Age gap, Author Request, Book Review, Contemporary, Friends to Lovers, Mafia, Marriage of Convenience, Romance

Family Ties by Nat Chelloni


She’s the temptation he cannot resist.

Gina Leonardi is seventeen and romantic. She wants to be an ordinary girl with an ordinary life, but it’s next to impossible. Her family is in the Mafia. She fights for her rights, mutinying against the world where men treat women like accessories.

He is everything she hates.

Renzo Castellano is twenty-nine. He is a true Cosa Nostra. He has no room for sentiments because business always comes first for him. Taking care of a rebellious teenage girl is the last thing he wants.

A chance encounter shatters their worlds because it’s not always business; sometimes, it’s strictly personal…


The second in Nat Chelloni’s mafia romance series brings us to the “Wedding of the Year” between Domenico Bonacci and Julia Leonardi who I met in A Favor for a Favor. At the wedding a beautiful and mouthy teenager bums a cigarette from an intrigued future young Don. This is Gina and Renzo’s story.

I’m not a big fan of age-gap romances, but I was captivated by the laid-back and pragmatic Renzo Castellano and the candid and perceptive Gina Leonardi.  Fate brings them together, first at the wedding while sharing a cigarette and then unexpectedly in Vegas as he rescues her from a drunken night with strangers. Those meetings lead to a friendship destined for much more as the life Gina abhors as a Don’s daughter with no freedom is “forced” into a marriage of convenience with none other than the handsome and protective Renzo Castellano. Renzo has saved her from a calculated move by an enemy in the midst, but his promise of a marriage in name only is proving to be dangerous for him.

I love Gina’s grit and honesty. She is more mature than her years and she can get the private and reserved Renzo to open up about his personal life. I also love her interest in lighting design which is something you don’t often hear about as a career. Renzo is a smart businessman and an effective boss. His respect for Gina is refreshing and I love his attentiveness to her which is normally unheard of by a mob boss. The chemistry between Renzo and Gina is off the charts and when the slow burn is finally ignited, it’s well worth the wait.

Though my favorite part of the book is the romance, Ms. Chelloni also knows how to write about the incredibly complicated and exciting mafia life in detail. So be prepared for murder, revenge, imprisonment, and more. 

Gina’s and Renzo’s families are a great support unit for the couple as they rally together during tough times. I can’t wait to read more about this engaging group.

I highly recommend this gripping romance filled with suspense, love, family, and retribution. 

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


Family Ties

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Nat Chelloni is a TV personality, a screenwriter, a film critic, an avid book reader across all genres, and now a published author.

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