cover image Rocco


Sarah Castille. St. Martin’s, , $7.99 ISBN 978-1-250-10407-6

The high-octane third in Castille’s Ruin & Revenge series (after Nico and Luca) delves into the Las Vegas mob scene. Ruthless Rocco De Lucchi, raised by his sadistic and cruel adoptive father to be a mafia enforcer, vows never to fall in love again after his true love is torn from his arms. Grace Mantini, daughter of a mafia underboss, is used to being a target for rival crime families; one attack left her with a scar on her face that she believes makes her too unattractive to pursue her dream of becoming a singer. Rocco broke her heart years earlier, and she’s locked her emotions up tight. When they reunite, it’s hard to see how they can overcome these obstacles and find romance. The descriptions of violence are laden with gruesome details, and it’s hard to read about Rocco’s self-inflicted penance for the lives he’s taken. Still, the protagonists have plenty of explosive chemistry and appealing vulnerability, and a well-timed surprise adds excitement, as does an unconventional marriage proposal. Peeks at the happily-ever-afters of the stars of the earlier books add appeal for returning fans. (Jan.)