Desert Isle Keeper
The Marriage Contract
The Marriage Contract is the start of new mafia romance series featuring three families whose lives are intertwined by violence and intrigue – the O’Malley’s, The Sheridans and The Hallorans. Each book is a standalone romance, but there’s a clear sense that there will be a continuing story arc from one book to the next for those who like to read things in order. Callista Sheridan is a mafia princess, ready to take on her family responsibilities after the accidental death of her only brother Ronan. Aligning her family with the O’Malley’s by marrying Teague will create a strong force to keep them in power over the Hallorans. Teague is no more thrilled with the union than Callie, but he’ll do what’s expected of him. To their surprise, Teague and Callie find that the sexual attraction simmering between them when they meet might just make their marriage bearable, if not downright pleasurable. But they both have secrets to keep, secrets that could start a mafia war. Will their loyalty lie with family or each other?
I really like Callie’s character. She’s trying to keep a level head on her shoulders, playing the dutiful daughter even if it means marriage to an enemy. Teague is equally interesting as a very conflicted man, desperately trying to figure out a way to keep his siblings safe from the mess that is the mafia world he lives in. He has a harsh relationship with his father, but he won’t go against him if marriage to Callie is what will give him the time to figure out a plan to escape this world he never asked for. He comes across as a more stoic figure – strong, smart, and protective. The couple meet formally for the first time at a family planned engagement party and the sparks fly between them. Their attraction to each other leads to several steamy scenes and it’s not long before they are a couple committed to making the best of their situation.
But it’s clear that there are others who aren’t happy with the alliance between these two high powered families. The story is enthralling from the very start. The action scenes are intense, danger stalks them both and this is a world where knowing who to trust and who might betray you can mean the difference between life and death. While the story is told mostly from Teague and Callie’s points of view, there is also the occasional chapter from secondary characters to give us more background into what makes these families tick. It’s a fascinating view into a crime world full of people doing their best to live full lives amidst their violent reality. The steamy romance combined with the healthy doses of action and suspense make for an exciting read.