It all started with a spell and a fake marriage…
“The violet fabric-covered book beckoned and mocked. She picked it up again, leafed through the pages, and threw it back on the contemporary glass table. Ridiculous. Love spells, for God’s sake. She refused to stoop to such a low. Of course, when her best friend, Alexa, cast her own spell, she’d been supportive and cheered her actions to find her soul mate. But this was completely different…”
“Maggie stood and yanked on a silky red robe, then stuffed her feet into her matching fuzzy slippers with devil horns sprouting from the top of the foot. She was drunk enough, and no one would ever know. Maybe the exercise would calm her nerves. She grabbed the piece of ledger paper and made a list of all the qualities she craved in a man.
Built the small fire.
Recited the mantra.
Gleeful cackles echoed in her brain at the act of insanity, but she shoved them back with another sip of tequila and watched the paper burn. After all, she had nothing left to lose.”
– Jennifer Probst, The Marriage Trap
Maggie Ryan, the sister of Nick and BFF of Alexa from The Marriage Bargain gets her own story told in the The Marriage Trap.
Maggie is strong, independent, loyal, full of sarcasm, and extremely guarded with her true feelings. And for the most part has a happy and successful life. But at times she feels alone and questions why she cannot seem to feel any type of connection with the guys she dates. One night Maggie decides to use the spell book that Alexa had to create a spell of her own and hopefully conjure up a Mr. Right.
And there is billionaire Michael Conte, who is a charming and smooth flirt, with seductive eyes and a gorgeous physique to match. Family is important to him and as the eldest in his family he takes the responsibility of caring and protecting his family very seriously. His sister Venezia calls him from Italy upset and hysterical that due to a longstanding family tradition their mother will not allow her to marry her longtime boyfriend until Michael marries first. Michael has no plans to get married in the immediate future, but he wants Venezia to be able to get married and start her own family, and so tries to come up with a plan to help rectify the situation.
During Alexa’s birthday party Maggie runs into Michael. She cannot stand him and it annoys her that he seems to insinuate himself into their family and is always around. Even though she claims to be annoyed by him, whenever they come in close contact with each other there is a sexual charge that begins to build between them. Maggie and Michael try to ignore those feelings. They each have their own reasons for not wanting to give into them.
Maggie believes that Michael is in love with Alexa and is biding his time until the right opportunity presents itself to break up Nick and Alexa’s marriage.
For Michael nothing could be further from the truth. He looks at Alexa as if she were one of his sisters. They are only close friends and nothing more he tells Maggie.
Michael hears Maggie talk about her business trip to Milan and he gets an idea that hopefully will solve his problems. Michael gives Maggie a proposition. Pretend to be his wife for the week they are in Italy, meet his family, and pretend they are in love. She will only agree if he promises to stay away from Alexa when they come back to the states. He doesn’t want to hurt Alexa or end their friendship, but he wants his sister to be happy, so he agrees and they head off to Italy.
Upon arriving in Italy, Maggie meets his three sisters, mom, and pretty soon the entire family. As the head of the household Michael is used to being in control. What he says goes. Maggie challenges that and tries to open his eyes to how he handles things with some of his family. Because they both have strong personalities, they tend to clash in certain situations. They play the part of loving couple in public all the while struggling with their growing attraction.
“He stalked over and invaded her personal space. The heat of his skin pulled her in. “One slipup and this charade ends. I can’t afford it. Especially when a simple kiss beforehand may make the difference.” “I’m real good at faking it.” She tossed him a mocking smile. The delicious scents of musk and man beckoned her to steal a sample. Her heart tripped at the thought of him calling her bluff, which only made her more obnoxious. “No one will ever know I’m not interested in kissing you. No need to put ourselves through a practice run.” He studied her in silence and she began to relax. “Let’s test the theory, shall we?” He grasped her shoulders and yanked her forward. She collided with a rock of carved muscle, and her arms came up in automatic protest to push against his chest. When she hit resistance, her fingers gripped the soft material of his T-shirt. His feet straddled hers and kept her off balance. His lips stopped inches from her own. “Take your hands off of me.” Sweat beaded her brow. Oh, God, what if she melted and looked like an idiot? What if she moaned when those full lips slid over hers? She could not respond. She could not respond. She could not— “What are you so nervous about?” Humor danced in his eyes. “You’ve done this a million times, remember?” “I don’t like to be manhandled,” she shot back. His lip quirked. He lowered his voice to a husky purr that promised her pure bodily pleasure. “Maybe you haven’t had the right man handling you.” “Give me a break. Do women really fall for that line? Because if they do, they must come from the land of the stupid. Take your hands—” His lips covered hers. His warm, soft mouth stopped the angry flow of words and distracted her from any other thought she’d ever had except how this man kissed. Her senses short-circuited. She liked kissing and had experienced her fair share, but with Michael everything seemed different. His body heat reminded her of a werewolf in those Twilight films she secretly loved. His tongue probed the seam of her lips, then dove in without apology.”
Michael and Maggie are a feisty spirited couple. I love them as a couple and think they are perfect for each other. Their chemistry is electric. It goes from normal to fire with them in just a matter of seconds. They drive each other crazy, but end up getting to know each other better in the process which could possibly lead to more than just a physical attraction. But what happens when they leave Italy and head back home? You will just have to read The Marriage Trap for yourself and find out. It is so worth it. I couldn’t help but devour this book in one day! And if you can’t get enough of this series, the third and final installment to the Marriage to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Mistake which tells the story of Carina Conte (Michael’s baby sister) is coming out November 6th, 2012!! I cannot wait to read what happens in the next book. Even though I received this book as an ARC, I liked it so much that I ended up buying a copy for myself.
Rating: 4 ½ out of 5.
** I received this ARC from Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books in exchange for my honest review. Thank you.**