An Indecent Proposal by Katee Robert
Book Three of the O'Malleys series
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley
***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***
Summary (from Goodreads):
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 . . .
What I Liked:
I savored this book as I was reading it. I rarely do that - usually I read a book start to finish at a comfortable pace, and most of the time, I want to read it as fast as possible because the book is that engrossing. This book was truly engrossing, but also one of those books that you want to savor as you read it. It was pretty great!
Olivia Rashidi has escaped from her Romanov family in New York, and is currently in Boston with her fourteen-month-old daughter. She works at a bar, where the handsome and devilish Cillian O'Malley frequents. This bar is on O'Malley territory, and Cillian is no stranger to the bar. He's been haunted since his younger brother's death, a shell of what he used to be. But he's interested in Olivia, and he knows that she's interested in him too. But she turns him down time after time, and he respects that. But when sparks fly and Olivia acts on her desire for Cillian, things are set in motion. Olivia hasn't escaped the Romanovs - or her ex-boyfriend - as well as she thought.
I actually hadn't really read the synopsis for the book, so initially, I didn't know much about the book. I absolutely loved The Marriage Contract, and really enjoyed The Wedding Pact, so reading An Indecent Proposal was a no-brainer. Cillian's story? Sign me up!
We meet Cillian in the previous books - he's the fourth of seven O'Malley children, in his mid-twenties, and shouldering way too much blame for his younger brother's death. Devlin was shot when the four brothers were walking home from a bar one night - and they were walking because Cillian was drunk and wanted to walk it off. Cillian takes on a lot of guilt and burdens, and it's obvious that he isn't what he used to be. A former playboy, a man who loved drinking and getting around and enjoying life, was almost defeated, and noticeably so. Cillian has the wounded brooding sexy guy thing going on, AND he's a fancy dresser, with all of his three-piece suits. Gosh I want one of him. I love it when a guy likes to dress nicely.
Olivia sees Cillian often at the bar she works in, but she is determined not to have anything to do with men, not while the last man she was with betrayed her as badly as he did. Olivia has a fourteen-month-old daughter to protect, and she will protect her with everything she has. Olivia is hiding her daughter Hadley from Dmitri (Olivia's half-brother), and Sergei (who works for Dmitri, and is also Olivia's former boyfriend and Hadley's father). Olivia is guarded and prickly and a bit mysterious, and she's a momma bear in every sense of the phrase.
I liked Cillian more than Olivia, and as much as this book focused on Olivia, I thought it was definitely more of Cillian's book, than Olivia's. Olivia's conflict seems more central because it's her and her daughter on the run, hiding from Sergei and Dmitri. But Cillian... it's clear that his pain and his hurting is just as important to the story. Both characters have so much baggage and so much to work through, and this adds great depth to the story (heartbreaking depth!).
Usually I don't like books with children in them (in which one of the protagonists has a child or children), and initially, I didn't know that Olivia had a kid (I never read the synopsis, remember?). But discovering Hadley's existence didn't bother me like it usually does, in books. Maybe because Hadley is so young (barely a year old)? In any case, I liked Hadley, and I liked her purpose/role in the book. I hated how she came about, but for once, I didn't mind the presence of a kid.
The romance was sweet! It starts as a healthy chase, because Olivia kept turning down Cillian. Cillian asked her out two or three times but respected her rejections, and did not keep pursuing her. So she was the one to come to him, and the two of them together are like two pieces of a puzzle. Honestly, Cillian seemed too good to be true at times. He's selfless and giving and doesn't pry or push, but he's also protective and dominant and alpha. It's an interesting combination.
The chemistry between these two is fairly sizzling, but this book isn't nearly as hot as most of Robert's other books. I expected a higher level of fire, and this book was a little lacking in that department. Still pretty steamy! Just not as much as her other books (in this series, as well as with other publishers).
I love how this series is not just about the romance! The mafias and the crime and all the underground, underhand dealings are so important to this story, and the series in general. You can read each book as a standalone, but it's cool to see the progression of the mafias and their business with each successive book.
In the end, I really enjoyed this book. I think The Marriage Contract is still my favorite book, but this one is probably coming in second, at the moment. I am very excited to read Sloan's book next, but Keira's book with Dmitri is the one I'm extremely anxious to read. Dmitri is an interesting guy - in good and bad ways. I can't wait!
What I Did Not Like:
Like I said above, this book wasn't nearly as steamy as I would have expected, from Robert. Her books in general are SO smoking hot, so I was a tiny bit disappointed when this book didn't follow suit. I think there was a lot of character development and emotional relationship development and bonding and such, but the sexy times could have been more present.
But that's okay! Still a very great book.
Would I Recommend It:
If you're liking the series, keep reading! There will be six books in the series, so we're halfway there. We have Sloan/Jude, Keira/Dmitri, and Aiden/Charlie to look forward to over the next couple of years (yay!). This series is probably my favorite series of Robert's! If you like her Brazen novels, you'll like this series. Great romance, wonderful characters, and an intriguing world!
4 stars. This series has not disappointed me yet, and I'm sure it won't! The author hasn't either, and I'm sure she won't. I like her Brazen novels, but this series really takes the cake! Who knew a world of mafia and crime could be so yummy.
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