Book Review, College, Contemporary, Mafia, Romance, Series

Asher Black (The Five Syndicates #1) by Parker S. Huntington


It started with my bladder. I didn’t mean to witness a shady deal in the restroom hallway. I didn’t think twice when I called the cops. And I certainly didn’t know who the club belonged to.

Asher Black. Former mafia hitman. Billionaire CEO. New York’s most eligible bachelor.

When he shows up at my college, looking for the girl who called the cops on his business, I know I’m as good as dead. What I don’t expect is his offer–he’ll pay my tuition and set me up with a cushy job after I graduate. All I have to do is… be his fake fiancée.


I was planning to read book 2 in this series first and changed my mind after reading a note from the author to start at the beginning in order to get the full effect of the series.  Holy cow! I’m so glad I did.

The story is told entirely from Lucy’s perspective which is my favorite POV.  Why? Because there is nothing more thrilling than peeling back the layers of an extremely dangerous and fabulously sexy mob fixer.

Lucy is a courageous foster kid who has never truly been loved and is terrified of being beholden to anyone let alone agreeing to be a fake fiancee to a killer. So she makes the best of her situation and little by little she hears his tragic story and discovers a whole new side to Asher’s killer alter ego including his subtle sense of humor, his chivalry, and his attentiveness. He’s a complex and provocative package that Lucy can’t resist, but will her association with him get her killed?

Lucy and Asher’s story is a slow burn that begins with their fake engagement to save Asher’s seat as CEO to his company. When they start to spend more time together, the attraction builds and Asher reveals that he wants to get out of the mafia business altogether. There are so many ways Asher shows Lucy he cares by giving her gifts proving that he listens, respects her by asking her opinion, and protecting her with his life. In turn, Lucy returns the favor by vowing to make him smile every day, defending him in a kickass verbal dispute, and revealing her tragic past in a very public way. The supporting characters of Xavier, Lucy’s hunky personal bodyguard, and Aimee, Lucy’s hilarious best friend, and roommate,  are essential to Lucy’s protection and friendship and worthy of a story in their own right.  Let’s hope.

Overall, I was delighted to read Ms. Huntington’s debut mafia romance with engaging characters and an interesting plotline filled with cool technological gadgets only an intelligent and savvy ex-mafia fixer would have for his protection. And naturally, this great read motivates me to continue with the series. 

This is not my first Huntington book, but after reading Devious Lies which is an engrossing enemies-to-lovers page-turner, I couldn’t wait to read another.


Asher Black

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Parker S. Huntington is a USA Today, Amazon Top 15, KDP All-Star, and KDP All-Star UK bestselling author from Orange County, California. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside and a Master’s in Liberal Arts in Literature and Creative Writing from Harvard.

She was the proud mom of Chloe, the sweetest princess to have ever lived; has two puppies, Bauer and Rose; and lives with her boyfriend of six (almost seven!) years.

Follow Parker on her website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.