An Indecent Proposal
by Katee Robert
Series: The O’Malleys, #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 30, 2016
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 . . .
She ran after him, thankful she’d put on her badass studded boots instead of the pair of heels she’d been jonesing after. An eight-hour shift on her feet would have her hating herself if she’d gone with the pretty shoes—and they would have made it impossible to catch up with the O’Malley.
She grabbed his arm and froze at the feel of his muscles flexing in her grip. Holy wow.
He finally turned to face her and it struck her that, without the bar between them, he was so much larger than she was. Not large like her ex, Sergei—this man was built lean instead of for brute strength—but he still dwarfed her. And he smelled good, like some kind of spicy men’s cologne that instantly had her thinking thoughts she had no business entertaining.
Like what it would be like to bury her nose in his neck and inhale deeply. The insane desire to do so almost overwhelmed her.
Everything about him was overwhelming, from his beautiful face, to his impeccably styled dark hair, to the tattoos peeking out of his clothes at neck and wrists. The ink creeping up the side of his neck was like a wild thing trying to escape from his insanely expensive suit, a strange combination of brutal strength and poised polish that she should have known better than to be attracted to.
Except, apparently, her body hadn’t gotten the memo.
She realized she was still clutching his arm and made herself let go so she could offer back the cash. Right, because that’s why you chased him down a dark street. “I don’t want your money.”
“It’s called a tip, sweetheart. It’s just good manners.”
“I don’t want it.” Even as she said it, she wondered why she was being so damn stubborn about this. He hadn’t asked anything of her. All he’d done was throw too much money at a bartender, which was something plenty of drunks did from time to time. Except he wasn’t drunk. She should be elated at having the extra cash—God knew she needed it. Instead, there was a growing recklessness in her chest, one she’d thought she’d outgrown a long time ago. “Just take it, okay?”
“No.” His gaze narrowed on her face, giving her the sudden thought that he saw too much. Before she could decide what to do with that, he moved closer, giving her another whiff of that cologne that made her whole body break out in goose bumps. Or maybe it was the man himself, the streetlights creating a skeleton’s mask of his face, turning his eyes into dark pits of shadows. “Why do you care so much?”
“Oh my God, just take it back.” She should drop the cash and head for home. Or, hell, at least take a few steps away so that she wasn’t in danger of brushing against him if she took a deep breath.
But she couldn’t force her hand to unclench or her feet to create any distance between them. She cleared her throat, trying to get her thoughts back on track. “I didn’t ask for your charity.”
“Yeah, I got it. You win. I’m an asshole.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Not in so many words, no.” His gaze raked her body much the same way it had back at the bar, making every alarm in her head go off. Spending any more time in this man’s presence was dangerous, though she couldn’t say for sure what she was most afraid of. She lifted her chin in challenge, demanding…She wasn’t sure what she was demanding. Her gaze dropped to his mouth, and she licked her lips. What am I doing? Walk away. Walk away right now.
No. Not yet.
He murmured, “If the shoe fits…”
And then he gripped her jaw and kissed her.
Hot, damaged hero. Strong, feisty heroine. Rival crime families. Family turmoil. Wow! This was another great read from Katee Robert and I loved this world she has created for the O’Malley family.
Cillian O’Malley was just perfect in that damaged hero way. The death of his brother and the turmoil in his family has impacted him so heavily. He’s trying to change his ways, but the scars are deep and his family doesn’t see it…and often it’s easier to let others continue to see you the way they want. He was such an enigma and I loved that he was content to make his own choices and decisions, even if they landed him in trouble. He shields himself with his three-piece suits and smart mouth, but underneath he is just trying to hold himself together.
Olivia was one of those women that you really want to see find her happy ever after. She’s had a miserable life, growing up ostracized from her family, never having a real mother or father. She’s finally escaped her family’s clutches, having fled with her baby to start a new life outside of the organized crime family she was born into. She’s got some real trust issues, especially since it’s not just herself she has to look out for, but her 14-month old daughter as well. So it’s no wonder that Cillian O’Malley sets all her alarms off since he can’t be anything but trouble. And then when her past catches up with her and brings danger to her door, she knows she has to do what she can to keep her daughter safe, even if that means trusting a man like Cillian.
The chemistry between Cillian and Olivia was hot, but what starts off as a physical release turns into something that slowly heats up to more than just a physical thing. And between the baggage they each carry and the improbability of a relationship ever working out between them because of who they are, these two seem to have no chance at being together. Of course when Cillian turns out to be nothing like Olivia expects…
I loved the backdrop and world that Katee Robert has created. It’s rough, dark, and gritty, but the characters are defined by so much more than that. As usual, the author delivers a read filled with emotion and great dialogue, and is perfectly paced to have you turning the pages while savoring every word. As part of a series she has woven in the stories of other members of the O’Malley family, setting up future stories and continuing to develop the characters from the past stories in the series, which allows you to see the impact of the choices they have made.
My only issue with this book was the portrayal of Olivia’s daughter Hadley. First, her age and actions didn’t quite match up for me…I can’t point to one single thing, but it felt like her actions should have made her older. And although she was cute, and I loved watching Cillian try to figure out the whole kid thing, for me there was just something about her that seemed more like a plot tool than a full member of the cast.
Although this is a series and I have not read the first books, I didn’t have any trouble jumping in on book 3, but I will definitely be going back to read the first two books. I can definitely see where reading this series in order would help with some of the backstory, but it was easy enough to catch up and enjoy this book on its own since the author does a great job giving enough history to keep you reading forward.
Another great read from Katee Robert that I would definitely recommend!
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.