Carrigan O’Malley has fallen in love with family enemy #1, James Halloran and he has absolutely no intention of letting her get away. THE WEDDING PACT is the second book in a smoking-hot series about the O’Malleys—wealthy, powerful, and full of scandalous family secrets from New York Times Bestseller Katee Robert and Forever Romance.
THE WEDDING PACT
By Katee Robert
Series: The O’Malley Series #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing- Forever
Carrigan O’Malley has always known her arranged marriage would be more about power and prestige than passion. But after one taste of the hard-bodied, whiskey-voiced James Halloran, she’s ruined for anyone else. Too bad James and his family are enemy number 1.
Hallorans vs. O’Malleys—that’s how it’s always been. James should be thinking more about how to expand his family’s empire instead of how silky Carrigan’s skin is against his and how he can next get her into his bed. Those are dangerous thoughts. But not nearly as dangerous as he’ll be if he can’t get what he wants: Carrigan by his side for the rest of their lives.
“What are you wearing?”
A pause, as if she’d shocked him. “You’re hitting on me.”
“Are you complaining?” She twisted around in her chair and stared into the mirror on the wall across from her. When he didn’t immediately respond, she kept going. The only alternative was to back down, and Carrigan was so goddamn tired of backing down. The only reason she kept taking James’s calls was because of the distraction he offered her. If he wasn’t going to play, there was no reason for her to stay on the phone.
She really wanted him to stay on the phone. “Shy? That’s okay, I’ll go first. I’m wearing a thin white tank top and a pair of black panties.” She was a liar, but it would take all of five seconds to make it the truth.
“Lovely, you’re testing me.” His voice gained an edge.
Good. At least someone was feeling as out of control as she was. “I suppose you’d like photographic proof.” She stood and shimmied out of her long skirt, and then pinned the phone between her ear and shoulder while she unhooked her bra and took it off. “Hold, please.”
Ignoring his cursing, she adjusted her angle so he would have to be blind to miss the faint outline of her nipples against the fabric of her tank top, and snapped a picture. She knew she was playing with fire. Good lord, of course she knew. But she wasn’t about to stop. She grinned as she sent the picture.
Carrigan put the phone back to her ear in time to hear his sharp inhale. “Your turn.” She held her breath, waiting to see if he’d actually do it. Receiving pictures was one thing. Putting them out in the world was entirely another. Really, she shouldn’t have taken the risk in the first place. There was no telling what he would do with them—they might show up on the Internet. Then who would want to marry her?
Funny, but the idea of countless men checking out her rack didn’t bother her nearly as much if it meant she dodged the marriage bullet. The shame on her family might be enough that her father would send her away permanently. She’d like to spend some time in New York or LA or even New Orleans. Maybe Rome or Paris or Tokyo. The world was so damn big and she’d only seen a little slice of it.
Her phone beeped, pulling her out of her thoughts. She glanced at the picture he’d sent and started to shake. Oh my God. James was shirtless, wearing only those goddamn jeans she couldn’t seem to get enough of. And they were unbuttoned—a clear invitation if she ever saw one. An invitation she desperately wanted to accept. “Damn, James. Somebody taught you how to selfie.”
“Maybe I’m a natural.” His voice was little more than a growl. “You started this, lovely. Tell me what’s next.”
The strange mix of command and handing her the reins got her head back in the game. She walked over to her bed and climbed onto it, trying to ignore the trembling in her legs. She could be in charge. She wanted to be. “I’m lying on my bed.”
“What color are the sheets?”
The question seemed to carry far more import than it should. “White.”
“They don’t suit you. Red is your color. Go on.” He sounded so damn imperial, as if he actually knew her. He didn’t. No one did, really. She wore so many masks, sometimes she worried she’d forget the woman at the center of them all.
But this time he was right. She would have chosen red for herself.
Carrigan put the thought away and focused on the now. “You talk too much.”
“My mistake.” He didn’t sound the least bit sorry. Good. She wasn’t, either. “How do you want it, lovely? Rough, I’d bet. You’re not fucking breakable, and I think you love to be reminded of that fact.” Something rustled on his end of the line. “Close your eyes.”
She obeyed without thinking, and then instantly snapped them open. “I thought I was in charge.”
“You let me know if I get something wrong.” His laugh told her how unlikely he found the possibility.
The O’Malleys could possibly be the death of me–I’m getting so invested in this family and their major drama it isn’t funny!
Carrigan and James’s story was nicely set up in book one,The Marriage Contract and I was dying to get to their story. I’m happy to say it did not disappoint!
For about 95% of the book, I needed Carrigan and James to be together but at the same time was completely convinced it would be impossible. It’s Romeo and Juliet, mobster-style (minus the ridiculous youth of the leads and the stupid tragic ending, thank goodness). Carrigan’s only worth to her father is what marrying her to one of his associates can bring him, and James has just taken over the reins of his crime family from his recently-incarcerated father and has to watch his back with literally everyone–his younger brother included. Being together could re-ignite the war that threatened to destroy Boston in the last book, but soon they can’t stay away from each other…
Until they have to. And then, watch out.
The Wedding Pact really works better if you’ve read book one–even though I did, I still had to pull up my copy before I’d gotten too far into this one just to refresh my memory about what happened at the Halloran house between Carrigan, James, and Callie. It’s all alluded to in this one, and you could probably read it without having read the other first, but honestly, do yourself a favor and read both. This family, I tell you–they suck you right into their world and you won’t want to leave until each and every O’Malley gets their HEA. (Well, okay–maybe not the patriarch. I don’t think I’ll be rooting for Seamus anytime soon. Or ever.)
And darn that Katee Robert, she’s done it again. We get just enough of Cillian’s POV in this one (and that’s before we even get to the teaser at the end!) to have us anxious for his book. Fortunately, July (and An Indecent Proposal ) aren’t *too* far away…
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Meet the O’Malley family in book one of the O’Malley series, The Marriage Contract:
Coming in July 2016, An Indecent Proposal
Get to know another O’Malley sibling- Cillian O’Malley
Greed. Ambition. Violence. Those are the “values” Olivia Rashidi learned from her Russian mob family-and the values she must leave behind for the sake of her daughter. When she meets Cillian O’Malley, she recognizes the red flag of his family name . . . yet she still can’t stop herself from seeing the smoldering, tortured man. To save her family, Olivia sets out to discover Cillian’s own secrets, but the real revelation is how fast-and how hard-she’s falling for him.
Plagued by a violent past, Cillian is more vulnerable than anyone realizes. Anyone except Olivia, whose beauty, compassion, and pride have him at “hello,” even if she’s more inclined to say good-bye to an O’Malley. While his proposal of sex with no strings seems simple, what he feels for her isn’t, especially after he learns that she belongs to a rival crime family. Cillian knows that there is no escape from the life, but Olivia may be worth trying-and dying-for . . .
About Katee Robert:
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. She found romance novels at age twelve and it changed her life. When not writing sexy contemporary and speculative fiction romance novels, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her wee ones, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.