Niccolaio Andretti: An Enemies-to-Lovers Mafia Romance Novel (The Five Syndicates Book 2)

Niccolaio Andretti: An Enemies-to-Lovers Mafia Romance Novel (The Five Syndicates Book 2)

Niccolaio Andretti: An Enemies-to-Lovers Mafia Romance Novel by Parker S. Huntington

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sadly, this one dragged for me. I ended up skimming a bit through the flashbacks to get to the relationship sections. I was going to stop with the series, but the sneak peek of the next one at the back drew me in. I ended up enjoying Ranieri’s book much more than this one.

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From USA Today bestselling author Parker S. Huntington comes a steamy, slow-burn love story full of enemies-to-lovers banter and secret roommates.

He has a million-dollar bounty on his head. She’s fighting for her sister.

Dating men for money isn’t what most girls dream of doing when they grow up.

But after graduating from college, I can’t catch a break.
No job offers.
No place to live.
Not even a couch to dig for change under.

If I don’t find a job and a place to live fast, I can’t adopt my little sister from foster care.
I’m desperate.
A little unhinged.
And dating a trust-fund baby twice my age for his money.

Who cares if we have no chemistry?
Who cares if I hate his hot, mysterious neighbor who pushes my buttons every chance he gets?
Who cares if his neighbor stares at me like he’s picturing me in his bed?

Then, Mr. Money Bags dumps me.
I get shot at by strangers.
And the arrogant neighbor I loathe?
He. Saves. Me.

I should cut my losses and be grateful I’m still alive.
Instead, I do something crazy.
I blackmail him into letting me be his roommate.

Niccolaio Andretti is an 80,000-word standalone novel in The Five Syndicates mafia romance series.

Ranieri Andretti: A Second-Chance, Enemies-to-Lovers Mafia Romance Novella (The Five Syndicates Book 3)

Ranieri Andretti: A Second-Chance, Enemies-to-Lovers Mafia Romance Novella (The Five Syndicates Book 3)

Ranieri Andretti: A Second-Chance, Enemies-to-Lovers Mafia Romance Novella by Parker S. Huntington

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pleasantly surprised!

Well- color me impressed! I usually do not like novellas, and sometimes not even standalones, due to the limited pages in which to build characters/a relationship. However, THIS novella being a second chance story where the feelings were already there, it worked! Hallelujah!
I actually liked this better than the previous entry in the series which WAS full-length.
I liked the bully/high school aspect in the flashbacks because, let’s face it, that never gets old. I liked the secondary characters- they were there, but the author didn’t spend an extensive amount of time on them. And thank goodness for that since there were only so many pages to work with. I thought the inclusion of the female main character’s new best friend was excellent. She needed him, and he created some extra drama by making Ranieri jealous.
All in all, a pleasantly surprising novella. I probably won’t re-read, but my threshold for what would constitute a re-read is pretty high at this point given my wildfire-like consumption of books from this genre. So, that is in no way a ding against the book.
Recommended for a quick, enjoyable second chance read. It could be read as a standalone, but I imagine you wouldn’t enjoy it quite as much if you haven’t read the preceding books.

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From USA Today bestselling author Parker S. Huntington comes a steamy, slow-burn love story full of enemies-to-lovers banter and second chances.

We were best friends, then we were enemies.

Loved. Protected. Cherished.
There was a time when Ranieri Andretti made me feel those things.
That was before his family came after mine.

He was supposed to forget me.
We went our separate ways.
It should have stayed like that.
But now he’s back in my life, and he’s my new boss.

I want to hate him.
He’s my ex-best friend.
My tormentor.
The head of the Andretti family.
But no matter how hard I try…
I can’t stay away.

Ranieri Andretti is a long standalone novella in The Five Syndicates mafia romance series.

I Know What Love Is (I Know…, #1)

I Know What Love Is (I Know…, #1)

I Know What Love Is by Whitney Bianca

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Torn between four and five stars

Was this book technically perfect? No.
Did it make me uncomfortable? Sure did.
Was it unique and different? Yep.
Do I think it will stick with me, and be a book I remember for a long time? Also yep.
This book was DARK. It doesn’t start out nice. It isn’t nice in the middle. And it isn’t nice at the end. Is it even a romance? That’s arguable. Dark erotica? Probably a better description.
I couldn’t put this book down. It was different than nearly anything I’ve read. I’ve read a few books before with crazy anti-heroes, but not quite THIS crazy. And he’s not even a mafia/cartel guy- just a normal, everyday guy. With massive mental/emotional problems. Who doesn’t understand boundaries.
Also, he’s hot. So that helps.
I was all over the place reading this. Not unlike this review. Is it okay that I thought some parts of it were hot? Even though the (anti-)hero unquestionably attacks the heroine multiple times? Kidnaps her? Hurts her? Ties her up? I’m kind of ashamed of myself right now.
There were some mental issues going on in this book with both of the main characters. Elliot’s issues seemed to have been there all along, not necessarily increasing in severity but maybe being revealed in pieces. In contrast, Joan’s issues could very well be attributed mostly to her “special times” with Elliot. Untreated trauma can do funny things to people. That is the only explanation I have for Joan’s behavior in this book.
Again, I couldn’t put it down. There is a strong possibility of a future re-read. And I am not proud of myself for that. My only defense is that I read this like a suspense novel.
I do wish we had gotten to see more of the back story on Elliot. Whose house did he live in? How did he get to be the way he is? Was he born that way, or did that evolve? I’m curious.
With careful reminder of triggers and the dark content of this book, I do recommend it as a suspenseful read to mess with your head.

TRIGGERS: Non-consent, dubious consent, kidnapping, stalking, murder, attempted murder.

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This is not a love story.

A chance encounter in a dark bar changed my life forever. I’ll never forget the events of that night and the days that followed. I’ll never be the same. He tried to break me, but now I’m stronger than ever.

I want him to pay. I want him to suffer. I want to be just as much of a monster as he is.

But maybe, deep down… I want him just as much as he wants me. Maybe we deserve each other. Maybe he knows me better than I know myself.


But I know what love is, and this is not it.

Warning: This dark erotic tale contains violence, explicit sexuality, and adult situations. The content may be considered objectionable, so please read at your own discretion.



Wanderlust by Skye Warren

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Love this author, but not this book as a whole

I am torn on this book. The concept is new and different- definitely not a tired rehash of something in 100 other books. There were several individual scenes in the book that were pretty hot. Scenes that were exciting. But it didn’t quite come together as a whole for me. Perhaps it was too short to spread its wings to its full potential?
I felt that Evie’s character wasn’t consistent. She seemed to bounce back and forth between enjoying the adventure, and desiring to escape. She wants to call the cops, and then not too long later (she didn’t see him during this in-between period) she swears she wouldn’t call them/wouldn’t send him to prison. I couldn’t quite keep up.
I enjoyed the backstory of Hinter. I (eventually) enjoyed Hunter in present-day. But I didn’t think the backstory of Hunter made sense for present-day Hunter. Without revealing spoilers I won’t get into it, but assuming that his backstory is supposed to be an explanation for why he is the way that he is… I didn’t buy it. I don’t see someone with that backstory displaying the behavior that he does- his acts, his beliefs, even his language.
I do love this author’s writing overall- she writes some of the hottest scenes out there. I’m all about possessive/obsessive/stalkerish alpha men who aren’t afraid to go to extremes, and she delivers. That said, I wish there had been a little more to it with this one. I wish there had been more time to slowly develop the relationship between Evie and Hunter- it felt too rushed. The period of time between Evie feeling negatively toward Hunter (you know, for raping and kidnapping her) to when she became attracted to him was far too short for me. It seemed like she just decided one day that she loved him. And sadly, I didn’t buy in. I WANTED to, because Hunter’s pushiness (a kind way of putting it) came across kinda hot, honestly. After the initial interaction, of course.
Don’t judge me.
Anyway, I liked many of the scenes of this book individually. I just sorely wish there were more of a transition between her negative feelings toward Hunter, and her subsequent positive ones.

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Evie always dreamed of seeing the world, but her first night at a motel turns into a nightmare. Hunter is a rugged trucker willing to do anything to keep her–including kidnapping. As they cross the country in his rig, Evie plots her escape, but she may find what she’s been looking for right beside her.

Wanderlust is a dark erotic novel that explores dubious consent, captivity, and power play. Not intended for those uncomfortable with the subject matter or those under 18 years of age.

NOW LIVE!! The Imperfections

The Imperfections

The Imperfections by Sam Mariano

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book starts out with a bang… of triggers. That said, if you were able to handle Untouchable then you’ll probably be fine here.

Now that we have that unpleasantness out of the way, onward to the good stuff!

Oh, I so needed more Sam Mariano. And here she comes to save the day with another one of her otherwise unlikable anti-heroes. How does she do it?? How does she take a man, who by all accounts is completely unacceptable as a romantic interest, have them do despicable things, and yet by the end of the book scores of otherwise sensible women are ready to fight over him? It defies logic. And yet… whatever sorcery it is certainly works on me. Every damn time.

“If it counts for anything, I’m glad I didn’t kill you tonight,” I tell her.
“You’re a true romantic,” she spits back acerbically.”

Did I love Brant in the first few pages? No. However, I never love her anti-heroes within the first few pages. They need space to spread their terrible wings and do very bad things before she turns on her magic trickery to make us love them.

Brant is not what most folks would call a “good guy.” I say most because it depends on your definition. Does that person have to abstain from killing people? Well, Brant is out. Does that person have to abstain from kidnapping? Assault? Okay, well… he doesn’t pass that hurdle, either. Some might say you are being picky with these requirements, I’m gonna be honest with you. BUT- he doesn’t cheat on his romantic partners! And what’s more? He is very loyal to his family. So there! All is forgiven, eh?

We good here? Did I mention he is also hot, and kinda jerky sometimes? Yeah, I thought that last part would do it.

Alyssa is an interesting character. She is young, but due to growing up in a small, overcrowded house with several hot mess relatives she is somehow more laid back and logical than you would expect for a person her age. She also has a strange approach to threats and/or danger in that she just sort of… bends to it. Rather than being rigid and unyielding (and thus easy to break) she instead adapts to what comes her way. Figures a certain degree of pliability will protect her. And you know what? She’s right. My magic 8 ball predicts that some readers might accuse her of being a doormat, but I counter that with the argument that her ways are what saved her. Her ability to turn a would-be enemy into an ally isn’t weak- it’s enviable. Because if I got kidnapped? My dead body would be thrown from the moving getaway vehicle with a quickness, no doubt.

As is the norm for Sam Mariano the relationship that is eventually forged between these two is NOT a typical progression for a romance. Does she love him? Should she call the police? Is he going to sleep with her, or kill her? Could he possibly be more hurtful? I mean, possibly… but he did do a damn good job of it.

True to her style, this book had me hooked right away. The story popped out of the pages and slapped me right in the face before darting back with a sinister giggle. And quite frankly, that’s how I like my books.

Recommended as always, but be mindful of trigger warnings.

Triggers: non-con, dub-con, violence

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Brantley Morrison is a drinker of whiskey, a solver of problems, and a collector of mutts; the kind of loyal, hardworking guy you want on your side—and you’d best not get on the wrong side of.

Alyssa Walton never meant to find herself on Brant’s bad side—never even met the man until he showed up in her bedroom with a loaded gun and a plan to destroy her.

When Alyssa and Brant collide, his simple problem-solving mission gets a whole lot more complicated. Turns out, Alyssa is nothing like he expected, and she just might be everything he’s ever wanted. Sure, she’s a little afraid of him, but every relationship has its obstacles.

Brant’s never had anyone like Alyssa around, someone loyal and kind who smoothes over his rough edges like she was born to do it. Alyssa’s never met a man like Brant, either, and while she admires the way he looks out for those he loves, she can’t help wondering, who’s looking out for Brant?

Now, faced with wanting the girl he was never supposed to keep, Brant has to make an impossible choice. Does he give up the girl who has brought sunshine into his lonely life, or does he hold on tight, even if it might mean letting down the people he’s spent his whole life protecting?

***The Imperfections is a full-length standalone novel that includes dark and sensitive themes. ***


Hate Crush

Hate Crush by A. Zavarelli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Someone call the fire department- there’s a five-alarm rager over here! 🔥

“Say yes, sir.”
“Yes, sir,” she breathes.
“Say I’ll do anything you want, Mr. Carter. Anything you tell me.”
She swallows, still trying to resist me, but ultimately caves in just as I knew she would. “I’ll do anything you want, Mr. Carter. Anything you tell me.”

Sweet baby Jesus. My breathe actually caught in my throat. The chemistry between Sebastien and Stella was off the charts.

The push and pull Sebastien dealt out frustrated the hell out of me. That said, I get it. His self-loathing was nearly as strong as his contempt for the entitled kids that made up the majority of the student body. If he felt a twinge of emotion toward Stella he wanted to shut it down. Save her from being tainted by him before it was too late.

Stella exhibited considerable strength for someone who is 18 years old. I doubt I could handle those mind games now in my 30’s, and I KNOW I wouldn’t have been able to handle it in high school. That, coupled with the shenanigans with her parents, had me heartbroken for Stella. Add the resident mean girl into that mix, and I’d have been outta there (#bye). But, Stella? Nope. She rises. To every challenge.

I love this author’s books, and this was no exception. It hasn’t dethroned Crow as my favorite of hers, but I still loved it!

Definitely recommended!

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They call him the devil.

When I crash-landed into him on my first day at Loyola Academy, I was sure that couldn’t be true.

He was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen in real life.

Little did I know he was also the cruelest.

I went from starstruck to stunned the moment his cynical eyes cut through me.

I can’t tell you what it was that made him want to punish me. But from that day forward the brooding recluse of a man made it his goal to torment me.

I want to loathe him, and some days, I do.

But good or bad, nobody’s attention has ever tasted so sweet.

What do you do when you have a hate crush on your bully?

Worse yet, what do you do when he’s also your teacher?

Hate Crush is a full length standalone age gap bully romance with a complete ending.

Don’t Let Go (Dark Nights, #2)

Don't Let Go (Dark Nights, #2)

Don’t Let Go by Skye Warren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it, and I am thoroughly confused as to how that happened.

This is Carlos’ book. The same Carlos to whom, at the end of the previous book, I wanted terrible things to happen. And I stand by that regarding the Carlos from the previous book- I still don’t like him.
That said, the Carlos from this book is… humanized, somehow. He still won’t be a book boyfriend of mine. I’d call the cops on him in a MINUTE if I were any of the females he’d come across in these books, but that’s just me. If a man were to do to me what he has done to these poor women, Jesus… I’d devote my life to putting him in prison. Or killing him. One of the two, depending on how much of a mental breakdown his treatment had caused.
This dynamic of a sadist in a relationship is something I truly can’t wrap my head around. I just don’t get it. That said, as brutal as the interaction is when Samantha is kidnapped, there are other parts of the book that are hot.
I was so confused by this book. Flustered. And I couldn’t put it down. Despite how much of a bastard Carlos is, (and he really is), the author gives a one-two punch of taming his monster a bit in this book, and also explaining his damage/hang ups. Still, the things he did to Mia in the previous book are inexcusable- truly horrific. That Carlos should burn in Hell. The Carlos from this book, while way past the point of simply cruel, is nowhere near as evil to Samantha as he was to Mia. And thank goodness, because a man doing those things to a woman couldn’t possibly have an HEA with her. Also, I wouldn’t WANT such a man to have an HEA.
Okay, let’s be frank- I still hate Carlos. What he did to Mia in the previous book when she didn’t swallow that first time? NO FORGIVENESS. EVER. And when he “treated her like a puppy” and let other men hurt her? When he brutally whipped her, splitting her skin open? Hurt her to the point she was bleeding out onto the ground? Carved his initial into her stomach? SCREW CARLOS.
Okay, I am calming myself. This was still a good read. He is far less brutal to Samantha, and equally important is the fact that Samantha likes how he treats her. She likes the pain (I would argue that is due to significant emotional and mental damage, but whatever). In contrast Mia tried to escape Carlos and his torture, but he had her dragged back and nearly killed her in retribution.
I am on the fence about whether I would re-read. And I wish there were an epilogue where Samantha would come to her senses, leave Carlos to pursue aggressive counseling, and Carlos, distraught, would either take his own life, or make a mistake and go to prison. Forever. Now there’s an HEA.

Side note, I thought we might get some information about Trunk in this final book. After what he did to Mia in the previous book, and who he turned out to be… I thought we’d hear more about what happened after the fact. But we got nada. I would totally read Trunk’s story!

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Junior FBI Agent Samantha Holmes is assigned the case of a lifetime–and an enigmatic new partner, Ian Hennessy.

She’s determined to prove herself to the bureau legend, but late nights and stolen moments lead to more than respect. They lead to desire, and soon she’s fallen for the one man forbidden.

Together they hunt for the FBI’s most wanted man. A criminal.

A psychopath.

But when they get close, Samantha may end up prey instead. She must face her dark past to stay alive–and to protect the man she loves.

Trust in Me (Dark Nights, #1)

Trust in Me (Dark Nights, #1)

Trust in Me by Skye Warren

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coming on the heels of Keep Me Safe I was so happy to read Trust In Me. And by “happy” I mean still horrified by the subject matter, but finding the book to be more fleshed out.
As the author’s forward warns, along with many of the reviews, this is a DARK book. I read a comparable series by another author who described her work as an “erotic thriller” (and in fact she is adamantly opposed to anyone calling her work “dark romance”), and I have to say that seems to apply here as well. I don’t view the bulk of this book as romance. It is more like a thriller with an HEA. Like a horror movie where the victim falls in love with her savior.
From a heat standpoint this wasn’t my jam. BUT, I knew what this was going in. I came for the story, not the heat. Because there was no heat for me in any of what happened to poor Mia. Sadism is so profoundly unappealing to me. And Carlos? He is definitely a sadist. He is the devil. He hurt her, and very badly, for fun. He didn’t care for her or about her as a person. He kept her alive, but treated her worse than a possession. I hope a terrible fate befalls Carlos. Truly.

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“Dark, disturbing, haunting, and beautiful, Skye Warren will take you into the depths of depravity but bring you home, safe in the end.” – Kitty Thomas, author of Comfort Food

Mia longs for the daily torture to end, but one last task keeps her holding on. In a betrayal of the crime lord who pulled her from the gutter, she’ll free the shipment of human cargo, and if she’s lucky, die in the process. The alternative is unfathomable, even to a woman well-versed in danger.

Then she meets the security expert in charge of the shipment–and finds herself face to face with her childhood crush.

The man she once begged for help. The man who failed her.

Tyler Martinez is an undercover FBI agent with one chance to right the wrongs of his past. Thrust deep into the seedy world of human trafficking, he must put aside his guilt over abandoning Mia all those years ago in order to save her now.

Someone’s pulling the strings in this sadistic play on trust, but Tyler and Mia may not live long enough to see the curtain fall. Trust in Me is a story of suspense and irrepressible romance, spiraling ever faster toward betrayal or redemption.


“I devoured Trust in Me because it was good from the first word right until the last one. Skye Warren knows how to deliver a powerfully poignant story that will keep her readers engrossed.” – Sizzling Hot Book Reviews

“Good gracious! Skye Warren is a true mistress of dark and twisted love stories. TRUST IN ME affirms Ms. Warren’s talent for creating broken characters in dire situations, but leaving readers with hope at the end.” – The Forbidden Bookshelf

“I was captured from the very first sentence, drawn into the story as if watching it play out in my own mind. The story pacing and flow of information were flawless. The characters were obviously flawed, yet undeniably realistic. No matter how brutal the story it ended with a HEA and a feeling of hope.” – Wicked Reads

JUST RELEASED TODAY! Wall Street Titan (Alpha Zone #1)

Wall Street Titan (Alpha Zone, #1)

Wall Street Titan by Anna Zaires

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I am enamored with this author. I loved the bejesus out of her previous series, and this book was no different. While this one was contemporary compared to her usual lean toward a darker story, I still loved it. As a primarily dark romance reader I am fussy about contemporary romance, but Wall Street Titan held its own!

The chemistry between Marcus and Emma was off the charts. Their physical reactions to one another exploded off the page. It’s as if their bodies recognized a counterpart in the other before their hearts and minds caught up. And I loved every word of it.

Marcus thought he knew it all, and was about to have it all with the addition of a perfectly perfect trophy wife. He just needed someone to find her for him. Because he was too busy for such nonsense. That’s what he has people for, right? To find things for him. Including a wife. When life serves him up a different dish than he ordered, he slowly (and I mean slowly) realizes that maybe she could be more than a quick one-nighter. Or two-nighter. Maybe even a fling? Or more? Well, let’s not get too crazy… he’d need his analysts to check out the risks on something like that.

Emma is happily (well, satisfactorily… somewhat) buzzing along in the rut where she’s allowed herself to settle. Same job she had in college. Same three cats. Same apartment. Same relationship status she’s had for years (which is to say, no activity). When her friend pushes her to a come-to-Jesus moment she decides to pursue meeting someone. Too bad that someone accidentally turns out to be a man she never would have approached, or met, under any other circumstances aside from the serendipity that occurred that particular night. Or, IS it too bad? Maybe the man she never would have given a second glance is just what she needs. It is starting to look that way. Which, of course, terrifies our young Emma.

Marcus is not exactly his normal, suave self around Emma, which unsettles him to no end. Rather than his usual wine-and-dine he sort of trips and falls face first into his attempts with her.

Despite his inability to bring his A-game, he ends up charming her. Better than he would have with his A-game, actually, because she likely would have been skeptical as all hell, and rightfully so.

I saw so much of myself in Emma- in her personality, her thoughts, her fears. I loved her. She came across so real. So genuine. She wasn’t perfect, neither in personality nor in body. She wasn’t a stick-thin blonde bombshell with pillowy lips and huge blue eyes. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the room everywhere she went. She was everywoman, and I loved that about her.

Overall I loved this somewhat Cinderella story of the downtrodden, realistic woman who meets the arrogant, prince-like man. Neither is looking for the other, but they are exactly what each other needs. She needs some spark of motivation to shake herself out of her comfort zone. He is very likely the most motivated person she has ever met. He needs to let go of this notion he has of what he needs to be, what he should have (i.e. a trophy wife), and learn to embrace the freedom of pursuing what you actually want. In that capacity they will free each other. If they can get over their own fears, that is.

I loved that, even though Marcus and Emma’s story is not complete, it isn’t really a cliffhanger at the end of this book. Thank goodness- I don’t fare well with cliffhangers.

So, fellow bingers: I generally wouldn’t recommend starting a duet or series before all of the books are out (see inability to handle cliffhangers above), but you’ll be okay with this one! It is more of a natural break. The start of a new life chapter, if you will. It doesn’t leave you hanging off the side of a cliff by three fingernails. It is more like sitting in a waiting room because you arrived hella early for an appointment. In other words, feel free to dive in!

I can’t wait for the next book to see how far Marcus will go to show Emma that he is worth the risk!

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A billionaire who wants a perfect wife…

At thirty-five, Marcus Carelli has it all: wealth, power, and the kind of looks that leave women breathless. A self-made billionaire, he heads one of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street and can take down major corporations with a single word. The only thing he’s missing? A wife who’d be as big of an achievement as the billions in his bank account.

A cat lady who needs a date…

Twenty-six-year-old bookstore clerk Emma Walsh has it on good authority that she’s a cat lady. She doesn’t necessarily agree with that assessment, but it’s hard to argue with the facts. Raggedy clothes covered with cat hair? Check. Last professional haircut? Over a year ago. Oh, and three cats in a tiny Brooklyn studio? Yep, she’s got those.

And yes, fine, she hasn’t had a date since… well, she can’t recall. But that part is fixable. Isn’t that what the dating sites are for?

A case of mistaken identity…

One high-end matchmaker, one dating app, one mix-up that changes everything… Opposites may attract, but can this last?