Genre: Adult Contemporary/Women's Fiction
Publication Date: July 30th 2013
Series: Married To A Billionaire #4
Source: ARC provided by publisher for review
Her sisters have found wedded bliss with their wealthy,wonderful dream men, but not Julietta Conte. She’s stayed on terra firma as top executive of the family’s corporation, La Dolce Famiglia bakery. Work is her passion, and her trendy Milan apartment her sanctuary . . . until Sawyer Wells, a masculine masterpiece in a suit, lures her out of hiding with an irresistible offer: an exclusive partnership with his international chain of boutique hotels. Julietta’s been burned before—and trusting her brother-in-law’s friend, whose powerful gaze alone has her rethinking the best use of a conference room, is the riskiest proposition. But with a once-in-a-career chance to take the bakery global, will she mix stone-cold business with red-hot seduction?
I have been a big fan of this series from the beginning. From the first spell cast to mother earth I fell in love with the endearing group of characters throughout the series but none more so than with The Marriage Merger.
Julietta Conte is the oldest and last of her siblings to find love and marriage. She didn't let it bother her because she had bigger fish to fry being the head of her family's bakery La Dolce Famiglia in Milan Italy. After a failed business venture leaves her feeling bereft and her non existent love life a constant lingering thought she finally gives in to her sister's insistence to conjure the love spell they all have used. When she gets an offer from Sawyer Wells to join him in a very lucrative business association, where her family's bakery will be featured exclusively in his new hotel chain, she finds out that earth mother doesn't pull any punches. Her carefully planned out life turns upside down the minute Sawyer walks in the door and shakes the foundation of her life.
While Julietta wasn't my favorite female character in this series I did enjoy reading about her and how she came to be such a controlled, rigid woman. She was very focused and career driven and didn't make time for romance because she felt it was a waste of her time seeing as how she couldn't enjoy herself anyway. After several failed attempts at enjoying her sex life she gave up and put her energy into her work. I love a strong independent woman and Julietta was definitely both, but at times I felt like she was too rigid and uptight. I understood where she was coming from with her feelings of inadequacy and failure both in work and in the bedroom but it took a while for her to loosen up and let go. She had a lot to overcome being a female at the top of the food chain. Most men in her business either thought she was a push over or tried to seduce into giving up her bid for whatever opportunity she was going after. It wasn't until she met Sawyer that she started to thaw out a little and become more pliant. I'm not saying he changed her or swooped in to save her by any means. What I am saying is that he was exactly what she needed in a man, almost like sandpaper to smooth away her rough edges and show her what she was missing.
From the moment Sawyer Wells sauntered into the picture in The Marriage Mistake, with his golden blond sex hair and his rough and rugged scarface I knew he would be an interesting read. I was right. I was hoping he would get his own book because from the little we saw of him in the previous book he caught my interest quick. He came across as mysterious and a little dangerous and getting to know him in this book was pure gold. Having lost both his parents at a young age, Sawyer was placed in a foster home where he endured beatings and starvation at the hands of his foster father. In the name of protecting the other kids he offered himself up as a sacrifice so they wouldn't be harmed and it left him with deep emotional scars as well as physical ones. He wasn't just damaged, he was broken and felt like nothing within himself was worth giving to anyone so he avoided relationships and love at all costs. When he meets Julietta she not only brings a challenge he can't resist but the more time he spends with her the more her loving demeanor gets under his skin. It was sad to see the constant battles Sawyer went through in his young life but seeing him work so hard to make something of himself and succeeding was priceless. He worked his way up from the bottom until he made himself into a wealthy man never forgetting where he came from.
Along the way Sawyer takes in a kid who has been through much the same situation as he did. Wolfe was another fantastic addition to the story being a young man who has survived on the streets until Sawyer got a hold of him. he proves to be smart and good with numbers so he is given a job within Sawyer's company and living with him as well. The relationship, or Bromance between Wolfe and Sawyer was endearing and heartwarming. Wolfe's character was very skeptical of love and family and when Julietta comes into his life and involves him in her family he starts to see that not all family experiences are bad. I loved watching Wolfe open up, it was a nice little side story within the main plot. The way everyone in her family took to him right away both scared him and humbled him. Especially when Maggie (my favorite and Michael's wife) offers him a job modeling. Seeing Wolfe develop into a person more confident in himself was like watching as a butterfly comes out of it's cocoon. It was almost spiritual and I just honestly enjoyed his part in this book. I really hope the author decides to give us a book for Wolfe because he was a deep character I could get into.
As for the steamy romance, yes please! The sexual chemistry between Sawyer and Julietta was intense and very hot. With her being uptight and Sawyer being demanding the combustion between them was palpable and almost felt like a separate character itself. Sawyer knew exactly how to handle Julietta and show her how to finally let go and experience what she's been missing out on in the bedroom. The scenes were well structured and the pacing of their romance was well timed out and not rushed. It was a slow burn that with every unfulfilled close encounter brought frustration and anticipation. About the only thing I found I had an issue with was the usage of the word Penis. NO I am not a prude but Penis just isn't sexy. It's very clinical and having that word thrown into the mix at the height of a very climactic scene was like being doused with water fresh from a glacier. It's not a deal breaker and i no way did it take away from the overall story but it did deflate the sexy a little bit for me.
Overall I was really please with how this story panned out. I had been looking forward to reading it and it was a nice surprise to find the arc in my mailbox and I'm very glad I got the opportunity. It's bittersweet to be saying goodbye to this family that I have grown to know and love throughout the series. Everyone from the previous installments makes an appearance in this one and adds more depth, heart and character to this overflowing canvas. I loved seeing everyone happy and settled and the way it wrapped up was very well done. It was everything I come to expect from this author, love, romance, steamy sex and heart.
"Your skin is flawless. Golden and smooth. If I ran my tongue over you, would you taste like chocolate and coconut?" Page 87
"You deserve a man to be whole - a man who can offer you a decent life and not tear you apart piece by piece. I'll never be able to give you what you need. Don't you understand I'm frozen inside? there's nothing left to give you except physical pleasure." Page 254
"This scar reminds me of your bravery. That you're a man who protects the people who belong to him. A man who will fight for what he believes in and what is right, even against the odds." Page 360
About The Author:
Jennifer Probst is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of both sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her novel, The Marriage Bargain, was the #6 Bestselling Book on Amazon for 2012. Her first children's book, Buffy and the Carrot, was co-written with her 12 year old niece, and her short story, "A Life Worth Living" chronicles the life of a shelter dog. She makes her home in New York with her sons, husband, two rescue dogs, and a house that never seems to be clean. She loves hearing from all readers! Stop by her website at http://www.jenniferprobst.com for all her upcoming releases, news and street team information.