo shot a quick text back and envisioned his uncle telling some tattooed hipster that he had no choice but to listen to the new man in charge. Vowing to be firm but fair, the next day Lorenzo reached the restaurant as the sun still hung high in the sky. The aroma of garlic met his nostrils as he made his way in through the back, where he spied a slim girl with honey-colored hair and brown eyes. What was this? A waitress looking for the rest of last night’s tips?
He cleared his throat.
“Excuse me, miss?”
The girl turned to face him with a raised eyebrow and an enigmatic expression on her pink lips.” Are you Lorenzo?” she asked.
“I… yes,” he said. “And you are?”
The woman stepped toward him, her eye catching a ray of fresh sunlight as she looked him up and down and finally sighed.
“Moretti. So, you—”
“I’m the chef.”
Prodigal Son Blood and Honor Book 3
★ FROM BESTSELLING AUTHOR JOANNA ROSE★
I Swore I Would Never Take Him Back…
Franco Parisi, with those ocean blue eyes, sexy stubble and bewitching smile, is Italian but he wasn’t born here. Not like me, a true Italian who has spent her life in breathtaking Italy. When Franco arrived in my small town to hide out from a dangerous Mafia family problem in the States, I should have stayed away from him.
I couldn’t. The nights of delirious passion and promises of forever were all destroyed the second he returned when his family beckoned him back to America. Now, he’s back.
I am determined to resist his charms this time around
Unfortunately for me, Franco is just as determined to have me back in his arms … and his bed.
PRODIGAL SON is the third book in the BLOOD AND HONOR series by Bestselling Author Joanna Rose. This Second Chance Mafia Romance is a standalone suspense novel, complete with a guaranteed HEA and no cliffhangers.
Franco stirred first.
Shifting to his side on the battered mattress, the first few rays of the rising sun fell over his face. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, he sat up slowly, stretching his arms over his head as his jaw went slack in a yawn, and his head lolled to the other side of the bed.
The absence of another warm body confused him for the briefest of seconds, but everything clicked into place at the smell of coffee brewing from the next room. Franco’s lips quickly curled into a smile and as he swung his legs over the other side of the bed, he caught a whiff of the familiar lavender perfume that still mingled with the rumpled sheets. Before his feet hit the floor, he pulled his discarded jeans on and tiptoed slowly toward the source of the smell.
As anticipated, Giulietta was there, her flowing floral robe draped over her slender frame as she poured one cup of java and then another. He watched her start to reach for a small silver spoon, licking his lips at the thought of the tips of her fingers touching his flesh. And he took care to make like a cat burglar with only one prize in mind as he snuck up behind her, hearing her gasp when he ultimately wound his arms around her small, supple waist.
“Ehi!” she cried out, swiftly turning her body in his hold. For a split second, her deep brown eyes brimmed with fear until his face and the feel of his hands registered in her brain. Then, with a light laugh, she playfully slapped his bare chest before securing her arms around his neck
“You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that,” she chided him.
“Couldn’t help myself,” Franco replied. “Not after last night.”
She arched one eyebrow, her delicate fingers trailing up his chest until the tips of her nails grazed his lips. Kissing her there, Franco pulled her closer, unable to suppress a sigh at the feel of her heart beating against his… and in the same rapid rhythm.
“I wanted to wake up to you,” he said, his kiss foregoing her fingers so his lips could bathe her face.
“What do you call this?” she teased, returning the favor as she nuzzled his neck, her breath hot under his ear before her own kisses claimed his flesh.
“You know what I mean,” Franco said with a small snort. His gaze found her face. Her smirk and her shining cheeks were all that he needed to completely wake up, caffeine be damned.
“My mistake,” she murmured. “Here I was just trying to do something nice for you.”
“You still can,” he said in a thick voice.
She seemed to forget the coffee as she caught his meaning, and he kissed her full on the mouth as he began to guide her back to the bed. Memories of the previous evening were just a preview of what he planned to do to her now in the light of day.
“Wait,” she ordered.
Did his voice crack around the word? Franco felt his cheeks flush as he heard her laugh, and she wiggled out of his hold as she backed up toward the countertop, taking the time to push the untouched coffee aside as she gripped the wooden edge and stared him down.
“Oh. I get it,” he said, wiping the small stream of sweat dotting his upper lip with the back of his hand. “Playing hard to get.”
“Am I?” she challenged.
“What would you call it?” he asked, taking the few steps back to her side as she left him wanting more once again and hopped up on the countertop. Giulietta twirled one lock of ebony hair between her fingers as a low hum left her lips, and he tried to get his head into her game.
“Should I guess?” he wondered aloud.
“Guess?” she echoed. He reached forward, seizing her free hand and nearly meeting her mouth once more when his own light laughter filled the room.
“Do I drag you back to bed now?” he asked. “Throw you over my shoulder?”
He saw her eyes glisten at the prospect of both possibilities when she straightened her shoulders and clicked her tongue.
“What’s wrong with right here?” she asked.
Blood and Honor Book 4
★ FROM BESTSELLING AUTHOR JOANNA ROSE★ Young Virgin Bride + Older Mafia Crime Boss = One Hot AF Romance
Adamo Parisi, with steel blue eyes and the gravitas befitting a Mafia capo in his forties, was known for being tough.
As in take no prisoners tough.
But when beautiful, young Fiorella arrives from Italy to take her place as his arranged bride, sight unseen, Adamo finds himself struggling to reconcile his old-world notions of marriage with the fiery, sexy and opinionated woman before him.
Fiorella is understandably nervous upon her arrival in America. She has never even set eyes on her husband-to-be and their first meeting is ... less than successful. But Adamo awakens something in her-something wild and all-consuming.
All of the odds are against them: his rigid expectations, her inexperience, their age gap and a dangerous clash over mob turf rumbling around them.
Will the electric sexual tension between the two be enough to overcome the odds? Or is this arranged marriage experiment doomed from the start?
UNTAMED CAPO is the fourth book in the BLOOD AND HONOR series by Bestselling Author Joanna Rose. This Arranged Marriage Mafia Romance is a standalone suspense novel, complete with a guaranteed HEA and no cliffhangers.
BY BESTSELLING AUTHOR JOANNA ROSE
★★★★★ "I read this through without stopping. I got so wrapped up in their romance. Add a little mystery and danger to the story and you have Only If."
★★★★★ "ONE ENTHRALLING DELIGHT!"
★★★★★ "Joanna Rose is becoming a one click author and no disappointments!"
★★★★★ "There are so many twists and turns to this story will keep you riveted until the very last page and leave you begging for more."
★★★★★ “GUARANTEED TO HEAT UP YOUR KINDLE!”
★★★★★ "Joanna Rose is becoming an author I do not want to miss.”
“Sorry,” Adamo began. “I suppose some of this must seem strange to you.”
He seemed taken aback by the cool tone of her statement, and Fiorella liked the look of him speechless.
“What have you heard about me?” she continued. Adamo kept his gaze fixed on her eyes as his lips curled into a tiny smirk.
“That you’re bold and brave and beautiful,” he started. “So far I like what I’m seeing up close.”
“As do I,” Fiorella admitted. His face only sported a few wrinkles, which added to his character. His hair was just graying about the temples, any so-called receding hairline only serving to accentuate his firm brow. His eyes seemed to have not aged a day and held the same gorgeous ocean-blue stare as his nephews. She reached for his hand this time and curled her fingers about his.
“Grazie,” she started. “I like the chance to be here.”
“I like the chance to make you happy,” he said. “And I intend to make that happen.”
The brownstone needed some work. But she could look past that. A quick glance out the window saw Caitlin still trying to make sense of the problem with Web Wager, whatever that was, with her phone. She could also hear Michelle’s voice from the kitchen. The woman was talking excitedly about her new business venture.
“And what is my piece of the pie?” Fiorella asked.
Adamo seemed confused by her comment, but he kept his hand in hers as he licked his lips.
“You’re gonna be my wife,” he said. “There are a lot of perks in that.”
“I’m sure,” she said, her eyes trailing down his torso, the tight muscles still present as he looked infinitely pleased with himself.
“So, what job will you give me?”
“Job?” Adamo echoed. “What need would you have to work?”
“It’s not about need,” she said. “Voglio giocare un ruolo.”
Didn’t he know as much? Had he not heard Franco talk of how she nearly saved the day?
“Carina, listen. And hear me.”
Scooting to the edge of her seat, Fiorella was ready for her marching orders. Why else would this man who had yet to take a bride choose her? He had to know that she could be of help, and she bit her bottom lip as he spoke softly… slowly…
“I don’t need you barefoot and pregnant.”
“What does that… are you saying you want a baby?”
“No,” he said with a hollow laugh. “I mean, not necessarily. I’m just saying that you can have your own interests. For example, there are lots of charities to support in Brooklyn.”
“Okay,” she said, her heart starting to turn back into her chest. “But can’t I help you in other ways?”
Amazon Bestseller author Joanna Rose has always been a voracious reader so it is no surprise that writing has been one of her passions since the young age of 11. She's come a long way since then...
Today, her sexy alpha heroes include billionaires, military studs and bad boys. These men are takers: they take charge and always, always take care of their women. These ladies leave satisfied, just like Joanna's readers.
Joanna's stories have just the right steaminess level, exciting plots and a guaranteed HEA. What could be better?
When she's not reading or writing, Joanna loves to spend time with her family, travel, and learn about food and wine. Her experiences, creativity and naughty imagination guarantee a never-ending supply of new material for her readers.
Like most writers, I have been writing for nearly as long as I can remember. I wrote my first
“book” at age 11...a mystery called Murder in the Tropics. The mystery wasn’t very mysterious,
the culprit wasn’t very difficult to figure out and all of the characters were named after my
classmates, but I was hooked.
I am an attorney by day and spend most of my time writing emails, court pleadings and the like.
It pays the bills but it can be a snooze, lol! It is certainly nothing like the writing I do in my
romance series (fortunately for my readers!).
What is something really interesting that's happened to you?
Kind of nerdy but I was invited to audition for Jeopardy! a few years ago. I didn’t make the cut
for the show but it was a blast anyway. (And for the record, I still have a goal of appearing on the
What are some of your pet peeves?
Selfishness, cruelty and small-mindedness.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Not surprisingly, my favorite relaxation activity is reading. I always have at least one book in
progress, but more typically two or three. I am now almost exclusively an ebook reader, despite
my somewhat late adoption and resistance to giving up my “real” books. Other favorite
downtime activities include watching movies, building models (currently working on a Vikings
ship!) and of course hanging out with my family.
How to find time to write as a parent?
My kids are older now (21 and 18, which I still have a hard time believing!) so it’s not an issue
but I certainly remember the struggle to squeeze writing time out of very busy days and nights.
Back in those days, my go-to method to ensure my writing moved forward was to get up thirty
minutes earlier than I needed to and crank out as many words as I could in that short time. It’s
much easier these days to capture chunks of time to write. To my fellow writers with younger
children, hang in there-you’ve got this!
Describe yourself in 5 words or less.
Organized, efficient, loving, funny, curious.
How I Write….
Silence or noise? I usually play a Spotify list of jazz or instrumental music. I am currently
addicted to a group called Trombone Shorty (check them out!).
Pen or computer? Computer all the way! While I find the idea of writing with a pen on legal pads
very romantic, the way I write works best with a computer.
One book at a time or several at once? While I always read more than one book at a time, I
have never attempted to write more than one book at once. I like to let my characters and story
envelop me and think writing more than one at a time would take me out of that space.
Outline first or just write? I don’t create a traditional outline but I do block out how I want each
chapter to advance. So my first draft ends up with chapter headings and bullet points.
Writer’s block or always writing? I try not to let myself get super bogged down if the words aren’t
coming on a certain section of a book. Instead, if I find myself struggling, I move to another part
of the book and work on what seems to be one of the “easy” parts. With the way I set up my
book with chapter headings and bullet points, I don’t have to write in order. If a particular plot
point is giving me fits, I just pick another section to work on and keep plugging away.
About the Blood and Honor Series
What inspired you to write this series?
I’ve known I wanted to write a Mafia romance series for a long time. I am half Italian and loved
being able to include some Italian family traditions, phrases and the like. I also loved the idea of
making my alpha males more dangerous than in some of my other series. Being part of a
powerful Mafia family definitely allowed for that!
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
The concept of family is so integral to Italians and I wanted to showcase that in this series. In
this series, “family” has two different meanings: the literal family of the Parisi brothers and their
uncle and the concept of a Mafia crime family. While each book can be read as a stand-alone, I
loved interweaving each family member’s story.
The Parisi men are an impressive crew. I loved writing each brother with their distinct
personalities, strengths and weaknesses. And of course Uncle Adamo holds it all together in his
role of surrogate father to the “boys”.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Picking character names is such a fun part of the whole process! I wanted to use traditional,
strong Italian male names for each of the Parisi men so I researched names and their meanings
before settling on Adamo, Lorenzo, Franco, and Valerio.
How did you come up with the book titles in this series?
For some series I’ve done, I have really struggled with naming the books. Not this time! I knew I
wanted all two-word titles, with the first word describing a key characteristic of the main
character and the second word describing a powerful archetype. Once I had my framework
decided upon, coming up with the four titles (Ruthless Champion, Dark Genius, Prodigal Son
and Untamed Capo) was a snap.
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