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Publisher's Summary

I was a beauty, a stray orphan until the beast took me as his hostage.

Once upon a time...

A don by the name of Vlad Vitalli ruled New York. 

He's a mafia man. The leader of one of the five ruling families, La Cosa Nostra. He's a monster. A trained killer and a cold-blooded murderer. Tall, mysterious, with icy gray eyes, and he rarely smiles. He's ruthless, cold, dangerous, and wants to kill me.

I was the wrong person at the wrong time. 

Just an innocent at the masquerade ball. The mafia has rules: no witnesses left behind. To save my life, I made a deal with the beast. I handed myself to the cruelest man in the kingdom.

For him, It was supposed to be an easy kill. I'm an orphan raised in poverty. Just as Don Vlad was about to order the hit, I threw off my masquerade mask, revealing my face and offered myself to him. One look, and I was doomed. He took me as his hostage. His captive. He didn't know by taking me, Dahlia Hadid, he sealed his own fate.

Welcome to New York's Underworld. 

A Valentine's Day special. A Gothic romance! A Beauty So Cruel is the first book of the series Beauty & The Beast. Loosely based on the fairy tale. Recommended for fans of enemies-to-lovers, age gap, alpha males, strong heroines, fairy tales, Cora Reilly, Sophie Lark, and Nicole Fox. 

©2021 Beena Khan (P)2021 Beena Khan

What listeners say about A Beauty So Cruel: A Dark Hostage Mafia Romance

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

GOOD.. BUT IT NEEDS A FEMALE NARRATOR

I’m a newbie when it comes to this author and narrator but one sniff of a potentially good Mafia story and I’m all in. Dahlia was in the wrong place at the worst time and because of that (and what she’d seen) she was taken by Vlad.. the Mafia Don and his crew of dangerous men. Dahlia: kidnapped from a masked Ball, a strong captive held hostage in the Beast’s mansion, isolated frightened and hungry for freedom and determined to survive. Vlad: a feared Don without a heart, a ruthless underworld leader, a sexy dark anti-hero and a man trying to stay away from the beauty in the bedroom. Both have been damaged by their childhoods.

It’s thrilling.. and sometimes chilling as the angst, suspense and moves play out in a slow give and take, in a lowering of walls, tentative touches and heated exchanges until Vlad had given his heart. And, along the journey, was danger, a betrayal or two, an auction block where millions were exchanged by a rival Don, gunfire, death and sex.

Worth a credit? Yes I really really liked this story, and I’ve got book 2 locked and loaded ready to play. However, (IMO) the dual POV storyline would’ve been even better with a female narrator too. Mark Wright did a good enough job, but I personally like a dual POV to have a female narrator.. even if the male POV is told in third person. Anyhoo, it’s exciting, climactic, tense, suspenseful and heartwarming as the Beast looses his growl for his beauty.. until the Cliffy WTF mike-drop bomb shock ending. PS.. I personally didn’t find the scenes between Vlad and Dahlia particularly ‘dark’.. but rival Don Salvi nearly crossed the line.

A WARNING ADDITION TO MY REVIEW - I’ve just submitted a review for Book 2 which I HATED.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Dahlia-The Beauty and Vlad-The Ruthless Don

Ms. Khan is a new to me author and wrote a very unique mafia beauty and the beast story. I love mafia romance. This book was so good! It kept my attention from beginning to end. I did not know what would happen next. Dahlia meets Vlad at a masked ball. As she is leaving, she witnesses a murder by Vlad's goons. Vlad was going to kill her but she takes off her mask. He has his men take her to his house. On the way, Leo, Vlad's right-hand man, tries to strangle her and she claws him. When Vlad sees her neck, he made her identify who did it. He proceeds to break both of Leo's hands as punishment.

Vlad's father, Enzo, was a real piece of work who wanted to sell her but Vlad wanted to keep her for himself. Dahlia thought Vlad betrayed her when it was his father who betrayed him and sold her to Salvi Moretti for millions. Vlad went nuts when he found out. Vlad had to act one way in front of his father and men in order to show strength. Neither Vlad nor Dahlia are as they seem.

I was so glad when Leo got what he deserved the night he went to Dahlia's room to hurt and sexually abuse her. He was still angry from when she told Vlad he was the one who strangled her. Vlad witnesses their interaction but did not interfere to help her with good reason. The woman could hold her own against Leo. She is definitely not as she seems and this gives Vlad pause.

I love when they finally came together. You could almost see something slowly developing between them but is it real? Vlad's intention was to never let her go. She is his captive but will he let her go?

Oh my goodness, that cliffhanger ending and a taste of what is to come! What an ending! My heart broke for Vlad. He was falling for Dahlia. I cannot wait until the next book is on Audible! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and Ms. Khan's writing style. Although Matt Weight did a great job with the narration, it would be even better with both male and female narrators. I received this free copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sexy Captive romance

Well written and narrated ! Both author and narrator are new to me and i thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Matt has a strong deep voice that is very expressive. Beauty and the Beast retelling /captive romance theme. Good balance between romance and steam and i always love a good mob story. Was exciting from the first chapter to the end. Will definitely listen to future Beena Khan books

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully damaged souls!

This is my first story by Beena Khan and I enjoyed this retelling of Beauty and the Beast! Vlad and Dahlia are two damaged souls ravaged by the circumstances of their lives. Although their situations are completely different, both struggle to do what is right and moral without losing compassion, understanding and humanity! Hard lessons are learned, sacrifices made and forgiveness won! Matt Weight is also a new narrator to me and did a great job narrating. However, I think the story would benefit from a female narrator as well! Overall this was a good experience!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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The ending saved it

3.5 Stars

Audio ARC provided by Author upon my request.

I wanted so bad for this to be a 5 star read for me. But I listened to the audio book and I need to consider that in my rating and experience.

The story follows Delilah who witnesses a murder and is kidnaped by the Mafia Don, Vlad, who also has Bratva ties hence his name. I'm not really sure what the plot is after that. There are some scenes with the two MCs, there are flash backs for both of them. There are some parts that weren't needed because they didn't help further the plot I was still too unsure about.

The story is written in Dual POV which I love but it's confusing because Delilah's was written in 1st person and Vlad's was written in 3rd person. I don't think I've ever read a book like that before.

The audiobook needed some editing due to repeating lines. Also, it needed a male and female narrator. Having a male narrator only really took from the experience in my opinion.

But wait, I am not just going to tell you what I didn't enjoy or what didn't do it for me.

Let me tell you what Beena Khan did to me. She finished off this book with a big old fat BAM!!!!! The ending saved it for me. Oh my goodness!! Yes it's a cliffy, but if you want someone to be hype and buy your next book, your ending has to do that for them. And that is what Beena did, she guaranteed that I would continue the series because I need to know what happens next. I just NEED to!!!

So thank you for providing me with the audio and thank you for showing me a totally different writing style than I am used to and last but no least, thank you for now making me sit here twiddling my thumbs waiting for the next one to drop.

*The book isn't Dark, not in how I would define it b/c I read some pretty dark books, but it does have events that could be triggering to some.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Welcome to New York's Underworld

I am a huge fan of fairytale retellings, especially for Beauty & The Beast. This book did not disappoint! I think Beena Khan created a great mafia world. I really enjoyed the mafia twist to this retelling, and thought it made it unique. I thought Dahlia and Vlad’s relationship was unique and very passionate and thrilling. Vlad was a total contradiction. A mafia bad boy with a heart. Swoon! Gabriele was a great secondary character. I would love to see him get his own story. It wasn’t hard to become invested in this story. I am dying because of the big cliffhanger at the end and can’t wait for book 2! Thank you to the author and Audio Bookfly for gifting me this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

This audiobook was not quite what I expected, in that the narration was poor. In the end, it’s why I am giving this book 4 stars instead of 5. The tone he used for Vlad was good. But pacing, lack of emotional connection, and mispronunciations ruined it for me. There were several times that he started a sentence over, as if those parts were not edited correctly. Which I understand is not the narrator’s fault, but it didn’t help with the already poor narration. I really hope a new narrator is chosen for the second book. A great narrator can make or break or book. For me, if I hadn’t received this audiobook in exchange for an honest review it would have been a DNF for me based on narration. I highly recommend reading this book versus the audiobook version.

Story: 5 Stars
Narration: 2 Stars
NOLA504NERDS BLOG

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dark Romance .. An Unintended Connection

A head of a major crime family kidnaps a woman after she witnesses a crime. An unexpected attraction, despite how she is treated, what type of men are a part of the ‘family’, results in a connection.
The story has an unexpected turn that I didn’t see coming, which adds to the story.
The narrator was fine, nothing that drew me in but didn’t cause me to want to stop listening or reflect on the story itself.
There is a lead into the next book, unresolved questions..but the connection to the heroine would be the primary reason to read the next book...plus the ability of the author to prove unexpected twists.
I received a free audiobook for an honest and voluntary review.

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This story made me gasp at the end!

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the twist at the end- I did not see any of this coming, but I can’t wait for more of Dahlia’s story to unfold. If you think this is just a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it is so much more than that. Vlad’s flawed mobster is heartbreakingly human and fragile in ways you won’t expect. I finished this book in two days and only stopped because I had to work in the real world. I really loved this story, even when it broke my heart at times.

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love

I loved it. from beginning to end. it kept me waiting for more each chapter

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

This book is click bait

The description or reviews it does not state that this book is a cliffhanger. I struggle through this whole book trying to figure out what the whole point of this book was. Then to get to the end and it ends so jacked up. I don’t get where the writer was coming from I don’t get I don’t get the whole supposedly mafia aspect of this book. I have over 470 audiobooks and this by far was the worst book ever. It is poorly written you don’t know where the book is going and then you get to the end and it’s a jacked up cliffhanger I do not recommend this book. It is not worth a credit or your money I think someone could take this book and revamp it then it will be a good book this is my first book from this author and definitely my last. I never leave reviews especially ones like this but I just feel the readers to get something that’s true instead of something vague

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  • mangankillarney
  • 04-05-21

Enjoyed

I enjoyed listening to Matt Weight.

Heads up this book ends on a cliffhanger
Now this is a fantastic dark romance. If you love a great mafia romance then you’ll absolutely love this book! This has drama, passion .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • 🎧Mandy🎧 Sawyer 🎧Audiobook 🎧Obsession🎧 Reviewer🎧
  • 04-03-21

Brilliant

This has a bit of everything for you. It’s gritty with an edge to it that some may find difficult. I absolutely loved the storyline. With a fantastically written survivor that has so much strength. I can’t wait for more.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jessica - 🎧 Audiobook Obsession 🎧 The Flock 🎧 Audiobooks Unleashed🎧
  • 03-28-21

😭😭😭

Oh. My. Gosh!

The ending just wrenched me so hard. I literally want to cry. I hope that this is something that they can some how over come, but I don’t really see how that is possible. The story was good, but I definitely feel like I got punched in the stomach there at the end.

Matt Weight did a great job with the narration. I would recommend this book, but be prepared to get a gut punch at the end.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • LeMiliere
  • 03-23-21

Dahlia and Vlad

When I started listening to this story about Dahlia and Vlad I had no idea that the book was going to leave me standing on a cliff edge at the end. The story was described as a Mafia Beauty and The Beast story but I beg to differ, Dahlia Hadid is in no way the innocent character portrayed as Beauty in the fairytale. She's a strong character who survived the foster care system and was moulded by the things which happened to her during her youth things that have forever changed her. She's determined to never be a victim again.

Don Vladimir Vitalli took over control of the family business from his father and as you would expect from a crime family they deal in drugs and human trafficking although Vlad hates that aspect of the business and refuses to deal in children. When Dahlia witnesses something she shouldn't she is taken captive by Vlad. But he's nothing like the man she was expecting, towards her he is caring and gentle, yes she's his captive but he never forced her to do anything. He even killed to keep her safe. But can she allow herself to fall for a beast like him?

I know we're probably not supposed to but I felt for Vlad, he's shut off emotionally, not surprising being brought up the way he was. Being Don was forced upon him, it's not his choice it's his duty. He's walking a fine line trying to make changes. Enzo, his father is a cruel, narcissistic and interfering man who wants to keep Vlad alone and when he sees that Vlad has a soft spot for Dahlia he decides to hurt him by using her. Vlad has declared her his and he's unwilling to share, is he falling in love?

This story held my attention easily maybe I'm a romantic but I wanted happiness for Vlad, I didn't see the shocking twist coming and if I'm honest I didn't like it. I wonder what is going to happen next, does their story continue in the next book? This is no fairytale romance, it's a dark, intriguing story full of harsh situations and cruelty although there are some tender moments and some hot chemistry be warned that it does have an unexpected and shocking cliffhanger ending.

The narration of this book by Matt Weight is very well done, he brought all the complex characters to life beautifully.

My review is written voluntarily.