Book: Mafia Captive
Author: Kitty Thomas
Dark Erotic Romance, BDSM
Review copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review.
Anyone notice a dark erotica theme happening here? Yeah me too. I need to read something with rainbows and unicorns next.
Faith Jacobson was in the wrong place at the wrong time. After witnessing a mob hit, she’s only moments from death when Angelo Raspallo decides to give his brother an unlikely gift.
Leo has avoided involvement with the family business, but it doesn't make him a saint. He’s troubled and ashamed by his darker sexual desires, one of which is to own a slave. But when his brother throws Faith at his feet, repainting the scenario to make Leo the hero rescuing her from certain death, his moral fortitude will be tested. If Faith were kinky, it would be easy to live out his fantasy, but she’s not—not even a little bit. Even the mildest spanking sparks terror in her that Leo can’t bear.
The gift soon becomes a burden as he fights with himself over how to handle the addition to his home. He could release her, but his brother doesn't do loose ends. The only thing keeping her out of the bottom of the harbor is Leo’s mercy. She’s like a beautiful piece of art he keeps in a glass case but can never touch. Is possessing her enough?
Author’s Note: Mafia Captive has more of a love theme than many other Kitty titles, though the work is still quite psychologically dark. Readers may also notice a “new adult” flavor as Faith is just out of college and trying to find her place in the world when she is thrust into Leo’s life and home.
Mafia Captive held me captive from page one through to the end. I could not put this book down. Kitty Thomas understands how to engage her audience and keep their attention. She also knows how to accomplish a good mind fuck. I did not expect this book to be a mind fuck, but the twist at the end and the prologue... it really messes with your head. I will say no more on that subject, you will have to read the book to know what I'm talking about.
"To own a human being was the driving need that underscored everything else."
Faith is a young innocent who ends up being held captive by Leo through a series of unfortunate events. She witnessed Angelo off someone in an alley and instead of killing her, he decides to gift her to his brother, Leo. Both Faith and Leo are very interesting characters and there's quite a dichotomy going on with both of them. Faith, on the surface, appears weak because of her innocence, youth, and never ending fear. Underneath all that fear and angst, however, is an intellect and inner strength that surprises everyone, including herself.
"Leo had hoped the reminder of his sin would keep him on the straight and narrow, but there were too many roads that wound around him, all leading into Hell."
We're all familiar with the saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." That's Leo in a nutshell. He makes decisions with the intention of causing the least amount of pain and damage and (you guessed it!) ends up causing a hell of a lot of pain and damage. Including to himself. He takes Faith from Angelo to save her life, but essentially puts her in a glass cage. Then he proceeds to make a lot of other bad decisions that I will not disclose, because it'll spoil it. I think you get the point, though... one bad decision leads to another and that leads to pain. But as flawed as Leo is and as many bad decisions as he makes, I couldn't hate him. His intentions were good. He was ultimately good. I did get the urge to slap him around, but I got cured of that pretty quickly. He's too good at devising punishments, and not just for others, but for himself, as well.
"Did a personal judgement on the value of one set of chemical reactions over another make one empirically better or more real than the rest?"
The source of most of the angst for both Leo and Faith is the sex - Leo is a Dominant and Sadist and will not compromise on that with his sexual partners. Faith is not a masochist and is terrified of what Leo might do to her. Throughout the book, we go through Faith's journey of self discovery where she learns what is important to her and what she is willing to sacrifice to have what she wants. And Leo's constant inner battle of right and wrong, guilt and pleasure, trying to be merciful while getting his needs met.
"Pleasure toys are for pleasure."
While the sex was a prevalent theme (source of the angst and most of the issues), this was not a sex heavy book. There was lots of drama and emotional upheavals and a great portrayal of the psychological journey that both Leo and Faith took throughout the book. The story flow was great and, as always, Kitty Thomas' writing was very good. I have a minor complaint about a scene at the end where Leo and Faith experience a pivotal moment together that is very significant for their relationship - I really wished that there would have been more detail there. I would have wanted it to be a slightly bigger deal, but that did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.
"It had been forged in the fires of betrayal and redemption, of suffering and pleasure and secret moments below ground."
If I could choose one quote to summarize this book, this one would be it. There were all these things in the story, and more. Usually, when I finish a romance, I get the warm fuzzies. It's romantic and lovely and happily ever after. But this is Kitty Thomas, so, of course, I was left with many conflicting emotions at the end. I'll list them, but I won't tell you why I felt them, because (same as above) spoilers. I was relieved and happy and vindicated. Queasy, sad, and somewhat regretful. And, possibly, most importantly, hopeful.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Kitty Thomas never does simple, straight forward erotica. You have to think and feel things in order to enjoy her books. It's dark and conflicted, with a heavy dose of struggles. But it's also hopeful and realistic, with a splash of love. If you want a fulfilling reading experience, you know, a roller coaster that takes you through all possible emotions on the spectrum - go read Mafia Captive.