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 . . .
Of all the O’Malley children, Cillian is perhaps the most accepting of his future. From the beginning, Cillian has known he will never lead the family but he does have his role to play and as long as that role is keeping the books, he’s content to do his part. Six months ago, prior to the death of his younger brother, Cillian likely would have even been happy to do his part for his family but the senseless death of his brother changed everything and Cillian seems to only be able to muster content lately.
Olivia Rashidi can’t even summon up content where her life is concerned. She actually does enjoy her job at the bar and she adores her young daughter but then there’s everything else in her life. Olivia is the until the very end, not wanted bastard daughter of a recently deceased Russian mafia boss, her step-brother wants her back in the family fold, her mother makes Mommy Dearest look like a comedy, and her ex is a bat-sh*t crazy muscle man for her mafia boss step-brother. Oh, and there’s Cillian O’Malley who just keeps showing up at her bar and can’t seem to take no for an answer.
Cillian is absolutely drawn to Olivia but he refuses to allow her to use him to get off and get gone. Since the death of his young brother, Cillian has sobered up on every level and for the first time in his life, he is looking for something beyond a one- or two-night stand. Olivia is sure she will be able to run him off once he knows about her daughter and if that doesn’t work then the serious level of sh*t she’s in with the Russians with most certainly do the job. Cillian, however is made of sterner stuff and the need to protect what he now considers to be his is a fierce feeling he isn’t at all used too but willing to embrace. Yeah, it comes as a surprise to him too J
The Bottom Line: I absolutely loved the first two books in the O’Malleys series but An Indecent Proposal fell flat for me. I like Cillian quite a bit but Olivia is somewhat off-putting yet I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about her that I don’t like. Though there is certainly some drama with Olivia and the Russians, there isn’t the high level of danger and drama that I was expecting based on the first two books. In many ways, I feel like Katee Robert used this book to set up what’s coming next for the O’Malley’s which means slowing down the pace, dealing with the business at hand in the most expedient manner possible, and getting out. With that being said, I like this book but there was certainly no staying up all night because I just had to find out what happens next.
Which only served to make her feel more awkward. Olivia threw up her hands. “I don’t know how to do this.”
“This.” She motioned between the two of them. “This isn’t normal.”
He laughed again, quieter this time. “What does normal look like?” When she would have balked, he held out his hand. “Sit down. You’re making me twitchy with all the pacing. I’m not laughing at you. I’m laughing at the absurdity of this entire situation. So humor me and tell me what normal looks like.”
She didn’t know. That was the problem. Olivia wasn’t sure she’d recognize normal if it hit her in the face. But she wasn’t quite willing to share with Cillian exactly how messed up her childhood had been, outstanding chemistry or not. She inched closer to the bed and perched on the edge, but even with three feet between them, she felt like a lightning rod to his storm, full of vibrating energy and impending boom. She pulled at the edge of her T-shirt. “You know—we’d meet somewhere normal.”
“We met at a bar.”
“Most relationships don’t start in a bar.” She realized what she said and shoved to her feet. “Strike that. I didn’t mean relationship. I just…” Not sure what she was trying to say, she charged on. “Maybe a coffee shop. You’d be behind me in line and say something witty, and I’d laugh and you’d spend the next ten minutes charming me until I gave you my number.”
She was almost afraid to look at him and see his expression. His silence said it all. “That’s stupid, isn’t it?”
“No, not at all. It sounds nice.”
Olivia faced him. “You’re humoring me.”
“Sit down.” He waited for her to obey before he spoke again. “I’m not. It does sound nice.” He carefully leaned back against the headboard. “So I charm your number out of you, huh? I must be pretty charming.”
She shot him a look. “In this scenario, yes.”
Cillian laughed. “Then I’d call you.”
She edged over to sit on the other side of the mattress against the headboard. It was such a silly thing they were doing, but after how intense the rest of the night had been, maybe silly was exactly what they both needed. “A call instead of a text? I must have made an impression.”
“More like I was determined to make the right impression. Texts are lazy, and you can’t get a good read on someone that way. So I’d call.”
She hadn’t spent much time dating…well, ever, really…but even she knew that was different from the norm. “I’d think you were a freak for calling, but I’d answer because I was intrigued.”
“We’d talk for a while, feeling each other out.”
“More like me trying to figure out if you’re a psycho.”
He grinned. “Or that. I’d say all the things a normal guy would say. You’d be reassured that I wasn’t likely to chloroform you and chain you up in my torture-slash-sex dungeon.”
“It would be, yes.”
She laughed softly. “We’d set up a date at the end of the call.”
“Somewhere nice and public and nonthreatening.”
“Now you’re getting the idea.” She stared at the ceiling, part of her kind of weirded out at how well the conversation was flowing with him playing along. “Dinner, no movie. Movies are for people who are too intimidated by the thought of first-date conversation that they chicken out.”
“The conversation would be titillating.”
“You think so?” She rolled onto her side to face him, finding that he’d done the same. His bandage was a vivid reminder of why they were there in the first place. Olivia frowned. “How’re you feeling?”
“That’s not part of the game.” He yawned. “So we’d drink pretentious wine that neither one of us liked and order things that we could barely pronounce and, at the end of it, we’d sheepishly admit that we didn’t like either the drinks or the food, and we’d go find a food truck and laugh at ourselves.”
It was an attractive picture he painted. Normal and kind of sweet and something she’d never have the option of doing. She made a face. “Instead, you wander into my bar because your family’s territory encompasses it and we have a quick fuck in the alley.” She should regret it. She knew she should. There were thousands of dating books and columns out there advising women to withhold sex until they had some sort of commitment.
Except she didn’t regret a damn thing.
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.