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Publisher's Summary

Serve the Family at all costs. That’s my purpose in life. No one asked me if I wanted it. Now there’s no way out. 

And there’s definitely no place for Jake, a do-gooder military vet who sticks his nose in where it doesn’t belong.

He thinks he saw darkness in the Army? He hasn’t looked at the depths inside me. He’d run screaming if he knew. But he’s made something in our crumbling neighborhood I thought couldn’t exist. Something I want to be a part of. Just like I want him. But I have to walk away. No one betrays the Family and lives.

Knight in the Shadows is a full length m/m mafia romance featuring a wounded army vet trying to make the best of his neighborhood and the mafia enforcer with a dark past who never expected to fall in love!

©2020 Special Fiction Books (P)2020 Special Fiction Books

What listeners say about Knight in the Shadows

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An angsty listen!

This is book 1 in the series and can be listened to as a standalone.
This was an overall angsty listen.
The character development was great and the plot was engaging.

The narration was fairly good.
I look forward to the rest of the series in this world.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great Listen

I enjoyed the book and dove right in for the narration. I wasn’t familiar with this narrator but it was great. I could get lost in the storyline and just enjoy it coming to life.

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Good start to a new series

This book is a good start to a new series which involves a local mafia breakaway group working together with residents of the area to restore peace to the area. I really like the characters we met, they’re a diverse group of people and it’s well set up for more books in the series.

This book is about Max and Jake who are the leaders of the mafia breakaway group and the local residents group respectively. They’re both strong men who are willing to fight hard for what they believe is right. The chemistry between them crackles and is hot and hard, beneath the physical though they are emotionally gentle and vulnerable with each other. Really enjoyable characters that I loved learning about.

The narrator sometimes left me feeling a little lost as to which MC was talking as there was no real differentiation between their voices.

I received an arc of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving an honest and unbiased review

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

Jake and Max

Jake is running the gym his Uncle left him, and trying to help everyone keep their homes and businesses from the Mob, when Max is sent by Mafia boss to investigate a missing drug shipment, he comes across Jake and they team up to help get rid of the bad mafia. Great start to a new series. Very enjoyable

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A Mafia M/M romance? By Ali Lyda? I'm SO there!

Once again I am reviewing the kind of book I wouldn't ordinarily reach for by writer Ali Lyda hasn't let me down yet. In 'Knight in the Shadows', we encounter a gangster with a heart and soul. What I find so memorable about this book is the affection expressed by the characters. The authors did not turn the book into a 'slaughter fest' nor was the book so focused on sexual interaction as a 'selling' feature of the book. I was pleasantly surprised that phrases like 'he reached for his hand' and 'trying not to shed tears' were used. The author described two characters, a mobster and a medically discharged soldier, as men who had and would show genuine feelings with looks and touches that weren't strictly sexual. When the couple does come together for sexual intimacy, the encounter is so much more delightful because of it. Max and Jake had a well-established relationship based on mutual respect as well as mutual need. And I love that a gym and the found family surrounding it was the focal point in a beautifully quaint neighborhood that fought off a mob takeover in the past and proved they could again! This is one of the best books I've EVER read! It left me feeling so good. The narrator did a wonderful job, too! Great work!!!

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Mobsters and Heroes

Max Russo is a mobster close to inheriting the family leadership, but there's a problem. He doesn't want that position in this particular family. He wants to create a new family, run his way and not hiding who he loves. Even though he's in the mob he is a good man.

Jake Olm is a good man, some might say a hero. He was a military man who lost his leg and many friends in service. He wants to clean up his neighborhood just like his uncle who left him the local gym. Everyone depends on Jake to keep everything together.

Their attraction is immediate but their reasons to stay apart are strong. Jake was the mafia away from his neighborhood and Max was to protect Jake, but what they build together is stronger then they realize. Together and with the Elm community they will build a new family, just like Max has ways wanted but they have a hard road ahead of them with Ricky Russo, head of the Russo family in the way.

Narrator was good. Clear character voices.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Mafia Romantic Suspense Story

This audiobook is my first mafia romance. I've just not really considered this subgenre very often. This book was a selection on offer by a review-copy list and decided to check it out by requested it. These are my voluntary opinions of "Knight in the Shadows".

I liked the relationship that develops between wounded soldier Jake and mafia underboss Max. They have each lost their parents and have searched for a found family. Jake has his neighborhood full of friends while Max has the Russo Family that he regrets being involved with. Max, in his mafia-grown mindset, wants to team up with Jake to take control of the crime in the Elm Street neighborhood. It seems to me the authors are going for a redemption story for Max. I don't really buy it though. A criminal's a criminal, no matter how it gets prettied up.

Lyda and May do a good job with making Max and Jake's attraction progress naturally into something more substantial. Their interactions are realistic. There's some angst, but it's written in a way to make it bearable. The reader really gets a sense that these guys love each other despite their different outlooks on how to handle the problems in The Elm.

Mike Peterman's narration is OK. I did feel that the delivery, especially with dialogue, was a little flat. My overall rating would be 3.5 stars based on this, but I rounded up to 4 stars.

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  • SK
  • 02-08-21

Looking for a family

This was a very good beginning to a series. Jake is an ex soldier who suffers from PTSD, is am amputee and had guts for days. He runs a gym and he's working to hold his neighborhood together from the Mafia. He likes the idea of family and he has worked hard to keep his neighborhood as a family.

Max is in the Mafia. He is in the running for taking over from his Stepfather. Along the way the things he really wants starts to take center stage. He just needs to work out a few things.

Along the way you will find secondary characters with stories to tell. This was well developed and flowed nicely. The narrator Mike Peterman, is clear and concise in his speech. I think he did a great job.

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Knight in the Shadows

Knight in the Shadows is book 1 in the Elm Street Mafia series. Jake is a fighter and runs the local gym. Max is part of the local Mafia that is targeting Jake's gym as well as others in the community. The last thing Max and Jake though would happen was them falling for each other. This is a fascinating book about family loyalty, which comes in all shapes and sizes. Jake and Max have to decide what side they're on and if it's worth dying for.
Narrator Mike Peterman does a wonderful job and I look forward to listening to more from him.

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good listen

I really enjoyed this book. It was a good story and I really enjoyed the storyline of it all. The voices for the charters threw me off some. The voices did not match the charters. Other than that I really liked this book. I can't wait for part 2 to come out.

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  • KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • 03-23-21

A Brilliant series opener.

I really enjoyed this book and like the take on a Mafia Romance. Mafia with a heart of gold, sort of...
I loved the dynamics of a dark mafioso who wants to be better and a damaged war hero with a sunny personality. I feel these two played off each other well and acknowledged their differences and the "ethical" dilemmas of them dating rather than being blinded by lust. That being said their connection and lust was steamy AF and I loved their give and take.

The story builds intrigue and hints at some things here and there. They don't ride off into the sunset but they do work towards an HFN ending. There is, of course, the mini "fall out" but thankfully everyone sees the error of their ways quite quickly and comes back together. I really enjoyed the energy and layout of the story and The Elm and look forward to more stories for The Elm and these characters. I can't wait for the next book!

Great narration, character voices, and dialects! I could feel the difference in the characters, their emotions, and their motivations. I really liked this narrator and look forward to more from him!!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Vanessa Leighton
  • 03-15-21

Really enjoyable

This one is really enjoyable the characters are well written and interesting.this one is definitely not as dark as i expected which was a really nice change. Definitely one that i want to listen to again.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • HelenMK69
  • 03-07-21

Mmm what can I say

I did finish it, which I am suprised about. Its been forever since I have felt so let down by a book. I was honestly bored whilst listening to it.

I loved Ali Lyda's Get Inked and Hells Ankhor series, so I was excited to listen to this new series. But this book left me cold. I kept trying hoping it would get better.

The mafia family just didn't gel for me and I'm not sure if the narrator helped or not. His different voices were good but after a while his voice started to drone, but I think that was the story. I listened at 1.10 speed which is slow for me but the narrator did read quiet quickly.

I have to add that the last hour out of 9 hours was the best part of the whole book. Not enough for me to ever want to reread though.

Knight in the Shadows
Elm Street Mafia, Book 1
By: Ali Lyda, Alexa May
Narrated by: Mike Peterman
Series: Elm Street Mafia, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 6 mins


❤❤❤ Overall
🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration
📚📚📚 Story
Read at 1.10 speed on Audibles

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  • Starwarslover
  • 03-03-21

interesting

this was an interesting and different story.. good and curious.. kept me guessing.. the narrator was new for me.. not what i would normally listen to but wasnt monotone so i enjoyed it.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 03-02-21

The Dark Side

I’m not a huge mafia fan but I’ve enjoyed Ali Lyda’s Get Ink’d series, so I figured I would give this one I try. I did enjoy it.

Jake is an injured warrior. He lost his guys in an IED attack - as well as his leg - and he suffers from physical and emotional pain. He’s come back to The Elm to take over his uncle’s gym to teach. He’s even got a kid’s program where the kids learn math, English, and boxing. He’s got a good set-up going but when one of his guys goes missing, his search for the man brings him into contact with Max Russo, a ‘good’ mob boss.

Mafia books are always ambiguous at best with violence sprinkled in and questionable men eventually taking the high road and changing their ways. Except does Max really change all that much? Like I said, morally ambiguous. Although when push comes to shove, he does in at least one case, choose the less violent route.

Mike Peterman narrated the book and I have to say his voice is perfect for the rough and tumble guys who make up this crew, and I have the second book cued up.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • L.D.
  • 02-24-21

Mafia Men and Small Business Owners

I was first introduced to Ali Lyda through her Get Ink’d tattoo series, a contemporary series featuring different tattoo artists from the same shop. I really enjoy that series so I was excited to try out Ali Lyda’s new series, the Elm Street Mafia which she cowrote with a new-to-me author, Alexa May. Knight in Shadows is the first book in the Elm Street Mafia series, a contemporary romance series featuring a blue-collar neighborhood fighting against a mafia invasion. The first book features a few romantic tropes such as forbidden love and over-protective alpha men – both of which I enjoy. So I was prepared to really like this book, but unfortunately it fell flat for me. There were a few things that I was not fond of in the plot (it felt disjointed at times), but I did enjoy the overall romance between the two main characters. The plot points that I had trouble with would probably be something another reader might not mind, especially if they just want a feel-good romance where the good guys win and characters are redeemed. The audiobook was also nicely narrated which made it easy to listen to the story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amelia
  • 02-07-21

A captivating intro to a new, action-packed series

I've never listened to a story quite like this one, and I enjoyed the unique approach to a mobster/mafia romance. I don't really know what I was expecting from a book about mafias, but Jake and Max's story wasn't overly gruesome at all. Sure, there was plenty of violence and action scenes, but nothing in this book was overly graphic or sickening, in my opinion. Instead, I was easily able to focus on the mystery surrounding Elm Street and the growing relationship between Jake and Max. It took me a while to warm up to these two and understand their motives, but their chemistry was undeniable from the start and I loved their passionate moments together. I wouldn't say that this was the steamiest romance I've read lately, but honestly with everything else going on with the Russo family and the gym it would have felt unrealistic for Jake and Max to ignore everything else in favor of getting it on with each other. As the two of them navigated the danger associated with Elm Street, it was thrilling to see how evenly matched Jake and Max were, despite their different backgrounds. I've read so many stories where one guy in the relationship is obviously "the protector" and the other is "the protected", and it was nice to see these men have a mutual understanding of their shared strength. I thought the pacing of the story was nicely done, the supporting characters were awesome, and the narration was excellent.

**I voluntarily listened to a free copy of this book. This review expresses my honest thoughts and opinions. 

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alias11
  • 02-07-21

Slow start, but great overall

This story started out very slow for me, and I think part of that was that the narration wasn't very lively. There are also a lot of characters dumped on the listener all at once (at the gym) to try to distinguish and remember. It felt a little like being dropped in a pool at the start, with really no history or foundation to get me interested in the story. Once Max and Jake started connecting, it improved. I wasn't really hooked until around Chapter 6.

Max and Jake are wonderful, complex characters who are more alike than they may realize. I enjoyed watching them open up to each other about their plans and what they wanted. After the slow beginning, the story was exciting with sibling rivalry, deception, betrayal, unknown enemies, and surprising twists.

The narration was just okay for me. I sometimes had trouble telling some of the male characters who didn't have accents apart, particularly the MCs.

I received a free review copy of this audiobook at my request and am voluntarily leaving this honest review.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Thais Dematte
  • 02-06-21

Cuter than I expected.

I like the story and the characters, the way things progressed and the pacing. I went in thinking it would be gritty and dark-ish, with all the angst an army in love with a mob enforcer could have. But this turn out to be really sweet and not all what I expected. I did like the story, the characters and the pacing, but the narration was really difficult to listen and the damped my enjoyment of the story. Mr. Peterman has an aggressive way of narrating, with really tiny pauses between sentences. The characters are not distinguishable at all and there is little emotion. Nothing wrong with this style, it's just not a style I like.

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    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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  • Allison's Book Corner
  • 02-06-21

Loved it

This was such an entertaining audiobook.
I really enjoyed this story.
I can't wait to listen to more audiobooks in this series.