Captivated by Him
by Measha Stone
“Captivated by Him” book 3 in the Mafia Brides series from Measha Stone. Each book has focused on one of the 3 adult children of Polish mafia leader Joseph Staszek, and now it is younger son Jakub’s turn. I’ve enjoyed both of the previous books in the series, although they are all able to be read as stand-alones. Jakub captured my interest from the start of the series, and I was excited to finally read his story. I was definitely not disappointed!
Jakub seems to be a fun-loving member of his mafia family, running nightclubs on the legitimate side of the family business. The beginning of this book takes place 5 years earlier, when he and female lead Nicole meet and have a very brief relationship. As the story unfolds, Jakub and Nicole become entangled in a complicated relationship that seamlessly blends boss/employee, forced marriage and second chance tropes. I thought they were both likeable characters.
Nicole was a difficult character for me to warm up to at first, but then I realized that is her character. The further you get into the book, the more you’re able to understand her. This book was not as ‘dark’ as the previous ones in the series because Jakub’s focus is always on protecting Nicole. He has an unequivocally dominant personality that he is forced to self-restrain when dealing with his father and brother, because of his place in the family hierarchy. In dealing with the rest of the world, he is strong, fair and intimidating. The chemistry between Jakub and Nicole is scorching hot and involves domestic discipline and some power exchange. Nicole is depicted as intelligent and capable, yet at the end of the story she makes some dumb choices, which I understood were necessary to set up the final action sequence. I really liked her courage and resolve at the end, and her handling of a character involved in that part of the story who appeared as an unexpected plot twist.
I was left with a couple of unanswered questions, but nothing that really took away from enjoying the story. It’s nice to see glimpses of the siblings and their spouses appear at times in this story. I’ve enjoyed this series. Although all 3 Staszek siblings have had their stories told, I’m hoping the author has plans to continue the series somehow.