When She Tempts

Author: Gabrielle Sands

First Published: 02 February 2023

Series: The Fallen

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“Now, I think even the most broken of things can be mended by the right pair of hands.” 

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Gabrielle for sending a copy my way!

Also this is a sequel; I will try and keep my review as spoiler free as possible but just be wary if you haven’t read the first book, When She Unravels

She’s eighteen. Innocent. Forbidden.

Martina De Rossi is off-limits, and not just because her brother is about to become the Don.

When I agree to protect her while he’s out waging a brutal war, it isn’t only out of loyalty.

It’s because Martina is the perfect pawn in my game of revenge.

Unfortunately, she’s also temptation personified.

Innocent eyes. A body to die for. Silky blond hair that begs to be wrapped around my fist.

I’m a master of staying in control, but with each day she spends with me inside the walls of my remote Italian castle, I can feel my resolve cracking.

My gaze starts to drift.

My touch starts to linger.

And when she tempts, I realize this game we’re playing might be one I won’t win

When She Tempts is the second book in Gabrielle Sands’ mafia romances series and oh my god! I adored this. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how this could top the first book, When She Unravels, but it does. Queue the book hangover because I am not ready to leave this world.

Martina De Rossi is spirited away from Ibiza to secret, formidable castello in regional Italy as her brother goes to war to become the Caselesi clan’s new Don. Being the only sibling to a rouge Capo, Matrina is the perfect target to bring her brother to heel. Martina is dealing with the aftermath of the events in the first book. She is suffering from survivor guilt after her trip to New York ended with the death of her best friend. She clings to her phone like a lifeline and has lost interest in the world. However, Giorgio does not let float around aimlessly. He confiscates her phone, challenging her to find it without him knowing, and teaches her self-defense. All this sparks a fire in Martina. I adore watching her heal and find her sense of power and self. She does face some setbacks, which felt expected as recovering from the trauma she has gone through does take time.

I did not think I would love Giorgio more than Damino but damn! If possible, Giorgio is an even more alpha, broody hero with a huge dose of touch-her-and-you-die vibes. It’s safe to say I now worship at the altar of Giorgio. Giorgio has this obsession with his class and constantly refers to himself as a low-born, which is why he could never be with Martina. In fact, he seems to use their age gap as the perfect excuse to push Martina away. My heart burst when he finally opened up to Martina about his past. It was harrowing to learn about his mother and how this horrific event colour his perception of his self-worth. Martina offers him the comfort and support he has given her, which is incredible.

The tension between these two was electric! The self-defense classes were hot as hell. Martina is a virgin heroine, but she’s not some wilting wallflower who has no interest in sex. In fact, she is the one who peruses Giorgio by tempting him until he loses control. I love this! So different to your typical virginal heroines. I needed a cool down after that spanking scene. Now there is a third-act break-up, which is not my favourite, but the groveling was everything and made it worth it. Hands down the best groveling I’ve read. Not only was Gio mature enough to give Martina space and allow her time to process her feelings and most recent attack, the man writes her a letter each day they are apart, which details each reason he is sorry. My heart just about exploded from all the swooning.

The mafia elements were executed perfectly! I am pretty picky about mafia romances since I am completely fascinated by them and have read a lot about the mafia. Now I’m not saying Gabrielle Sands has some inner connection, but damn did she nail it! There was a perfect balance between the mafia plot and the steamy, slow-burn romance. I couldn’t get enough of both elements.

I have adored all of Gabrielle Sand’s books and am thrilled that When She Tempts is no exception. If you are looking for a dark mafia romance with a deliciously steamy age-gap romance this one is for you.

I am beyond excited for the next book, When She Falls, which will be Ras and Gemma’s story. Things are about to get messy, and it will be so worth it! The next instalment will be coming later this year.

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