Book Review, Dark, Enemies to Lovers, Fairy Tale, Forbidden, Mafia, Romance, Series, Sleeping Beauty

A Kiss of Venom (Black Widow #1) by Beena Khan


A comatose broken with a single, deadly kiss.

Once upon a dream…

Heavy were the eyelids of the woman who reigns alone. I’ve been in a coma for the past three years after an accident has left me unconscious and widowed. I’m in a sleep so deep, it cannot be broken… until one day, I feel a brush of soft lips against mine.

In my groggy state, I wake up to a pair of dark eyes and a sinister smile.

Now, I’ve returned to my old life. I’m your neighborhood hot mess single mom who keeps her nose in everyone’s business. My husband was the FBI director, and I was one of his agents. We were part of an operation, and now, caught in the crosshairs, I revisit one of the most treacherous cases of the most dangerous man in New York City.

My case is the Tyrant Alexander Nikolaev, the Pakhan of the Russian Bratva.

They say all great love stories have happy endings, but mine has already ended in a tragedy…. and yet he’s awakening something in me that’s both dark and tantalizing. Kill him or kiss him, I can’t decide.

I’m getting ensnared in his trap. If I don’t entangle myself from his wicked power—I, Ghislaine Khalil, just might end up losing my life. Then no one can sever these threads.

Welcome to New York’s Underworld.

Loosely based on the fairytale Sleeping Beauty.


I am in awe at the quality and quantity of books Beena Khan churns out. Once again she has written a beautiful and dark forbidden love story for the ages.

A soulless and ruthless knight awakens a broken sleeping beauty, but will the truth destroy them?

FBI Agent Ghislaine Khalil has been in a coma for three years from a tragic accident and is awakened by a kiss from none other than Alexander “Zander” Nikolaev, the Pakhan of the Russian Bratva. Ghislaine tries to make sense of her life again by being the mother of a four-year-old and moving on from the loss of her husband, FBI Director Driss Khalil who died in the accident. She is also harrassed and humiliated daily by the new FBI Director Cyrus Drakos and her former partner. When Drakos goes too far one night she crosses paths with Zander again and her life is changed forever. 

Zander Nikolaev is unexpectedly charmed by a little girl who insists he kisses her mother awake. From that moment on Ghislaine Khalil becomes his obsession. Her pain becomes his pain. Her darkness is his darkness. He will do anything to keep her forever, but their life isn’t a fairy tale.

Beena Khan does heartbreaking tragedy well. Just when you think Ghislaine and Zander could possibly make their unlikely and forbidden romance work, the other shoe drops. Ghislaine is so broken and dangerous as she seriously loses control a couple of times. But Zander understands psychopathic tendencies and is the only one who understands how to break her out of her shell and become alive again. At the same time, Ghislaine teaches Zander how to feel and express himself with words instead of actions. Zander’s betrayal is devastating and unforgivable and Ghislaine pushes him away as he fights hard to get her back. The way he opens up to her is heartbreaking as he finally desperately pours out his feelings and leaves himself vulnerable to the point of putting others in danger. Ghislaine and Zander deserve a happily ever after even if they have to go through hell to get there.

Ghislaine’s daughter Noura steals the show with her adorable lisp and the love she so desperately wants from her mommy. I also love Ghislaine’s aunts who would do anything to protect Ghislaine and Noura including the whole knife-wielding incident. I can’t wait to read more about Zander’s cruel and broody brother Dimitri. Of course, it’s wonderful to see characters from The Beauty and the Beast series. Miran is one of my all-time favorites.  Take a look at other reviews of Beena Khan’s books.

I highly recommend the first book in the Black Widow series with its tragic and complex characters, poetic prose, and a climactic and rewarding ending. 

Thank you to Ms. Khan for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


A Kiss of Venom

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Beena KhanBeena Khan writes literary fiction and edgy, contemporary romance. She 27 years old and lives in New York. She’s from Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, an immigrant who moved to New York when she was five years old. She currently holds a Masters Degree in Developmental Psychology. She enjoys reading, writing, and netflixing. The Name of Red is her debut novel published at the age of 26. All of her books are on Kindle Unlimited + Free Novella!

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