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Summary

He’s a ruthless stranger. One I can’t see, only feel, thanks to my friends who make a deal with him on my behalf. 

No names. No personal details. No face to etch into my mind. Just him, me, and an expensive silk tie. What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas. He warns me he’s full of danger. I never see that side of him. All I experience is his Russian accent, delicious scent, and touch that lights me on fire. 

One incredible night turns into two. Then we go our separate ways. But fate doesn't keep us apart. When I run into my stranger back in Chicago, I know it’s him, even if I’ve never seen his icy blue eyes before. 

Our craving is hotter than Vegas. But he never lied. He’s a ruthless man....

Ruthless Stranger is the jaw-dropping first installment of the Mafia Wars series. It’s an interconnecting, stand-alone dark mafia romance, guaranteed to have an HEA.

©2021 Maggie Cole (P)2021 Maggie Cole

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Fantastic beginning to the series.

I received this audiobook via a promo code at my request from AudiobookObsession and this is my voluntary review.

Book one of the Mafia Wars series focuses on Aspen and Maksim as strangers who share a few very hot encounter during a holiday in Vegas. Narration for Maksim was perfect! The entire Ivanov clan as this badass antagonist to the Russian Mafia in Chicago makes this a very interesting romance as their worlds collide again outside the fantasy of that Vegas hotel suite. Maksim had warned her that if he ever found her again, he would make her HIS, and Aspen certainly had no objections, even if that did mean having to learn more about the darker side of his world, of the things his family would have to do to help other Russian and Polish families survive outside of their enemies grasp.

I loved the protectiveness Maksim showed to Aspen when her ex husband showed up again on the scene, although on occasion the sheer bobbleheadedness of her friends and their Sex in the Cityesque goup vibe did become a little irritating, they weren't teenagers after all but occasionally behaved like Girls on Wild on Spring Break instead of adults.

Nora and Boris are in book 2 and given the cliffhanger ending, I can't wait to pick up where we left off after this recent discovery.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent start to this series

Ruthless Stranger is my first Maggie Cole novel and I was not disappointed. Steamy, sweet, and action packed this story had me hooked until the end. The main characters Maksim and Aspen were fascinating and complex and were easy to relate to and there was a cast of secondary characters who will intrigue you and leave you wanting to know more. The author did a great job with world building creating this mafia world and giving us the character's back story. This novel was well written, suspenseful and angsty with some unexpected twists and turns. It was a great start to this series and I can't wait to see what comes next. I would definitely recommend this novel to lovers of mafia romance.
The audiobook as narrated by Sarah Puckett and Zachary Johnson. They did a fantastic job bringing the story to life and portraying the characters giving them all their own voice and personality. It was a pleasure listening to them narrate this novel. TheFlock.

2 people found this helpful

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Loved this story 😍

Gotta say Well Done to Zachary and Sarah... i LOVED the Russian accents!! Really enjoyed listening.

I usually listen to high school/ College sports stories so this was different being as Aspen and Maksim were alot more... mature in age- late 30s/40s

There was most definitely some steamy scenes- i loved how they didnt give into temptation and reveal their identities- the chemistry was sky high.. if its meant to be then Fate will find a way which happened!!!

The Ivanov's brothers are all alpha males and i cant wait to get their stories...

The storyline i enjoyed, very fast paced...

1 person found this helpful

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Ruthless Stranger

These two are so lucky to find out that what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay there. The chemistry between these two is off the charts and their meetings, both the first and the last, were written so perfectly that I was sucked in and not wanting to come back to reality. This is a new to me author and I am so excited to have found her through Sarah Puckett’s narration. Bothe narrators did an amazing job for this book!

#AudiobookObsessionReviewer

1 person found this helpful

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Holy amazing mafia wars

This book was so good. I love mafia and cannot wait for more! This book was so amazingly good and I am thoroughly enjoying the first in this series.
PinkFlamingoProductions🦩🦩 Flock Review

1 person found this helpful

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Love, Love, Love!!

I really enjoyed this book! It was the perfect mafia book for me. Not too dark, but dark enough, good chemistry, sex scenes and plot. I really loved both of the main characters so much.

The narrators did an AMAZING job.

The little cliff hanger at the end gave me a tiny bit of anxiety, but I am excited to continue on and learn more about the other brothers in the family.

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

1 person found this helpful

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A sexy stranger!

Aspen has had the worst luck with hi ex husband. He stuck her to mediocrity. Her friends though are awesome and on a trip they find her a sexy ruthless stranger to forget her sorrows. He turns out a mafia man, but one with a great heart. They both can’t fight the attraction. She is in for a whirlwind of romance and a bit of danger. I enjoyed how protective he was, the way he was with his family and how he wanted all the good things for Aspen. Both narrators did an excellent job with this story, accent and all.
🎧AudiobookObssesion

1 person found this helpful

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Really enjoyed the story and fab narration

I think I was a bit mesmerised by this story. I wasn't at all sure where it was going to go and I enjoyed following along and seeing what would happen. Zachary Johnson and Sarah Puckett did such a good job bringing the voices to life, I particularly love the Russian accents.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Listen

Aspen just got of a twenty year marriage where she was only wanted for her money. She is set up for her fantasy by her friends that led to two nights with a stranger she could never forget. Then she ran into the stranger and her life changed and would never be the same again. This book grabs you and makes you not want it to end.
🎧 Audiobook Obsession

1 person found this helpful

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Mafia stranger to lovers that checks off all the boxes!

Wow this was a hot and steamy start to a Mafia series. Loved how this one starts off. Sexy accented stranger✅ newly divorced gal with friends who love her and want to help her get back into the swing of things ✅ stranger who is alpha and dangerous ✅

This is a book with intrigue, surprising twists and violence with lots of sexy alpha ness that makes you want to listen to the end to see what will happen next.

If I ever was a divorcee, I want these gals to be my friends. And where better to meet a danger stranger to rock your world than Vegas baby!

I’m new to this author and I’m excited to hear more in this awesome series.

The narration was superb. Sarah Puckett always pulls me into her characters. Aspen is healing and wants more from life and her girls are there to help. Sarah really helped pull out all of the characters and brought them to life here. She’s also awesome at Russian accents. Having said that though, Zachary Johnson was really believable as Maskim these two did an exceptional job of bringing this book to life.

Can’t wait to hear the next one. Which brother will it be?

#theflock, #audiobookobessionreviewer, #pinkflamingoproductions 🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧

1 person found this helpful

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  • Trisha C.
  • 02-04-21

intense, action packed

Maggie Cole's Ruthless Stranger is explosive, dangerously sexy hot, and full of intrigue, secrets and lies. Their dealings with the mafia, crooked politicians and the underlying motives to keep their families safe at all costs. The story and cliffhanger at the end, had me on the edge of my seat.
Sarah Puckett and Zachary Johnson narration was perfection. The emotions and accents for each character was amazing. They brought the intensity, live raw angst, to each character. This is an Amazing listen.
@PinkFlamingoProductions The Flock! @AudiobookObsession AudiobookObsessionReviewer🎧

3 people found this helpful

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  • Bette
  • 01-04-21

Awesome Story & Narration🎧 Gripping & Intense!

I loved everything about this audiobook, from Maggie Cole’s wonderful writing style to the characters and storylines she created to the perfectly casted narrators who brought it all to life. This is my first book written by Ms. Cole and it will definitely not be my last, I hope more of her work comes to audio soon. I was drawn into her story right from the start, it captured my attention and held it the entire time. The characters are complex and well developed, they are realistic, easy to relate to and connect with. The mafia world she created is fascinating, it is easy to follow who the major players are and where the main characters fall in the hierarchy and how they became to be players in that world. This book is Maksim and Aspen’s story, I their first encounter in Vegas, her friends, Skylar, Cora and Hailey, helped set it up and it turned out to be hot and steamy time together. Neither one thought or even planned on seeing the other again but call it fate or call it chance the two do wind up meeting again. He shows up for a meeting at her office to conduct business. I loved how everything plays out for these two, it was great to learn more about each. She had her troubles with her ex-husband and Maksim comes from and lives in a world of trouble. It was heartbreaking to hear some of his and his brothers history but it explains why he became who he is, ruthless. This is an awesome dark mafia romance novel, the story is cleverly plotted and there is never a dull moment. There is plenty of drama, angst, twists and turns, action, thrilling and suspenseful moments and some hot romance. I am looking forward to what comes next in this amazing new series, need more of those Ivanov brothers, Adrian and hopefully Aspen’s friends. Maggie Cole thank you for this great story, it was entertaining, enjoyable and an unpredictable and emotional rollercoaster ride.


🎧📚🎧 And for the fabulous narration, Sarah Puckett and Zachary Johnson are talented narrators and versatile voice artists. They did an awesome job portraying the characters, bringing them to life and humanizing them with their emotions and personality. They gave each character their own distinct voice voice making it easy to follow along and tell who is who. I loved how each took their characters role and made it their own, sounding believable and just as I picture them to sound. Both were awesome with the different accents especially the Russian, Zachary Johnson perfected Maksim’s role and Sarah Puckett did the same for Aspen. Both were great performing the roles of the secondary characters as well. They are entertaining storytellers and a pleasure to listen to. Thank you for another awesome listen🎧

Thank you @PinkFlamingoProductions The Flock! @AudiobookObsession AudiobookObsessionReviewer🎧

3 people found this helpful

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  • S. Cole
  • 11-04-21

Ruthless Stranger

This book is smoking HOT! Aspen finally gets her divorce finalized from her stealing, lying, and cheating husband. Her friends take her on a surprise trip to celebrate. There she gets to experience her most ultimate sexual dream without any strings attached. Maxine is a tall dark handsome Russian silver fox. After their incredible blissful weekend they go back to their normal lives. Then they cross paths again. Things pick right back up where they left them. This book is nonstop action and sexiness! Can't wait for the next book! Sarah Puckett and Zachary Johnson do an absolutely fantastic job narrating this book! Both truly did an amazing job with Maxine's Russian accent!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Carrie
  • 02-04-21

Hottest ever strangers to lovers!

Maggie Cole has done it again!!!! And this time she took it the next level with amazing narration!

Zachary and Sarah bring Maksim and Aspen to life....the performance was spot on....you feel
the emotions and like you are right there with the characters! Fabulous narration!!!

This strangers to lovers book is a must read.....it was supposed to be just one night but it turned into two....there were rules, the rules were followed and everyone was satisfied....or were they? They had no clue they both lived in Chicago so when they see each other again it is electric! Maksim is dangerous and ruthless, but can Aspen live with that? I think the better question is can she live without Maksim once they rekindle the passion they had the first two nights? This book is filled with suspense, danger, intense love, and passion with every page turn! This is book one of Maggie’s new Mafia Wars series! Maksim is Dmitri’s brother, from Wrapped in Perfection, and there are more Ivanov brothers to come (pun intended)!

This book has it all.....super hot sex, money, love, passion and suspense! Get this audiobook now! Available on KU and with whisper sync for the win!!!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kylie
  • 27-04-21

What Happens in Vegas

The opening to this story is simply delicious. An actual dream scenario. One night with a stranger, no names, no limits and you don't even look him in the eyes. SCORCHING! Of course, fate can't just leave it there and what unfolds is an intense love with some fun mafia barriers and one ex-husband who is the very definition of a scrub. The only reason this wasn't a 5 star for me is that the h is 40ish and her inner monologue is closer to that of a 20-year-old.

If you like your romance hot and heavy, possessive alpha types and a sprinkle of mafia this is for you.

The narration is really good. Sarah Puckett is wildly talented!

#PinkFlamingo

1 person found this helpful

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  • TINA WILLIAMS
  • 13-04-21

Loved it!!

I just listened to the audio version of Ruthless Stranger and this book was an amazing listen. The narration and performances were fantastic. The emotion and chemistry between these two characters was sizzling. I loved the connection that grew between Aspen and Maksim. They felt connected from the very first touch. This story makes you want to book a flight to Vegas. I loved all the characters and that ending was a shocker! I loved this audiobook and can’t recommend it highly enough.

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  • Amy Marie
  • 11-04-21

Absolutely Amazing!!

I absolutely loved the audio of this book! I felt like I could picture everything playing out in my mind like a movie. The narrators did such an amazing job and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next in the series! It was hot and steamy but full of action and drama as well!!

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  • G.C. Kalberer
  • 11-04-21

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!

Started reading the paperback when it arrived Thursday of this week and was immediately pulled in!!! So much so that I found it on Audible so I could keep listening during my work day! IT’S THAT GREAT!!!

Fabulous story, amazing character development, HOT. HOT passion, and lots of heart-stopping plot twists!!! Most of all, I’m SO IN LOVE with Maxim! It’s now Saturday, and I just listened to it a second time and can’t tear myself away! May have to go for round three!!! ♥️

Great job, Maggie!!! I will never forget this unique and beautiful love story!! ...sigh... I’m still breathless!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jessica Schneider
  • 11-04-21

I’m booking a flight to Las Vegas ASAP!

As with all Maggie Cole books, I am invested in these characters. Sarah and Zachary did a phenomenal job bringing Aspen and Maksim to life! Being somewhat new to audiobooks, I was curious how such an intense, steamy story would “translate”, but I was very much pleasantly surprised with the outcome of how these wonderful narrators portrayed these characters. Be sure to have a cold beverage nearby (and be alone or have headphones)!! No matter the medium, Ruthless Stranger is not to be missed!

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  • Shannon Mc
  • 10-04-21

Loved Every Minute of this Mafia Romance!!!

I went into this story completely blind and was pleasantly surprised. The story line was thoroughly engaging and kept me invested the whole time. I enjoyed the characters and the narration was 100% on point.

Ruthless Stranger starts off with a bit of a one night stand vibe but then takes quite the exciting turn. Aspen is recently divorced when her friends take her to Vegas for some girl time, when she spends two amazing nights with a stranger she can't seem to forget. When she later runs into him in her hometown of Chicago, things get even more complicated but exciting.

I did not want this story to end. This was my first book by this author and I cannot wait to read/listen to more of this series as I abslutely did not want this book to end. It is a definite must read/listen in my book!

Sarah Puckett and Zachary Johnson did a fantastic job with the narration especially given the Russian accent. Sarah Puckett is one of my favorite female narrators as she always does such a great job and she is very pleasant to listen to. This was my first listen by Zachary Johnson but I think he did a great job and I cannot wait to listen to more of his work. #PinkFlamingoProductions #TheFlock

1 person found this helpful