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Friday, January 29, 2021

Review: THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT by Katee Robert

Title: The Marriage Contract
Author: Katee Robert
The O'Malleys #1
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: June 2 2015
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Teague O'Malley hates pretty much everything associated with his family's name. And when his father orders him to marry Callista Sheridan to create a "business" alliance, Teague's ready to tell his dad exactly where he can stuff his millions. But then Teague actually meets his new fiancée, sees the bruises on her neck and the fight still left in her big blue eyes, and vows he will do everything in his power to protect her.

Everyone knows the O'Malleys have a dangerous reputation. But Callie wasn't aware just what that meant until she saw Teague, the embodiment of lethal grace and coiled power. His slightest touch sizzles through her. But the closer they get, the more trouble they're in. Because Callie's keeping a dark secret and what Teague doesn't know could get him killed.

"I might not deserve you, but I'm sure as fuck going to do right by you."

It's been a very long while since I last read a mafia/organized crime romance book. Honestly, I think I've only read one series before this which completely blew my mind and heart. It was hard for me not to compare them despite having completely different tones, plot and well, everything. This was my first book by Katee Robert and I really enjoyed it! There were characters that had me swooning, and others that had me mad side-eyeing. I'm invested in the O'Malleys though, and desperately need to know that the other siblings find their happy endings too.

The Marriage Contract opens with a bang (pun intended). Fair warning that the beginning may be triggering because of the abuse noted during chapter one. Callista "Callie" Sheridan is one tough cookie! She's trying to steer the Sheridan empire into a brighter, cleaner future but her plan has hit a hurdle and gotten very messy. I couldn't help but root for Callie with all my heart. She's a natural leader, only wanting what is best for her family. Match her up with Teague O'Malley and we've got ourselves a firecracker combo. I really liked that the book covered all three family dynamics and I'm usually one who doesn't enjoy multiple POVs. I could care less about the Hallorans though. *whispers* Not you James, you passed my vibe check. Our three feuding families are the Sheridans, the O'Malleys and the Hallorans—all tangled up in one twisted [dare I say, sexy?] ball of drama.

Allow me time to swoon over Teague O'Malley, loving brother to many siblings. I think there's seven O'Malley children in total but correct me if I'm wrong. Teague wants nothing to do with his father's "organization". If he could run away, dragging all of his siblings with him safely, he would. It's this protective nature that I feel sparks his need to protect Callie when they first meet. Their push-and-pull dynamic was oh so lovely. Their dialogues? *chef's kiss*. Their chemistry? *flames*. I thought it was cute how they tried going through the dating rituals of getting to know each other and going out, while there was a family war brewing in the background. The pacing threw me off-kilter here and there but anything Teague made up for it. I'm weak against dangerous men with a huge heart, okay?! Sue me.

A secondary character that stole the spotlight for me was the oldest O'Malley daughter, Carrigan. She puts on a façade at home but lets loose whenever she's able to sneak out to have some fun. She's perceptive with top-notch eavesdropping skills. I like that she's welcoming and kind to Callie yet still makes it clear where her loyalties lie. Family loyalty for the win! Carrigan stumbles across another key player later on in the story, and oh boy does the intensity ramp up. She's so brave Excellent lead-in to her book The Wedding Pact which is next in the series! I'm looking forward to seeing how that romance plays out and to learn more about the younger O'Malley siblings. I'm still crying over one particular younger sibling...Whyyyyy?!

**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

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