Shame: The Early Years (Russo Saga Book 3) by Nicolina Martin

Book Blurb:

Rule One: Do not say no to Luciano Salvatore. 

Rule Two: See rule one.

Carmen never knew she had boundaries, but when the young prostitute is called to Salvatore, the infamous mob boss, she learns that even a whore can be violated: mind, body, and soul. 

Lucas dreamt of a mobster’s life. He wanted the cool suit, the expensive car, and the respect. His dreams take a pounding when he picks up the badly bruised Carmen from Salvatore’s mansion. He starts visiting the injured woman, and despite the gruesome circumstances, the chemistry between them grows into something neither of them can resist.

Then Salvatore calls for her again.

How do you conquer the monsters under your bed? Especially when you’ve let them crawl up and share it?

This is a prequel to the Russo Saga but can be enjoyed as a standalone. 

Publisher’s Note: This is a dark, steamy Mafia romance that is not for the faint of heart! It may contain triggers for some readers. There are harsh scenes and elements of power exchange.

My Review:

Wow I cannot stress enough how fantastic this book is. As most of you know when I was first introduced to the Russo family world I was very unsure and not necessarily a fan. The bad boy element of the story felt a little but too much like a pantomime villain. But the more that I have read and discovered, the more that I love these stories and the family. As plot lines go this has to be one of the best that I have read in a very long time and I am not just talking about books by Nicolina Martin but about all books.

Carmen doesn’t think that her life could get much lower. She lives in a whore house, selling herself to numerous different men each night. But Carmen doesn’t feel shame about her lifestyle as she just accepts that this is the life that she has been dealt. However all of that changes when she is paid an extraordinary amount of money to spend the evening with the main mob boss Luciano Salvatore. At first she thinks this is a great opportunity until she realises that all of the other workers are upset that she has been chosen and are saying their goodbyes. Apparently a night with Salvatore does not always guarantee a safe return home. As she is worried about facing certain doom Carmen gets into the car sent by Salvatore and meets the incredibly sexy, new, young driver Lucas.

Lucas is instantly turned on by the gorgeous, feisty girl he is tasked with driving to party with the Boss and only top level people get that invite. Lucas has been trying to make his way up in the organisation as he is tired of being a low level worker. He knows that it is the dirtiest messes that will get him more money and power and he plans to get as messy as it takes. But his focus changes the night that he collects Carmen from the party and gone is the beautiful feisty girl that he dropped off and she has been replaced by pain, welts, bruises, bleeding and soulless eyes. When Lucas decides to take care of her, something changes between Carmen and Lucas that night and it is the start of a beautiful relationship that is filled with love, healing and reading.

Lucas is such a complex character but he is still lovable. On the surface he wants to move up in the crime family no matter how dangerous that is and why still remains a mystery. But more importantly his desire to love, care for and cherish Carmen is what takes over every day. The way he puts Carmen first and always makes sure she is take care of and feels loved makes him an absolute diamond that you most definitely would not want to lose! You cannot help but love Carmen as a character. She has been through more pain, humiliation and suffering than most people can ever imagine and yet she still manages to not lose her banter and her sassy personality that shows how strong she truly is.

This is a bit of a spoiler so look away now – I particularly want to give a shout out to the birth scene in this book as it was incredibly well written. I loved the way that Mother Nature was allowed to run the show and she was constantly encouraged to listen to her body. But it held a very powerful message to take away and that is that not every mother feels the overwhelming feeling of love towards their baby that they are told they should. Women have been through a lot, particularly in this scenario. She is scared, in pain, bleeding and her senses are all over the place so when she is handed a baby she doesn’t know what to do or how to feel. This for me made the scene incredibly realistic. The decision to keep and embrace baby David was a brave and beautiful decision.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I liked the premise of a bad boy driver falling in love with the broken whore. Everyone deserves a second chance when life is put into perspective and that is what we see in this book. It is the story of two tortured souls with broken pasts who are searching to belong in all the wrong places until they finally meet each other. This is not only a fantastic edition to Nicolina Martin’s series but I would argue it is the best so far. The writing is clever, the characters are realistic and the story is uniquely beautiful. I cannot recommend this book anymore!

Note: I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available for Free on Kindle Unlimited or can be purchase here:

Amazon UK:

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