Oh boy, if you like some dark, spicy romance, you’ll definitely find all that and more in this new recommendation of mine. Promises and Pomegranates is a dark romance set in the modern world that uses the myths and stories around Hades and Persephone as a thematic element for the characters and their relationship. It’s chock full of smut, dark romance, Mafia family drama, and danger to make any dark romance reader swoon.
Elena Ricci is the daughter of a fairly important mafia family in Boston, due to wed her fiance Mateo to secure the power and wealth of her family. But when someone tries to blackmail her and her family, she finds herself thrust into a marriage she wasn’t expecting. A marriage to the infamous Doctor of Death, Kallum Anderson, hitman and business partner to her father. All her life she has been told that Kallum was dangerous, but a part of her can’t help being drawn to him.
Warning: this book contains very explicit depictions of sex, including kinks like knife play, breath play, and blood. If any of these make you uncomfortable, probably best to stay away from this book.
After reading a couple of young adult romances, I really felt the need to spice up my reading with some dark and explicit romance. I don’t know if I was expecting the level of smut in this book, but I won’t say I was uncomfortable because I did enjoy it very much. This book took two of my weirdly specific plot loves, Mafias and Hades/Persephone retellings, and combined them into a wickedly dark, entertaining read. I loved the tension between Elena and Kallum and how their relationship progressed despite her family working against them.
The whole arranged marriage or marriage of convenience trope can be a good starting point to an interesting romance. Having two people immediately thrust together who don’t necessarily know anything about one another but have to find some way to work through it creates the kind of tension that leads to great stories and interesting romances. Each person has to find a way to compromise and fit together without giving up the most essential aspects of themselves. Learning to respect and support one another during difficult moments and this, oftentimes, unwanted situation.
“I learned I quite enjoy the taste of brutality on my tongue. Love the way it blossoms like a flower springing from the earth, igniting a compulsion like no other.”– Sav R. Miller, Promises and Pomegranates
Kallum’s personality might be hard to swallow for some readers, I’ll admit that, but I found myself coming to like him. He’s a man who lost his mother young, was rejected by his family, and fell into the Mafia world when he had no other option. His penchant for violence grew from being forced to do hits for them and then was nurtured by his career in medicine. He grew up in loss, violence, and darkness, much like Hades. To him, Elena is a piece of sunshine in a dark world that he desperately clings to.
Elena is drawn to that darkness, in much the way I think Persephone may have been drawn to Hades, and we see her accepting and reveling in his attentions. There is wholehearted consent here. She is never forced to accept or play along with any of his kinks, they happen to be hers too. A sexually repressed Boston elite Mafia princess finds freedom in Kallum’s more dark sexuality. We see her retaking her agency throughout the book, through her active role in sex and in her eventual acceptance of their marriage.
There is definitely smut for the sake of smut, but the story and the characters thrive on the sexuality as it adds another layer to the darkness of their world, or in some cases gives them metaphorical release. The story of the blackmail and Mafia tensions does seem somewhat secondary to their relationship, but it does add great flavor and danger to it. And a chance for Kallum to be his violent self.
I don’t think this book will be for everyone, but for those who may find the idea intriguing, I think you’ll be pulled into this dark romance immediately. If you’ve already had the chance to read this one, let me know what you thought in the comments below.
~~Thanks for Reading!~~
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