Shame: The Early Years (Russo Saga Book 3) by Nicolina Martin

The Naked Reviewers
3 min readOct 3, 2019


Nicolina Martin is fairly well-known around The Naked Reviewers. We have also reviewed Heat and Ruin.

Carmen never knew she had boundaries, but when the young prostitute is called to Salvatore, the infamous mob boss, she learns that even a whore can be violated: mind, body, and soul.

Lucas dreamt of a mobster’s life. He wanted the cool suit, the expensive car, and the respect. His dreams take a pounding when he picks up the badly bruised Carmen from Salvatore’s mansion. He starts visiting the injured woman, and despite the gruesome circumstances, the chemistry between them grows into something neither of them can resist.

Then Salvatore calls for her again.

How do you conquer the monsters under your bed? Especially when you’ve let them crawl up and share it?

This is a prequel to the Russo Saga but can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Publisher’s Note: This is a dark, steamy Mafia romance that is not for the faint of heart! It may contain triggers for some readers. There are harsh scenes and elements of power exchange.

Karen Meyer’s Review: 5-Stars

This would be a sick book for a man to write but when you know the author is a woman it gets scary. I pray to God that you haven’t had to experience any of the brutality that Carmen did. Yet I have to think to myself, “How could she write this in such gory details unless she had been through it herself?”.

It’s not the kinky scenes I object to, but the graphic cruelty that Salvadore subjected her to. That being said, Nicolina is an amazing writer to incite such feelings from the readers through words alone.

I love the way Lucas loved Carmem and her description of him as “her Viking”. I can picture them both in my mind because of the author’s ability to draw pictures with her words. I hope one day to develop this one skill.

The ending was unexpected but I did like it because it shows Carmen’s inner strength. I was so glad she had the baby.

Very good book, but a little too much brutality for me to like the genre. 5’stars for sure.

RA Winter’s Review: 5-Stars

This was soo good to the point that I couldn’t put it down. The writing is fantastic, the plot kept me intrigued, and the characters pop off the page. Shame came to life in ways that had me tingling with anticipation.

Who’d thought I’d fall in love and feel sorry for a wayward prostitute or a wannabe murderer?? Nicolina delves into the underworld life of mobsters, sex, pain, and humiliation.

Carmen, a young runaway who’s only skill is pleasing men.
Lucas, the mob boss’s driver and wannabe hitman who falls hard for Carmen.
Salvador, the mob boss, who gets off on hurting women, especially Carmen. No one gets in his way and lives.

The plot shines in this book, peppered with intense ‘you bought me’ sex-scenes that are oh, so believable and terrifying at the same time.

Desperate to escape, Carmen finds herself pregnant, but whose child is it? And will the boss figure out that Lucas has been enjoying his property? Run, flee, get away, but can you hide from the mob? I don’t think so.

Five stars for sure. This is my favorite Nicola book so far. A month after I read it, I still have some scenes running through my head. It’s that memorable.

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