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.
If ever there was a series of books that deserved the word “saga” in the title, The O’Malleys series would be the series. The Wedding Pact picks up where The Marriage Contract left off. There is a tentative peace between the three major mob families and if peace is going to continue, another alliance needs to made and made quickly. This time, the lucky bargaining chip is Carrigan O’Malley, eldest of the O’Malley daughters and least likely to be happy with anything her parents want.
Carrigan is 29 years old and according to her parents she is dangerously close to being too old to produce an adequate number of O’Malley heirs. Being the respectable mob family that they are, the O’Malley’s must have a marriage before there can be talk of heirs. With this in mind, Carrigan is instructed by her father to choose a husband from the list he has compiled so she can be officially engaged within the month. Unfortunately, none of the men on the parent approved list are anywhere near as desirable as James Halloran, current head of the Halloran mob family. Yeah, that would be the same Halloran family responsible for the death of Carrigan’s youngest brother and Carrigan’s kidnapping several months prior.
James Halloran never intended to be the head of his family but after the death of the heir and the arrest of his bat-shit crazy father, the onerous task has fallen on James broad shoulders. Oh sure, James could chuck it all and walk away but that would leave his youngest brother, Ricky in charge and if recent events are any indication, Ricky would cause an all-out war just for funsies. As if running a mob family weren’t hard enough James is also hiding a huge secret, Carrigan O’Malley. After a blazing hot one-night stand, James hasn’t been able to get the ballsy broad out of his head and he wants her no matter the consequences.
Contact between Carrigan and James is limited at best but with each encounter the two grow dangerously closer. James is unlike any man Carrigan has ever been with and is most certainly the first she has ever considered offering more than her body. For James, Carrigan is everything. She is classy and elegant while at the same time sexy and brash. With James, Carrigan is as close to her true self as she ever is and that freedom is worth every risk. If James and Carrigan lived in a perfect world, their families wouldn’t hate one another and they would be free to openly pursue their relationship. Unfortunately, their worlds are far, far from perfect and being caught together would be seen of nothing short of betrayal and likely cost at least one of them their lives. Yeah, mob bosses get awfully pissy where their enemies are concerned.
The Bottom Line: I generally enjoyed The Marriage Contract but I was all up in The Wedding Pact. Katee Robert outdid herself this time around with Carrigan and James’s story. From the very beginning, Carrigan is desperate to escape her pathetic life and the stranglehold her father has on her. For the majority of her life, Carrigan has known she was nothing more than a pawn and until James, she mostly accepted her fate. James, with his deliciously foul mouth, his crass ways, and his insistence of going straight is the exact opposite of what Carrigan is used which makes him the perfect partner for her. In so many ways, Carrigan and James are a perfect balance for one another and it takes a hell of a lot to get to their HEA. The danger, the drama, the naughty bits, and the family entanglements are taken to the next level in this read and I was all kinds of wrapped in it all. Furthermore, there are loads of little nuggets of information about the remaining O’Malley siblings and what’s to come in the final installment of the series, An Indecent Proposal.
New York Times & USA TODAY Bestselling Author Katee Robert learned to tell stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her favorites then were the rather epic adventures of The Three Bears, but at age twelve she discovered romance novels and never looked back. Though she dabbled in writing, life got in the way—as it often does—and she spent a few years traveling, living in both Philadelphia and Germany. In between traveling and raising her two wee ones, she had the crazy idea that she’d like to write a book and try to get published. Her first novel was an epic fantasy that, God willing, will never see the light of day. From there, she dabbled in YA and horror, before finally finding speculative romance. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to write entire books about the smoking-hot relationships between two people? She now spends her time—when not lost in Far Reach worlds—playing imaginary games with her wee ones, writing, ogling men, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.