Breaking down the Dark Era and explained what I enjoyed in this journey of Mafia Romances.
Since Mid Dec 2022 I have been on a self-induced assignment to read as many Mafia Romances as possible. Part of this was for the task of creating an episode of Buzzing about Romance, all about our favorite Mafia books. At the start of this undertaking, I thought I had read a fair share of mafia romance, but I honestly had not scratched the service of this sub-genre of Dark Romance.
The number of Mafia Romances available was overwhelming. I slowly started sifting through the offerings and it became clear that I had a favorite type of Mafia Romance. There was a very specific micro trope that put me in all the feelings.
When we read dark romance, it often forces us to disassociate ourselves from reality and our normal expectations of a relationship. We don’t want to be held in an all-consuming deep and volatile affection by a known criminal or leader of the dark underground of society. However, we all want to know that the person who loves us is consumed with passion for us. That the person seeks us out and wants to spend as much time with us as possible.
What do I mean by the Chase?
In Mafia Romance the one micro trope that I found I loved over and over again was the romance that highlighted the chase.
The chase for me is that no matter how much the heroine runs or is resistant to the hero’s advances he pursues her. He will do all he can to make she is where he wants her in his life. Be that in his home, car or bed.
There are different levels of the pursuit for the hero. It can be as simple as tapping a phone or having her watched by one of his bodyguards. It can also escalate to him stalking her himself.
One of my favorites of this is Relentless Devil by Kylie Kent. In this book the hero goes out of his way to find out all her can about the heroine. He watches from a distance to define this attraction and pull he has towards the heroine.
Rebecca Gannon’s “Casino King” presents a great example of a bodyguard who is given the duty to watch over the heroine. In this story, the Mafia King is someone the heroine has zero desire to be connected to, despite being attracted to him and working in his casino. The leaves her gifts of his affection but the whole time she does not know he is a Mafia King. He sits in the shadows and watches but has his bodyguard to follow her in the day-to-day movements. While in real life stalking like this is a huge red flag, in a romance total turn on!
The next level to The Chase can be forced proximity.
This is done via kidnapping or even through a forced marriage. The Hero doing all he can to remain in close contact with his heroine.
In the book Little Dove by Layla Frost. The hero Maximo holds the heroine in captivity for a year until she is of legal age. In Dangerous Temptations by Giana Darling, the hero becomes the legal guardian to the heroine and her brother so that he can continue to purse and control her. In the Beast of Bishops Landing by Amelia Wilde the hero kidnaps the heroine and holds her captive until she stops fighting her attraction to him.
Broken Whispers by Neva Altaj, the hero is stalking the ballerina by watching every performance she is in. When presented with an arranged marriage to her he takes it. Slowly the two of them come together, but it takes time! In Taken by Him by Mesha Stone, two years after meeting her he returns to claim her as his bride even as she fights against him and her attraction. He holds her at his compound until she finally gives in to her desire.
Bloodied Hands by Adelaide Forrest is a great blend of the 2 examples above of Chase. In this book the hero has claimed the heroine and watching over her since they broke up in high school. Now 10 years later a chance encounter leads to him showing up in her house uninvited and moving her into his home without really asking permission.
The most extreme examples of the Chase are Primal Kink.
While this is not going to be for everyone it is 100% for me. When I say Primal Kink, we are talking about the intensity of a game of cat and mouse where the result is complete submission. Primal Kink is typically not going to have clear sexual consent. These are romances to go into lightly if you are someone who has triggers and needs sexual consent. These romances are often gritter and more violent than the start of the genre.
One of the authors I enjoy reading is Zoe Blake, who writes exceptional primal kink novels. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the books in her Ivanov Family Series. Zoe Blake crafts dominant alpha heroes who relentlessly pursue the women they claim as their own in her stories, which are centered around the thrill of the chase and the capture. Despite the heroine’s resistance or attempts to hide, she is always tracked down and ultimately succumbs to the passion and desire of her captor.
While in real life clearly these recs would be giant red flags as situations to void but in the constructs of Mafia Romantic fiction these books are some of the best when it comes to “The Chase” .
You can find more Mafia Romance book Recs on Ep 143 of Buzzing about Romance