REVIEW: “Forbidden Promises” by Katee Robert

Oh Katee, you know me SO well!  Public sex and a Hero who’s version of Dirty Talk is monologuing and filthy play-by-play – now that’s a Party!  “Forbidden Promises” is part of Katee Robert’s O’Malley series and it is a stand-alone.  But there are a couple of strong subplots running parallel that have to do with the past.  You won’t feel lost but since the O’Malley series is excellent I recommend you read all of them.  Plus the covers are … RAWR!  Sloan O’Malley is the middle daughter of this Boston Irish Mob family and the quiet and innocent one.  She’s the sister whose spirit would get crushed with a mafia arranged marriage.  So with the help of her elder brother she gets out and escapes to the Pacific Northwest.  Unfortunately this innocent doesn’t know she’s moved next door to most cunning hit-men Jude McNamara.

Sloan left Boston and her mob family to be free of the never ending “eye for an eye” cycle.  Jude McNamara is in Callaway Rock, Oregon to avenge the past, a mob hit that wiped out his entire family.  Although their enemies didn’t know his mother was pregnant or they wouldn’t have left her, or him, alive.  It’s through coincidence that Sloan’s sister-in-law, Callie Sheridan, got her aunt’s permission for her to stay in the beachside house.  Unfortunately, Callie’s aunt Scorcha O’Connor is Jude’s targeted hit.  The Sheridan mob family were the ones who wiped out his father, brothers, cousins, uncles, and aunts.  He was left with no one except his mother who suffered from Depression because she lost everything.  She had to sell her body in order so she and Jude could survive – then she killed herself.  Colm Sheridan and Callie herself are on Jude’s list for revenge.

Sloan grew up with housekeepers and cooks so cleaning, washing clothes, and cooking are all new to her.  She definitely can’t cook.  Nor does she have any skills but she does get a job at the small town’s diner.  She likes the small town living having all of her windows open letting in the sea and sun.  The house next door sits with shutters closed and a surly, yet sexy, owner inside.  Sloan knows he’s a jerk because he essentially told her to, “Get off my lawn,” her first night in town.  She accidently went to his house, the night she arrived, not realizing it wasn’t the O’Connor house.  Sloan misses her siblings terribly but is happier no not be in that life any longer.  She loves that almost everyone in town comes through the diner and she is gradually getting to know them all.  Except for Jude Smith.

Jude McNamara is a hit-man, one of the best, if not the best.  He has lines, researching all of his marks making sure they sure they’re one of the “bad guys”.  Jude doesn’t do “innocents”.  In any and all ways.  He didn’t think there were any left, until the tiny girl with the big brown eyes moved in next door.  You can’t get anymore innocent than Sloan.  When she first arrived next door he knew she was decades too young to be his target, Scorcha.  Then he thought he hit the mother-lode, Callie Sheridan, Colm Sheridan’s only remaining child.  The pain the loss would bring him would be sweeter than death to Jude.  But Callie Sheridan’s blonde.  Even if she dyed her hair she didn’t carry herself the way Sloan does.  Sloan’s shoulder are always hunched as if she’s expecting something painful to strike.

Jude has no idea who Sloan is or how she’s related to Scorcha however he’s drawn to Sloan.  He can tell she wants him but … she an “innocent”.  Sloan compels Jude to cross lines, make her feel better after hurting her feelings, to nurture … before the hunt.  Jude asks Sloan out but curiosity about her moves him to use a contact to find out who she is.  Before he gets the information the time comes for their date but Sloan’s “in a mood” and tells Jude off.  He straightens her out, telling her exactly what he wants to do to her.  Jude informs her that “going out isn’t his scene” and he’s changed his mind.  Sloan goes all in.  Rather than strip her naked on the porch and ravage her there they go into her house.

Sloan’s never even been on a date before, her brothers ran off any boy who came around.  When Jude kisses her with tongue and she reacts with surprise he realizes Sloan’s most likely a virgin.  Jude finds, when it comes to Sloan, he has a conscious although it isn’t strong enough to stop him from taking her virginity.  Jude’s a ‘talker’ during sex.  He tells you what he’s going to do to you.  What he’s going to make you feel; let you know how he feels.  Then inform you he’s going to think about it long after y’all are done.  And Jude’s as good as his word.  He’s better than good.  But Jude doesn’t stick around after sex even though he’s feeling possessive and protective of Sloan.  Jude’s never “possessed or protected” anything in his life but Sloan awakens those feelings in him.  She dangerous and addictive.

Back in Boston Sloan’s brother Aiden discovers they have a leak to the Feds.  It’s high enough in their ranks to start a war.  The worst part the leak’s his brother Teague who’s the heads the Sheridan family his wife Callista Sheridan.  So Aiden’s in charge since their father took their mother to the country house when Sloan disappeared.  He figures that’s Teague’s doing as well since he’s the only one not acting sick with worry.  Aiden’s other sister Carrigan took up with the head of their family’s rival, the Hallorans.  The family that killed their youngest brother Devlin.  His youngest sister, Keira’s, ditching her security detail and he believes she’s more alcohol and coke than flesh and blood.  He’s not in a Happy Place.  But he has a plan to deal with his brother’s FBI contact.  But then another old nemesis is knocking at their door.

Jude gets a call from his contact regarding Sloan’s identity; except it’s not his contact it’s Dmitri Romanov.  The O’Malleys have wronged him a few times and he wants revenge.  He tells Jude to give him Sloan.  Jude refuses, claiming Sloan’s his.  This gives Dmitri something to ponder.  But he also wants to hire Jude to kill Colm Sheridan for a tidy sum of money.  This appeals to Jude since he was going to do it anyway.  Jude’s kicking himself, because his of “research” Sloan is now on Dmitri Romanov’s radar.  He should have figured it out himself.  Sloan’s from Boston and Scorcha’s niece is Sloan’s sister-in-law.  In Boston Aiden gets a message from Dmitri.  It says he knows where Sloan is and that Dmitri’s owed a sister or a wife.  Dmitri’s half sister is with Aiden’s brother, Cillian, that means he wants an O’Malley for a wife.

Teague freaks out knowing the history of the McNamaras and the Sheridans.  He believes Jude’s going to kill his wife and unborn baby.  Teague thinks Sloan’s with Jude under duress for because of some Stockholm Syndrome and goes after them.  Sloan convinces Jude to break the cycle of revenge.  She tells him Callie’s pregnant, he definitely won’t kill her now.  Jude doesn’t kill children.  If he kills Colm Sheridan then they’ll go after him – and possibly her.  Jude’s given up pretending Sloan’s “temporary” or “casual”.  He wants her and he wants to keep her safe.  Jude’s never had a family and Sloan feels like his family; she’s the promise of family.  As if he’s psychic Dmitri contacts Jude and threatens him claiming he’ll kill Colm Sheridan and Callie both.  Then he’ll make sure that Jude takes the blame for the hit.  He’ll be more hunted than he already is.

Teague catches up with Sloan and Jude while they’re running from Dmitri and he shoots Jude.  They manage to get away but they need help.  Sloan calls the person she never thought she’d speak to again.  She calls Carrigan for help.  Carrigan and James collect Sloan and Jude and get him doctored up.  Even though Carrigan’s ecstatic to see Sloan and forgives her for all of the unanswered calls, James isn’t as forgiving.  Even though going to Boston is the last thing the want or should do.  It’s what they have to do to be free from the Sheridans, O’Malleys, and Dmitri Romanov.  It’s a joint attack to save two lives and one yet to be born.

“Forbidden Promises” delivers a tender-hearted, wicked tongued Hero and a shy and demure Heroine with a spine of steel.  Katee Robert keeps the O’Malley streak alive with another panty-melting-ovary-exploding hero and a devilishly enthralling storyline.  The reader gets a smart, intelligent (two very different things) and steadfast heroine.  Per usual the secondary characters are treats:  diner owners Marge and Luke for example.  Plus we get to see all of the O’Malley sibs!  A nice long sister to sister chat with Carrigan is a delicacy!  Although Dmitri Romanov at a rave, of all places, rates HIGH on the delight-o-meter.  The risks and thrills are edgy and the romance is heavenly sweet.  When the big boys fall it’s ass over tea kettle.  “Forbidden Promises” is Knock You Naked Awesome!  I Love.  So Love!  ABSOLUTELY LOVE!!!

I’m giving “Forbidden Promises” 6 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.


This novel was provided, voluntarily read, and honestly reviewed.

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