The exciting bestselling author who thrilled readers with The Marriage Bargain and The Marriage Trap, Jennifer Probst rounds out her sizzling trilogy with more “nonstop sexual tension” (Laura Kaye).
Carina Conte has had a crush on her brother Michael’s best friend, Max Gray, since she was a teenager. Now she’s earned her MBA and come to work at Michael’s new venture, America’s fastest-growing bakery empire. But some things never change: her family still treats her like a child. With three drop-dead gorgeous siblings, she’s still the ugly duckling of the bunch. And Max, the company’s new CEO, still barely notices her.
Max knows Carina Conte is strictly off limits. But hot-blooded lust wins out at a conference when the two share a scorching one-night stand—and are busted by her mother! Now, forced by old-world Italian tradition into a marriage he’s not ready for, Max is miserable—and Carina is furious. Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed....
About the Author
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a Master’s degree in English literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again. She is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain spent twenty-six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her work has been translated in over a dozen countries, sold over a million copies, and was dubbed a “romance phenom” by Kirkus Reviews. She makes her home in upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
Read an Excerpt
The Marriage Mistake
“I’ve hired a new associate. She’ll be under your direction, and you will be responsible for her training.”
Max cut his gaze to the man seated across the table. His nerve endings prickled at the announcement, but he remained silent. He stretched out his legs under the conference table, crossed his arms in front of his chest, and quirked a brow. He’d worked endless hours and sweat blood to get the family empire of La Dolce Maggie, the U.S. branch of Italian-based La Dolce Famiglia, off the ground, and damned if he’d step aside nicely. “Looking to replace me, boss?”
More like a brother than a boss, Michael Conte shot him a grin. “And deal with your mama coming after me to kick my ass? No such luck. You need help with the expansion.”
Max smirked. “Seems your mama is tougher than mine. Didn’t she instigate a shotgun wedding with your wife? Good thing you loved her, or you would’ve been screwed.”
“Funny, Gray. The wedding wasn’t the problem. It was your doubts about my wife that truly screwed us up.”
Max winced. “Sorry. Just trying to protect a friend from a money-hungry woman. Anyway, I love Maggie now. She’s strong enough to take your crap.”
“Yeah, now it’s like a mutual admiration club between you two.”
“Better than war. So, who’s the hotshot coming in?”
Max snapped his mouth shut. “Excuse me? Carina, your baby sister? You’ve got to be kidding me—isn’t she still in school?”
Michael poured himself some water from the cooler and took a sip. “She graduated last May with her MBA from SDA Bocconi, and she’s been training at Dolce di Notte.”
Michael smiled. “Hardly. They are not looking to conquer the world like us, my friend. But I can trust them to teach her basic skills in the bakery business. I wanted her to train with Julietta but she refuses to lag in her older sister’s shadow. She’s been begging me to come to America and her internship is up. It is time she now join the family company. Capisce?”
Ah, hell. Yeah, he understood. Max was being reassigned to babysitting duty for the youngest sister of the clan. Sure, he loved her like a sibling, but her tendency to burst into tears over emotional scenes did not go well with business. Max shuddered. What if he hurt her feelings and she crumbled? This was a bad idea all around.
“Um, Michael, maybe you should put her in accounting. You always said she’s capable with figures, and I don’t think management is a good fit. I’ve got a crazy schedule and I’m in delicate negotiations. Please give her to someone else.”
His friend shook his head. “Eventually, I will move her to CFO. But for now I want her with you. She needs to learn proper management and how La Dolce Maggie works. You’re the only one I trust to make sure she doesn’t get in trouble. You’re family.”
The simple words slammed the last nail into his vampire home. Family. Michael had always taken care of him, and he’d proven himself worthy. He’d also dreamed of a place carved out just for him. The peak of the food chain, so to speak. No one had ever questioned his job as CEO, but lately he wondered if missing the prized Conte blood in his veins hurt his position. Contracts were temporary, and his was renegotiated every three years. He craved a more permanent place in the empire he helped build, and the expansion of three more bakeries could be his crown jewels. If he did his job well, he’d secure himself at the top, right beside Michael—as a permanent partner instead of an appointed CEO. Worrying about a young girl fresh from business school would only distract him. Unless . . .
He tapped his finger against his lower lip. Perhaps Michael needed to be reminded of how critical his efforts were for the company. By throwing Carina certain challenges, he’d be sure to highlight her deficiencies and young age, all the while keeping her under his so-called protection. After the expansion, Max intended to approach Michael about partnership. Carina may be able to help his cause, especially if he mentored her and she depended on his feedback.
Yes, perhaps this was for the best.
“Okay, Michael, if this is what you want.”
“Good. She’ll be arriving in about an hour. Why don’t you come to dinner tonight? We’re having a small welcome celebration for her arrival.”
“Is Maggie cooking?”
Michael grinned. “Hell, no.”
“Then I’m in.”
“Smart man.” Michael crushed the paper cup, threw it in the trash, and closed the door behind him.
Max glanced at his watch. He had a ton of work to accomplish before she arrived.
• • •
Carina stared at the sleek wooden door with the shiny gold sign. She swallowed past the tightness in her throat and swiped her damp palms down her black skirt. This was ridiculous. She was grown up and well past the days of mooning over Max Gray.
After all, three years was a long time.
She smoothed back a strand of hair from her sleek topknot, straightened her shoulders, and knocked on the door.
The sound of his husky voice drifted past her memory and grabbed her in a choke hold. It was rich and creamy smooth, hinting at naughty sex and mischief that only a nun could ignore. Maybe.
She opened the door and strode in with fake confidence. Carina knew it didn’t matter. The business world only observed what lay upon the surface. The knowledge soothed her—she had gotten very good at hiding her emotions during her training. It was simply a matter of survival.
The man behind the sprawling teak desk gazed at her with a strange mixture of warmth and surprise, almost as if he wasn’t expecting the woman who stood before him. Those piercing blue eyes sharpened and roved over her figure before his face smoothed out to a polite welcome. Her heart teetered, dropped, and held steady. For one moment, she allowed herself to drink in his appearance.
His body was lean and trim, and his impressive height always added an intimidating demeanor that was an edge with most of his deals. His face reflected the image of a demon and angel caught in a love affair. Sharp cheekbones, an elegant nose, and a graceful curved brow held hints of aristocracy. The sexy goatee hugged his jaw, accented the plump curve to his lips, and bespoke pure sex. Thick, coal black hair fell in untamed waves across his forehead and set off the rocketing blue of his eyes. As he moved toward her, he walked with an easy grace a tall man usually didn’t pull off, and the enticing scent of his cologne teased her senses. The odd combination of wood, spice, and lemon made her want to bury her face in the curve of his neck and breathe in.
Of course, she didn’t. Not even when he held her briefly in a welcome hug. Her fingers rested over broad shoulders barely contained in his custom-made navy suit. She’d long ago faced her own personal kryptonite and learned core lessons. Acknowledge her weakness. Accept it. Move on. The simple rules in business applied to all areas of her life now.
She smiled up at him. “It’s been a long time.”
“Too long, cara.” Unease flashed in his eyes, then disappeared. “I heard you graduated at the top of your class. Well done.”
She gave a brief nod. “Thank you. And you? Michael says you’re working hard on expanding La Dolce Maggie.”
His jaw clenched. “Yes. It seems you will be assisting me in this aspect. Have you spoken with your brother yet?”
Carina frowned. “No, I came straight to headquarters so I could put in a few hours first. I figured he’d give me the tour. What division is he starting me with? Accounts payable, budgeting, or operations?”
He studied her face for a while, his gaze an actual caress as he probed every feature. She held tight and submitted to the inspection. She needed to get used to his presence since she’d be bumping into him at work. Thank God she’d be buried in accounting. Her core concentration and skills with figures were solid, and Max would rarely need to peek in on her progress.
A smile curved those sensual lips and briefly distracted her. “Me.”
“Your division. You’ll be working with me as my assistant. I’ll be training you.”
Horror flooded her. She took a step back as if he was the demon who requested she sign away her soul. “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” A crazy laugh escaped her lips. “I mean, I don’t want to get in the way. I’ll speak with Michael and convince him to start me somewhere else.”
“Do you not want to work with me?” He lifted his hands. “There’s nothing to worry about, Carina. I will take good care of you.”
An image of him slipping his fingers in her damp heat and stroking her to orgasm blazed before her vision. God knew he’d take care of a woman. In all ways. Color flooded her cheeks so she turned quickly as if studying his office. Ridiculous. She was losing her control within five minutes of their first meeting.
Her heels clicked on the wooden tile as she paced and feigned interest in the large photo of the waterfront opening. This was her ultimate test, and she refused to fail. Max was a silly crush from her youth, and she’d no longer live her life in an emotional prison. She’d come here for two main reasons: Prove her worth, and exorcise the ghost of Maximus Gray.
Failure so far on both accounts.
She cleared her throat and faced him once again. “I appreciate your willingness to train me,” she said pleasantly, “but I’d feel more comfortable elsewhere.”
His lip quirked. “Suit yourself. But I think your brother has a clear idea of what he wants. Why don’t I give you a brief tour while I ring him? I don’t think he expected you until later.”
“Fine.” She lifted her chin in challenge. “Perhaps it’s time to remind my brother he is no longer in charge of me.”
Carina made sure to lead the way out.
• • •
What the hell was going on?
Max trotted obediently after the cool, poised woman in front of him and tried to gather his wits. This was not the young girl he’d last seen in Italy, who was emotional, dramatic—self-conscious.
No, this Carina Conte had grown up. He used to get a kick out of her admiring gaze and shy habit of ducking her head when something embarrassed her. Carina was used to listening to the demands of others. She was a people pleaser, extra sensitive, and a lovely girl he’d always felt quite overprotective about. But the woman he’d met this time seemed completely in control and capable. The idea of her standing up to her older brother shocked him. He wondered at the quick stab of disappointment in the changes, then shrugged it off. Maybe she’d end up being more of an asset to the company than he’d originally thought.
Of course, her body had bloomed, too. Or had he just never noticed? Max ripped his gaze away from the full curve of her rear as she swung her hips in the ancient rhythm created to drive men mad. Shorter than her older sisters, she teetered on four-inch heels that showed off the muscled length of her legs. As he introduced her to various employees and they made their way around the ground floor, he noticed that she’d grown in other ways, also. Especially in her cleavage.
Heat rushed through him and squeezed. The delicate white blouse opened at the neck and revealed a touch of lace. Her full breasts strained against the material as if dying to escape, turning her respectable business suit into a vehicle for a stripper. Horrified at the sudden veer of his thoughts, he quickly imagined nuns in underwear and got himself back in control.
Carina was off-limits. He was her guardian and second protector. Max shook his head and studied her face in an almost academic light. She’d always been a pretty girl, but usually slapped on so much makeup he couldn’t really see her features. Today, scarlet red lips were her only accessory. The olive tint to her skin gleamed under the light and tempted a man to touch. Those untamed curls had disappeared into a severe topknot that set off heavy brows and high cheekbones. Her nose was all Italian, and dominated her face, but the power of those stormy dark eyes held a person captive and refused to let go. She’d never be rail thin, and he wondered why most women wanted to be. The lush curves that strained against her straight-edged suit was all temptress.
Did she have a lover?
Crap, where did that thought come from? He rubbed his eyes and half groaned with relief at the sight of Michael down the hallway.
Her brother threw his arms out in the ancient family tradition, but Carina didn’t rush into his embrace. Instead, she smiled, walked slowly down the hall, and hugged him back. The strength of their bond shimmered around them, and once again Max experienced a pang of loneliness. He always craved a sibling to share his life with. At least, Michael and his sisters were his adopted family. But after Max’s father took off, only one goal remained and kept him on the path to revenge: success.
So don’t screw it up.
He nodded to the inner voice and refocused. Michael flung his arm around Carina’s shoulder and walked over. “I’m so happy you are finally here, mia bella. I told my driver to take you directly to the house, though. Maggie has been waiting for you.”
Carina tilted her head up and grinned. “And how is my sister-in-law doing?”
“Do you blame her?” She laughed. “I told your driver there was a change in plans. I figured I’d grab a tour, set up my desk, and head to your house. Max gave me a brief overview of the layout.”
Michael clapped him on the back and turned to Carina. “You’re in good hands. Why don’t you take the office next to his? It’s been empty for a while, and I can get the boxes cleared out today. We’ll hold a strategy meeting tomorrow on some new developments.”
An uncomfortable silence settled around them. Michael looked confused at the sight of his sister’s stony expression. “Yes, it seems we need to lay out some ground rules first. Can we meet in your office?”
Max nodded. “I’ll leave you two and catch up tonight.”
“No, Max. I’d like you to join us,” Carina said.
Her direct gaze caused an odd sensation to prickle his skin, but he ignored it. He assented and they convened in Michael’s office. The chairs were deep and comfortable, made for long hours of conferences. He fought a chuckle when her petite frame got swallowed by the plush velvet, and she inched her rear to the edge of the seat. She tossed him a disgusted glance that told him his amusement had been caught, and primly closed her legs, heels placed firmly on the floor. Those well-defined calves were made for gripping a man’s hips as he thrust inside her.
Jesus, get a grip. He was an old man at thirty-four. Sure, the hot librarian look was a shock, but Carina was still like family and years younger. Sheltered. Innocent. She’d probably die of embarrassment if she suspected her appearance rocked his world . . . and parts of his anatomy.
He quickly dispersed the image.
“Michael, I have some concerns about my place here. Maybe you can let me know what you see as my role, and we can make the necessary adjustments.”
Her brother drew back. Seems like he wasn’t the only one surprised by the rational Carina Conte. “You should not worry about this, cara. Eventually, you will take the position of CFO, but for now you will assist Max in all aspects of running La Dolce Maggie. I need you to learn all levels of the operation first. Of course, you will live with Maggie and me. I’ve set up a private suite, and you may decorate it any way you’d like. When you have concerns, come to me and we will work them out.” Michael practically beamed with pride at his generous offer.
Somehow, Max suspected trouble brewing. Big trouble. He waited for the feminine temper explosion.
Carina nodded. “I see. Well, that is quite generous of you and I appreciate the offer. Unfortunately, I did not come to New York to live in my brother’s house and shadow his CEO. I have my own plans. I’m moving into Alexa’s old loft apartment this weekend. As for La Dolce Maggie, I think I’ll serve the company better in accounting and operations since that will be my permanent position. Max does not need someone distracting him from his role here.”
Max quickly snapped his mouth closed and prayed no one noticed. Where were the fireworks and family drama? Carina was a passionate, emotional young woman who never held her tongue and followed every feeling she ever had. That was why she got into so much trouble. He remembered the time she jumped out of the car to follow a stray dog into the woods and got lost. Dio, what a fiasco. They thought she’d been kidnapped, and had found her hours later with a filthy ball of fur in her arms in a makeshift shelter she’d constructed out of twigs and leaves. Not even a tear in sight, she’d announced her confidence in being found and walked out with that dog while her brother screamed and Max nearly passed out with relief.
Michael stared at her. “Absolutely not. You are my sister and will stay with us. New York is a scary place. As for the company, I do not need another person in the accounting department at the moment. You will learn more from Max.”
“No.” She smiled pleasantly, but her word shot through the room like a balloon pop.
“You are not listening to me, Michael. If we can’t communicate in an adult manner, it’s not going to work out. I’ve already received two job offers from businesses in Manhattan, and I haven’t given them my final decision. I want to prove my worth here, but if you continue to treat me like a little sister, I won’t be able to do my job properly. This would not be fair to anyone. Now, if you have a valid reason other than wanting Max to keep an eye on me and out of trouble, I’d like to hear it. If not, I will happily move onward with no hurt feelings. Capisce?”
Max prepped for the Italian temper of his friend and boss. There was one thing Michael pursued with the vigor of medieval warfare—the protection of his baby sister. His word meant law in the Conte household, passed from generations of old-school traditions. The idea of Carina suddenly challenging his decisions the moment she landed on his turf fascinated the hell out of him.
And then the world tilted on its axis.
Michael gave a brief nod. A hint of a smile touched his lips. “Very well, cara. I want you to stay in my home because Maggie will enjoy your company. We can show you around until you become more comfortable in your surroundings. As for the company, I know your skills excel with figures but I need you to get training in all aspects of the business, most especially management. Max is the only one I trust to properly hone your skills.”
Max looked around for the cameras but found none. Carina looked pleased. “Very well, I agree that Max will be the best person. I’ve missed Maggie, too, so I’ll stay for the whole week. But then I really need to move—living with my older brother is not what I expected when I came out here. It’s time I get my own place, and Alexa’s loft sounds perfect. Agreed?”
He didn’t look happy about losing the last half of the agreement, and Max waited for more negotiations.
The siblings grinned at each other. Who were these people?
“Now, let me visit the restroom, then would you take me home? I’m exhausted and need to change.”
“Of course. We are having a small dinner party to celebrate your arrival, but you’ll have a chance to nap.”
“Wonderful.” She gracefully rose from the chair and stopped in front of him. “Thank you for the tour, Max. I will see you tonight.”
He nodded, still dumbstruck at the civil meeting he’d just witnessed. She left the room and he stared at his boss. “What the hell was that about? Why aren’t you laying down the law like you always do? And what happened to her? She hasn’t cried or gotten upset once since she’s arrived.”
Michael waved his hand in the air and shrugged on his suit jacket. “Maggie convinced me she needs to be respected as an individual in order to make her own decisions. Do I hate it? Si. But she’s grown up now, and needs to find her own way.” His eyes shadowed. “I am her brother, not her papa. But I appreciate you keeping an eye on her, mio amico. I trust you to keep her safe and help her learn what she needs in order to run this company.”
Unease slithered down his spine. “Run the company?”
Michael laughed. “Of course. She is a Conte and will one day take the full reins of La Dolce Maggie. That is what we are training her for.”
Max stared up at his friend, and coldness seeped into his chest. Would he ever truly feel like family and good enough to own a portion of the business? Was he being selfish or ungrateful? They’d built La Dolce Maggie together, but in his gut, Max knew he was replaceable. Carina may be appointed CFO, but would also own a portion of the company. He never demanded permanence from Michael, afraid their friendship would cloud a decision that should be strictly business. Why did he always feel the need to fight harder to truly belong? Sure, his asshole father took off, but the constant struggle of worthiness was getting weary.
“I shall see you at seven tonight. Thanks, Max.”
The door shut behind him.
Max was left in the room with silence. With memories. And with a sick feeling in his gut that never seemed to go away.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
ABOUT THE BOOK: Carina Conte has had a crush on her brother Michael’s best friend, Max Gray, since she was a teenager. Now she’s earned her MBA and come to work at Michael’s new venture, America’s fastest-growing bakery empire. But some things never change: her family still treats her like a child. With three drop-dead gorgeous siblings, she’s still the ugly duckling of the bunch. And Max, the company’s new CEO, still barely notices her. Max knows Carina Conte is strictly off limits. But hot-blooded lust wins out at a conference when the two share a scorching one-night stand—and are busted by her mother! Now, forced by old-world Italian tradition into a marriage he’s not ready for, Max is miserable—and Carina is furious. Her new husband is about to realize that hell hath no fury like a woman transformed… REVIEW: I haven’t read the second of this series, but I read the first and LOVED it. The third installment is no different. Ms. Probst knows her characters, and knows angst and how to combine it with romance to bring it all together in a pretty little package. I simply could not put down this book and was engaged for my entire Sunday in order to finish it. The laundry went undone, the kids had left over pizza, and my house is currently a mess, but it was so worth it as I lost myself in this beautifully crafted novel. The character development and revisits by previous characters was spot on and built so well. It almost seems as if Ms. Probst does all this so effortlessly as it flows as smooth as silk. You never see the wavering of characters and each of them grow in the story as well as in your head like a long lost friend. If you’re looking for a piece to lose yourself in and find that you need a great love story that will leave you shocked to your core, then The Marriage Mistake is the read for you. Five out of five stars for a job well done!
The Marriage Mistake is the third installment of Marriage to a Billionaire by Jennifer Probst. I must say that this book is the best of the three. Ms. Probst mastered the art of sexual tension, smexy scenes and managed to add a heart-warming element to the story, not to mention the swoon worthy hero. Max and Carina are two people who are career minded. Max already established in the business world with Michael Conte, Carina’s older Brother. Carina on the other hand, had just finished her MBA and had come to America to learn the family business. Because Max saw her as his BFF’s little sis, he felt like he was babysitting and was a bit resentful of this assignment. However, what he did not expect was that Carina has grown up to be a beautiful, sexy, very independent woman and has been in-love with him for years. And that, shocked the heck out of him. I was intrigued with Max and Carina being 20th century career focused but with a very heavy cultural background. In the melting pot of New York City, this is realistic and very believable. How many of us battle between making your career a priority, love life or family life. Max and Carina managed to get both. Not only that their story was heartfelt, but had funny banters, family love, extremely high sexual tension and very sexy love scenes. The secondary characters were just as great. Nick/Alexa and Michael/Maggie made their cameo. Momma Conte was there again and she was a major factor to this love story. You know what they say, mother knows best. And the “Book of Spell” that has made its way from Alexa to Maggie and Alexa, made its cameo. Looks like IT will make its way to the next heroine for Ms. Probst series. *crossing fingers* Overall, if you enjoy a light read full of romance, heavy with sexual tension and ends with a Happy-Ever-After, this book is for you. Correction, this series is for you!!! *ARC provided by publisher
This book was amazing. The series is amazing! I have read all three of these books, each in less than 24 hours. Once I started reading, I couldn't put them down. These books are full of romance, sexual tension, suspense, and true love. If you're looking for a beautiful love story with a little bit of thrill to it, start with The Marriage Bargain and then read The Marriage Trap and The Marriage Mistake. You will fall in love!
I liked this book a lot and the character development and the continuing story from the other books in this series was great. The main characters were well written and there were still glimpses of characters from her past books in this series. Would recommend it.
7.99 for 220 pages.....not worth it.
Didn't want this one to end! Loved the characters!
If I could give this zero stars, I would. Max is an ass. Corina is too dramatic and childish. This is in no way sexy. Disappointed.
JB is so much better than this book. The story felt rushed and not quite finished. The whole theme with Carina was sex and the constant banter with Max about sex when it could have been a beautiful love story. I skipped through pages because it got boring and predictable. The Marriage Bargain was spot on and a great story, this one fell way short.
This story was amazing! I laugh a few times on some of the scenes and challenges from Carina. SEX is HOT between Carina and Max. You will love it!
You buy a book and only get 29 pages. :(
Carina comes to New York to work in her family's company. Max is her brothers best friend and she has had a crush on him for forever. Max is expecting a emotional, drama queen but finds a sexy, woman who is looking some wild sex.. When they are in Vegas, they have sex and Carina's Momma finds them. She is a traditional Italian woman and tells them they must get married to keep embarrassing the family. They get married and Max realizes he is in love with Carina but she doesn't believe him. Funny, very hot story with paint brushes and chocolate.
I love the "I'm in love with my older brother's best friend" stories. Of course I didn't have an older brother, but I did have crushes on just about every single older brother of my friends growing up. Lol. Anyhow, there was no way I wasn't going to read this book. Besides the older brother's best friend, it had one more thing going for it; It was written by Jennifer Probst. I loved the book. The story is fast paced. I was sweating from the heat Carina and Max gave off. I understood Max's hesitation in pursuing Carina but still wanted to shake him silly. His issues were totally unwarranted, which of course he learned on his own with time. I really enjoyed seeing Carina come into her own in this book. Granted she's older and more mature than the child we saw her as in the previous two books, but I admired her this time around. I like that how she made Max work for her. One of my favorite characters in this series is Mama Conte. She's a total hoot and that hasn't changed at all. Even though I can find her meddling infuriating just as her children do, her heart is in the right place and thankfully she's always right. This series has since ended although many of my favorite characters have cameos in her current series. Jennifer Probst has written another great book full of love, laughter, and happiness.
Do you like.
Reviewed by Sarah L. Book provided by NetGalley for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book The Marriage Mistake is book three of the Marriage to a Billionaire series by Jennifer Probst. Even though it is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone. In fact, this is the only book in the series I have read and while there are some allusions to past books this in no way detracted from the story nor made me feel lost in any way. Initially, I found Carina’s character to be a very strong, determined, independent young woman but beneath the surface we learned that she really was a troubled individual with feelings of inadequacy. She started off as a force to be reckoned with and seemed to have a great can do attitude but we soon learned that she was actually very insecure and unhappy with the direction of her life. I did not fully understand the reasoning behind several of her choices later on in the story, especially those involving Max, but it was admirable the way she did what she needed to do to grow into the strong, independent woman we initially thought she was. Max had baggage of his own as well. Having been deserted by his father at a very young age he was terrified to let anyone close. Having thought of Carina as a younger sister most of his life, he was confused and fought desperately the feelings she brought out in him. The author does a great job of visualizing the struggle that Max faced while he wrestled and came to terms with his feelings. In some aspects, it seemed the plot moved a bit too fast and we missed some key elements of how the characters were feeling and what led them in the direction they chose to take. After marrying Max we abruptly learned Carina quit her job and decided to focus on her passion. This was a great move on her part but I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that there was not much leading up to this. Where was the interaction with her husband? Overall, this was a light enjoyable read that I finished in no time at all. This was my first Jennifer Probst novel and it will not be last. If you are looking for a quick, steamy read that has a little bit of depth to the characters then I recommend giving this one a try.