REVIEW: “Undercover Attraction” by Katee Robert

The saying “It’s not personal it’s business” never holds true because it always becomes ‘personal’.  “Undercover Attraction” starts off as a strictly ‘Business’ arrangement then becomes very personal and very sexual.  HUZZAH Katee Robert!  Aiden O’Malley uses the enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend strategy is the way to handle Dmitri Romanov.  Therefore he finds the daughter of someone he considers an enemy to help set, one of many, plans into motion.  Charlie Moreaux, actually Charlotte Finch, the daughter of, FBI agent John Finch.  Charlie’s ex-NYPD because of Dmitri.  She was framed by ‘dirty cops’, beaten, and got kicked-off the force.  Charlie used to think in ‘black and white’, good or bad.  The more she’s exposed to Aiden and his ‘world’ the grayer her thinking becomes.  All of the O’Malley’s appear, as does the patriarch Seamus and Aiden’s mother.  Dmitri of course, in addition to new enemies by way of New York City.

Aiden O’Malley is the head of the Family ever since his father “retired” a year or so ago.  Ever since, other than a few familial hiccups Business has been thriving.  However, personally the Russian Dmitri Romanov is now insisting on marrying Aiden’s baby sister Keira.  The O’Malley’s have crossed Dmitri twice.  The first time, the oldest O’Malley daughter, Carrigan, chose Family rival James Halloran over him.  The second his half-sister Olivia, became romantically involved with Cillian O’Malley.  Now she lives with Cillian in the family townhouse with his niece.  Because of his half-sister’s defection and Carrigan’s rejection Dmitri needs Keira not as an alliance but to strengthen his reputation.  Aiden’s multi-prong plan to attack the Russian needs a distraction.  He chooses woman who’ll be able to hold her own and has skin in the game.  She wants Revenge.  Justice.  Whatever you call it she wants to see Dmitri Romanov pay.

Charlie grew up believing in good and bad, right and wrong.  Her father’s FBI agent John Finch and his father was a cop.  Serving, protecting, and upholding the law’s in her blood.  Until some dirty cops on Romanov’s payroll didn’t like that she wouldn’t take a bribe.  Not only did they set her up, they beat her so badly she was hospitalized for months.  Even though she’s an only child who went into the ‘family business’ she never had her father’s respect.  When she was accused of being a ‘dirty cop’ he believed them.  Charlie healed, learned Krav Maga, changed her last name and runs the backroom poker action in a NYC bar.  She lost everything and blames Dmitri Romanov.  Aiden approached her a year ago and she pulled a gun on him.  This time he has a plan and it’s her best shot at Justice.  Or is it Revenge?

Charlie still has her moral compass so working with Aiden is a big conflict.  She grew up knowing that cops are good and mobsters are bad.  Her eyes have been opened since then.  At first Charlie believes Aiden’s just a different side of the same coin Dmitri Romanov’s made of.  However Dmitri’s a common enemy.  The arrangement is for Charlie to pretend to be Aiden’s fiancée.  The fact that Charlie is appearing suddenly and out of no where is part of the plan.  She’s a distraction as Aiden works his other plans that will “get rid of the Romanov problem”.

Aiden wants to make sure Dmitri doesn’t marry his sister.  However his plan involves making Dmitri believe Aiden is working with him to get rid of the Eldridge Family.  The Eldridges are a sadistic Family headed up by Alethea and her daughter, Mae.  Aiden makes contact with the Eldridges in order to form an alliance to get rid of their common enemy Dmitri.  However Aiden misjudges these women.  A matriarchal Family is less merciful and more cunning than he imagines.  Just because he has no territory in New York doesn’t make him, Charlie and the rest of the O’Malley’s Teflon.

Sex isn’t supposed to be part of the deal.  But for Charlie’s presence and their relationship to “make sense” it has to happen.  For Charlie to get Aiden’s attention and for him to propose; it has to look he’s thinking with his dick.  People will think he’s lost his mind and underestimate him.  They’ll also underestimate Charlie.  That part of the plan works perfectly.  Aiden’s protective siblings declare Charlie to be a gold-digging slut who’s crazy to want any part of Aiden’s dangerous life.

Ironically it’s the most troubled O’Malley that comes around first.  Keira reacts strongly to Charlie’s appearance and disappears to a party.  Dmitri’s the one who locates her first.  However the next morning Aiden has Charlie spend some time with Keira.  Charlie sees a very troubled girl who feels out of control and has given up.  She also notices something else, Keira seems to be intrigued with Dmitri Romanov.  Charlie keeps her observations about this to herself, however.  She takes Keira to a Krav Maga gym and Keira LOVES IT.  Keira has an energy and sense of humor that she didn’t have before.  Until she realizes her father has returned home.

Seamus O’Malley declares that Aiden’s running the Family Business into the ground so he’s taking over again.  He states that Keira will indeed marry Romanov no questions.  Aiden was playing his cards close to his vest and working alone with Charlie.  Because of his father’s interference, and Charlie’s influence, he’s including Cillian into his plans.  If Seamus won’t get out of the way on his own Aiden might have to force him.

Aiden’s feelings for Charlie develop and grow strong.  She unexpectedly fits in his world – personally and professionally.  She appreciates his Family and compels him to reach out and make amends.  Charlie can also hold her own in dangerous situations as well as protect others.  For Charlie, coming to terms with the fact that this O’Malley mob family isn’t straight-up bad.  Much of what Aiden does is for his family and some of the criminal aspect is actually keeping the peace.  Charlie learns about Carrigan’s human trafficking philanthropy and how working on the other side of the law has it’s advantages.  Plus the balance of power, in Boston, is the best it’s been in years between the Sheridans, Hallorans and O’Malley.  Charlie can read the very-difficult-to-read Aiden, she likes him, respects him, and he makes her feel oddly safe.

“Undercover Attraction” is a stand alone book.  It helps if you read the other O’Malley novels preferably in order, but it isn’t necessary.  All the books are excellent so it’s win-win to them all.  “Undercover Attraction” is very much an O’Malley book; we get good helpings of all Aiden’s siblings and their significant others.  The only exception is Sloane and Jude who are mentioned but do not appear.  The O’Malley siblings are on fire upon meeting Charlie.  They think she’s a “gold-digging slut” and tell her to her face.  Several times apiece.  Charlie wins them over even though she doesn’t have to.  Carrigan’s turn around, from critic to ‘bestie’, is immediate, dramatic, and ultimately kind of funny.  Charlie’s incredibly likable, savvy, and funny.  “Undercover Attraction” has thrills, chills, romance, humor, steamy hot sexy-times, romance and passion.  Aiden was never my favorite O’Malley but he’s charming, endearing, and one hot Hero.

I’m giving “Undercover Attraction” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Storm Warning.

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

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