Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Tropes: anti-hero; alpha hero; mafia romance; forced proximity; grumpy/sunshine; opposites attract; heroine in danger; tragic past
Tijan’s next Kings of New York story, A Cruel Arrangement is a fitting follow-up to Tijan’s A Dirty Business. Both books envelop the reader in a harrowing tale of mafia tribulations couched in sultry romance. Where Trace and Jess’s love story is fraught with the forbidden element of their relationship, Ashton and Molly’s romance is high adrenaline from the very start to its end.
As Tijan does well, A Cruel Arrangement is full of minute-by-minute tension. Ashton and Molly are opposites: he’s the new head of a mafia family, and Molly is the owner of a local bowling alley. Her father is a street “rat,” owned by Ashton’s family due to his extravagant gambling debt, and Ashton has taken on the family business in the wake of the deaths of his uncles. They shouldn’t work; however, something in Molly matches Ashton’s darkness, and the two are drawn together like magnets.
This book has much to be solved because danger is afoot at every corner. Tijan places her characters in sundry difficult situations, and Ashton and Molly must work their way out of them. A Cruel Arrangement is page after page of trials, yet Ashton and Molly forge ahead, their attraction palpable on the page. Even in its darkest moments, Tijan has grafted a sweetness in Ashton and Molly’s pairing.
Given the suspense in this book, I didn’t figure out the villain’s accomplices until Tijan revealed it. This, thankfully, kept me turning the pages of her story. The ending, however, was abrupt and not fully fleshed out. Yet, I’d like to believe there might be another book.
If you’re an avid reader of suspenseful, dark mafia, A Cruel Arrangement will give you some good feels, but I’m not sure the most dedicated reader of mafia romance will find it dark enough. In the end, I’m here for Tijan and her stories, and this newest book didn’t disappoint.
In love and romance,