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Publisher's Summary

An emotional thrill ride narrated by Jason Clarke and Carly Robins!

He's the broken prince who takes the train to my elite Uptown school. I'm the pretend princess with her life mapped out. We meet at a masquerade ball on the Upper West Side, and we both feel it. His bruises match my cracks. Our love cures everything that ails us. Or it should. But this isn't a fairy tale. It's a tragedy. 

We're tangled in a web of lies from the first moment, star-crossed long before we ever know what turns our story dark. What should have been the perfect first love ends in bloodshed and so many broken things.

Luca Galante's not a prince at all. And this is a cautionary tale. 

©2020 Ella James (P)2020 Piece of Cake Audiobooks

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What listeners say about Dark Heart

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

AN AWESOME STAR-CROSSED LOVERS STORY

For me, this turned out to be a non-stop listen.. as teens fall hard for each other in High School.. as their skies shine bright with possibilities.. as young love is whispered in sunny days filled with sweet swoons.. and as they give themselves to each other for their first times and dream of forever. Then they get ripped apart. And Book 2 is a very different story for these star-crossed lovers fourteen years on where Elise has just been appointed DA and Luca is neck deep in the Mafia world. However, the cosmic energy still sizzles and sparks between them when they get near each other.. but their truths and secrets are still waiting for the right time to be shared. There will be tears, heartache and storm clouds in their future.. along with bloodshed, split loyalties, lifestyle choices and soul-searching before the blissful happily ever afters. YA romance isn’t usually my ‘genre of choice’.. but Book 1 is a necessary sweet stepping-stone to get to the main event of Book 2 where emotions and chemistry oozes thick from it’s chapters. It’s an addictive slow-burn where boundaries will be breached, where mountains will get moved and where finally peace-filled tomorrows will romantically be reached. This rollercoaster romance was full of emotional angst as Elise and Luca try to keep their distance from a love that haunts them still.. but who will end up sacrificing and sabotaging their careers to win back the other piece of their souls? Yes, there could’ve been a wee bit more depth and darkness, but I loved it nevertheless and rarely hit pause. The dual POV narration by Jason and Carly was great of course - Jason bringing the characters to life is always awesome.. but speaking Italian words of love and endearment takes it up to a whole new level (swoon💕). WORTH A CREDIT? You can’t really have one without the other so it’s actually two.. and YES, IMO, they’re both absolutely creditworthy.

1 person found this helpful

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An amazing start to a Sinfully dark duet!

This is book 1 in the Dark Heart duet and what a brilliant start to a new series.

This book is no fairytale. It is dark, sinful and so very emotional.
It started out sweet and I wasn't expected for the darkness that crept in and blew my mind.

Definitely not what I expected going into the series and I was definitely pleasantly surprised by the end of it.

I recommend picking up book 2 as well if you plan on reading this one.

The duet narration was absolutely brilliant!

1 person found this helpful

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Great duet by a new to me author

Received this ALC in exchange for my honest review.
This is my first Ella James book and it definitely won't be my last.! This is a tragic/dark romance novel narrated by Jason Clarke and Carly Robins, who were phenomenal. I went into this book not knowing what to expect and was sucked in from the very first chapter. Ella has a way of drawing in the reader and bringing the story to life through her words.
This is a duet so you'll want to grab both books at once so you don't have to wait.
It starts off while the MCs are in high school and are drawn to eachother almost immediately. Luca comes from the 'other side of the tracks ' and Elise comes from an affluent family. What they both have in common is a mafia connection.
I won't post any spoilers but this story in book 1 starts off like a typical romance with some YA drama and weaves into this beautifully tragic love story that ends with an "i don't know if my heart can take much more of this" moment. But... it's not the end... merely the middle of Luca and Elise's story. While this book has some steam, its more sweet and tender.
My favorite takeaway from this book is how much emotion Ella was able to evoke from me and I listened through the night and HAD TO start the next book ASAP.

1 person found this helpful

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Dark love story

I am totally in love with this story...this couple...this book!
Carly Robins and Jason Clarke did a wonderful job at enhancing this story. Jason's voice as Luca sent chills down my spin and Carly as Elise was magical.
I love a mafia book, I love a second chance at romance...I love a dark, twisted books!
Luca is the most amazing thing...he is sensitive, strong, and he loves hard.
Elise is pensive, a people pleaser, and she loves just as hard. I love how they met, he saved her, she let him, they grew close.
I think a fated love like theirs was bound to end just as fast as it started...the only thing that made the end of this book ok was knowing I could finish reading their story in Twisted Fate.
#lamiaRose

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing start to the duet

This story was… beautiful and heartbreaking. I wasn’t sure at first what to expect, the story starts when Elise and Luca are in high school. I’m not normally into stories set in high school but I could not stop this story. I did not want to stop this story.

Elise meets Luca when she’s being bullied by a couple guys and Luca comes to her rescue and stands up for her. The two develop a friendship that slowly evolves into more. The two have a sweet and innocent romance that I just adore and want for myself. Elise is the light and Luca is the dark who wants to become the light. Luca’s father is involved with some unfortunate people that eventually pulls Luca into the dark.

“I want to bow down to that power, to the power of Elise. She is my heart, forever. So it's fitting that I rip it out.” This line gutted me. No matter what happens, Luca will do whatever he needs to protect her. To protect his heart, his Elise.

The story leaves in a cliffhanger which concludes in “Twisted Fate”. It’s out now so you don’t have to worry about waiting forever.

I was given an advance copy of the audiobook for my honest review. Jason Clarke was amazing as Luca and I loved hearing him talk in Italian. Carly Robins did a beautiful job as Elise, she made me feel all the feels.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Beginning to an Enthralling Tale

I didn't know what to expect when I began this story but as Carly Robins begins narrating Act 1, I was hooked. Yes, I was a little hesitant as we first meet Luca and Elise while in high school. Luca and Elise are polar opposites in both family and upbringing. He's street smart while she's sheltered. Luca is smitten with Elise and though he knows he's not good enough for her, he's still drawn to her innocence and beauty. Elise is curious about the quiet boy who's agreed to help her out of a jam.
Book 1 is a slow burn filled with angst but it's so worth every minute spent. The end of book one will leave you gasping and though the narrator's, Carly Robins and Jason Clarke, have done a fantastic job throughout, it is the last 3rd of the book where they really shine as they face major life-changing events. As this is a duet, it does end on a cliffhanger.

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Dark and Delightful!

Dark Heart is the first book in a duet by Ella James. Jason Clarke and Carly Robins brought Elise and Luca to life. Elise is the little rich girl who falls for the scholarship student from the poor part of town. The 2 sneak around to see each other. This goes on through their entire senior year only to come to a crashing halt the week of graduation. There are many dark elements throughout this book with several deaths around Elise and Luca. There should have been some trigger warnings about them, but all in all it was a really good book. The characters are developed to fit their ages and experiences and the world around them is described from their POV.
Would I listen to this book again? yes
Would I recommend this book to others? yes, with the trigger warnings and when appropriate.
This team of writer and narrators did an amazing job with bringing the characters to life. Well written and well narrated.

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Beautiful and Heartbreaking 🖤🖤

Book 1 of this duet pulls you in slowing and sets up the scene nicely. It was a bit of a YA romance because the characters are in high school and their romance is a bit forbidden and star cross. Their first love turns into a forever kind of love filled with obstacles that tear them apart from day one. I absolutely enjoyed this book and loved how the characters were developed as the story went on to set it up for book 2. Elise is kind and loving and is the perfect match for Luca, the tortured “bad” boy with a heart of gold. It was emotional, sweet, a slow burn romance and heartbreaking all in one! This story left me wanting more of Luca and Elise. That cliff hanger at the end was so gut wrenching, you will not want to stop listening. Also the narrators were the best! They did a phenomenal job as Elise and Luca. They really brought out all the emotion in the characters and made it so real! I would definitely recommend this book!
*Received ALC in exchange for HONEST review *

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Emotional

I felt like Dark Hearts was more of a prequel than an actual novel. It was all the backstory you needed for Twisted Fate, so with that being said - it either should have been a novella, or the two books should have been combined into one.
Dark hearts is the high school story of Elise and Luca. It is interesting, and you get a lot of back story, but it is not the actual story.
The narrators were good, but I thought Jason Clarke’s voice seemed a lot more adult than a 17-year-old kid, but his voice was undoubtedly sexy. Carly Robbins certainly fit the character, and I liked the way she voiced the character. They both did an excellent job of changing their voices to match the characters they were voicing.

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Emotional thrill ride!

Dark Heart is an emotional thrill ride that is undeniably tragic, twisted, & beautiful with brilliant performances by Jason Clarke and Carly Robins! Luca was born into a world of dark secrets and caught up in things out of his control. In spite of living in this world he has a beautiful spirit and personality that shines through, especially when he is inspired by his love for Elise, who comes from a completely different background. This story does a brilliant job of highlighting what is beautiful in an imperfect world where people are caught up in things out of their control and being pulled in very different directions. In spite of the sinister darkness lurking in Luca’s world, the two of them are adorable together and make you believe that love might conquer all. Lines like "I love you more than lemon cake" made me swoon completely as I was swept away. The other characters in this book really bring depth to the story. Elise's father is very interesting. Even though there are difficulties in the story Elise's father is a very interesting character. I loved his honesty. You can tell he is also caught up in dark things and still recognizes the good in people.

Jason Clarke and Carly Robbins deliver haunting performances, so you can really lose yourself in these young characters as they experience falling in love, growing up, and eventually how cruel life can be.

I received an advanced listener copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-16-21

Really Good Duet

Book one of a duet. This series is ultimately a mafia story, however I would categorize this part as new adult. Two very different but equally likeable characters. This story gives a lot of background between them and has so many sweet moments and so much heartbreak.
Jason Clarke and Carly Robbins are the perfect narrators for this audio book.

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  • Demetra Toula Iliopoulos
  • 01-15-21

The heart knows a great story

Book 1 in the series. Ella James always writes fantastic heart stopping stores. She always puts herself in the characters position . The story always has very full details. The characters are strong and heart stopping.
In this story the hero and heroine know each other from a young age. They know what’s in their heart . But they are from 2 different worlds .
Hero is Luca and heroine is Elise.
Luca thinks he’s from a family that is dark , a mob family and he thinks he can’t offer Elise anything good . Elise comes from a rich family but the responsibility is always bring her down. Luca try’s to keep away but there is one great thing about him. He’s a protector.

Carly Robins and Jason Clark performance was out of this world . They brought the characters to life and it seems you were right beside them in the story

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  • Jan M
  • 01-14-21

Luca

Ella James captivated me with Dark Heart. I love the genre of mafia romances, and this one is fantastic! The author was incredible how she wrote the characters of Luca and Elise. She brought out the dark and light in them, and had the storyline to be so compelling. Carly Robins and Jason Clarke were magical bringing the characters to life. They had great chemistry and inflected the right emotions in their voices.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Clare Tunilla
  • 01-13-21

Really good

I volunteered to listen and review an ALC of this. All opinions are my own. I didn't really know what to expect from this. I've not adored everything I've read from this author but this...I really did enjoy it. It was tense, it was angsty, it was gritty, hella dramatic, and you'll wanna make sure you have book 2 lined up right away. Luca Galante knows who he is. He's the poor boy from Red Hook, but he meets his angel Elise O'Hara at a party and then at school and they have a star-crossed lovers style connection. While they might be young, what they go through is adult and it's heavy. My usual mafia tastes swing a lot darker than this, I have a feeling book 2 will bring it hard and I'm really excited for book 2.

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  • Gillek2
  • 01-13-21

Luca and Elise!

Luca may be young, but he is fierce, and no sacrifice is too great for those he cares about. Falling in love with Elise may be ill-advised but it was unavoidable. Elise comes from an affluent family, but no one could say she was living a fairy tale.

Two opposites when it comes to their lifestyles who meet each other when they are teenagers and they give each other hope for the future and show each other a different life from the one they find themselves in. Their love is deep and pure but only time will tell if it strong enough to overcome the devastation that they are about to face.

Luca and Elise take us on an emotional ride and leaves us wondering what the future holds for this captivating couple. The narrators did a great job of bringing out the emotion and angst of the characters and the story.

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  • LilleyLoohLah
  • 01-12-21

Oh My Word!

Flipping heck, my heart went out to both Luca and Elise. Both victims of circumstance, both passionate about the other. Forbidden romance is a firm favourite of mine, add in the mafia links, and I was a happy girl. Luca is the boy paying for his father’s sins, and Elise is the love of his life. Elise was born into an advantaged family, a family that want nothing to do with Luca. Their secret relationship however cannot stay secret forever, not when there are eyes and ears everywhere, as is the case when you have friends in low places. Addictive - definitely, exciting - most certainly. I loved it. This book most definitely lends itself to audio, and Jason Clarke and Carly Robins were perfect as Luca and Elise. Also, don’t forget it’s book 1 of a duet, so yes, it does end rather abruptly, but don’t worry, book 2 is ready and waiting for you, and yes, I’m diving straight in. I cannot wait.

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  • debbie (Dr21982)
  • 01-12-21

Emotional teenage rollercoaster

I was given a copy of this book by Little Dog Press to review it in audio for an honest review
Book 3.5 star
Audio narrators 5 star

Audiobook narrators Jason Clarke and Carly Robins where exceptional as always👌

I enjoyed Luca and Elise love story however from reading the blurb I was disappointed as expected them to be older and for it to be more mafia related. They have small ties to the mafia but not actually in the mafia. The story is good and it flows well so you could get a feeling of how much these two where falling in love with one another to go into book 2 but I needed a little something more. I have to say also that I know that these two are teens but Elise’s constant crying in every single chapter really was starting to put me off. I intrigued to find out what happens to the two people who fell in love but can never be together.

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  • PATRICIA
  • 01-12-21

Building up for book 2!

I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Ella James. Her writing is beautiful, her characters complex yet easy to relate to and her plots just pull you in. This first book in the Dark Heart series introduces us to Luca and Elise. Both go to the same school, yet are completely opposite. Elise is a beautiful soul, seeing the good in people. A little naive, but she loves with her whole heart and is extremely loyal. Luca has fallen for this beautiful girl. He is protector of all. He too loves large, but his circumstances don't always allow him to. These two come together when they need each other the most. The lights in the darkness, we fall for them. Until the James gives us the twists and turns that rip up apart. Young, high school love. Does it truly ever end? Will these two be forever apart? This book is beautifully written. It's paced evenly so we get the to know the characters and scenes are beginning to set. I love the way James has framed this, letting us enjoy the build up and the history so when the cliffhanger came, i was ready to spring into the next book to see where life takes them!

Jason Clarke and Carly Robins are exceptional with this narration. It's extremely emotional and both let us feel it. Clarke is a little broody and really gives us the conflict Luca feels. Robins has a sweet voice for Elise, showing us her true heart. It's a wonderful listen.