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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Review: The Bastard's Bargain by Katee Robert

I’m really going to miss this series. Katee Robert did such a fantastic job with all the characters, and I had a bad book hangover with this one.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: February 6, 2018

When Keira O'Malley was a child, she used to picture her perfect wedding. The flowers. The dress. Her husband. But nothing could have prepared her for saying "I do" to Dmitri Romanov-cold, domineering, and always one step ahead of everyone else in the ever-shifting power plays of New York City. She agreed to his bargain to secure peace for her family, and she may want the bastard more than she'd ever admit, but she'll be damned if she'll make this marriage easy for him.

Dmitri knows better than to underestimate Keira for one second. Molten desire smolders between them, a dangerous addiction neither can resist. But his enemies are already on the move, and he needs every ounce of his legendary focus and control to keep them alive. Keira could just be his secret weapon-if she doesn't bring him to his knees first.

What’s it About? As the youngest O’Malley child, Keira had dreams that her life would be drastically different than the future laid out for her as a member of one of the most powerful crime families. But as an adult she has to face reality and that reality is Dmitri Romanov, head of the Romanov family in New York City. She agreed to marry him in order to secure peace between him and her family. Mutual desire notwithstanding, Dmitri knows better than to give in to Keira much less underestimate her. He’s in the middle of a war with his enemies and can’t afford to let his wife distract him. He knows Keira could be a powerful ally or a dangerous enemy, the problem is figuring out which without losing himself completely to her.

Overall reaction to the story? I honestly don't know what I'm going to do with myself now that this series is at an end. I can't think of a better, more complex couple than Dmitri and Keira to end the series with. These two had their work cut out for them because "enemies" doesn't even begin to cover what they are to each other. I couldn't get enough of this sexy couple, nor could I get enough of Katee Robert's way of putting together an amazing story within several complex and dangerous crime families. Robert makes you cheer for these characters that should technically be considered monsters, yet have somehow been humanized on the most basic levels, making them relatable and dare I say likable?

Yes, I dare say likable. Because I liked Keira and Dmitri.

Describe the hero in five words: Ruthless. Calculating. Generous. Intelligent. Charismatic
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Keira’s nickname for him is The Gentleman Murderer and it suits him. Dmitri is one ruthless S.O.B but he isn’t without limits and I found those limits surprising given how he’s been playing his hand when it comes to maintaining control over his territory. He has a strategic way of thinking and is almost always in control of his emotions. So imagine how incredibly revealing, not to mention refreshing it was to see him kind of lose it whenever it comes to Keira. The mask of mob boss slips and he becomes shockingly human. He was just a man falling in love with his wife and he didn’t know what to do about it at first. There’s a devastating charm about Dmitri that to me and I’m sure many other readers, is irresistible. I mean, this guy WILL kill his enemies without a backwards glance. He’ll steal, manipulate, blackmail, and threaten to get his way and I won’t say that he isn’t a criminal but he has a raw sexuality that is all but impossible to ignore.

Describe the heroine in five words: Dangerous. Wounded. Talented. Intelligent. Fierce.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Keira is hands down the most complicated of the O’Malley family. Losing the brother that saw her for who she wanted to be crushed her and she lost herself in drugs, alcohol and sex but it never diminished that strength that made her a force to be reckoned with. I never doubted that she’d be able to handle herself with Dmitri or that she would eventually bring him to his knees, that’s just who Keira is. She’s a conqueror, a survivor, and if need be, a stone cold leader. She’s so young, the youngest of the O’Malleys and yet she stepped into her role as a boss like a natural. She could have let Dmitri have all the control and let him protect her like a wounded bird for the rest of her life but nope, she wasn’t having it and demanded to be a full and equal partner to him. Dmitri had it right when he called her a queen, this girl brought her A-Game to play for keeps.

Let’s talk about the romance: The Bastard’s Bargain reaches new heights in chemistry and passion between Dmitri and Keira. In other words, grab your fans and ice water folks and if you’ve got a lover then grab them too because these two burn up the pages even as they work their way towards trusting each other! I’m not joking, this has got to be the hottest book in the whole series (Sorry Carrigan and James!). But as much as I could go on and on about how sexy these two were, I have to really point out their journey from a dangerous marriage of convenience to lovers, to partners in love with each other. Their romance was a stark contrast to their lives outside of the bedroom (Or stairs as one scene indicates… *fans self*), the author created a fragile thread of trust when it came to sex between Dmitri and Keira. When they were wrapped up in each other in the most basic way possible, they were themselves, raw, vulnerable, affectionate, and even hopeful in their future together. Those scenes gave them a chance to really see one another in a different light and slowly learn to extend that trust and affection to outside of the bedroom. I felt a real unity between them by the end and yeah, they are one of those couples that are stronger together than apart.

How about that supporting cast? All the O’Malleys except Sloan are back and while there will probably never be a kumbaya moment between them, there was a sense of understanding and grudging respect between all the siblings. It was a bittersweet moment for me when they were all in the same room. They’ve been through so much and have all managed to carve out a small piece of happiness for themselves but it cost them the little bit of a relationship they had to begin with. However, there was a sliver of hope that maybe these siblings would try and work out their differences. I’d love to have an update in the future with this family that has somehow wiggled their way into my heart and my favorite series list.

Click It or Skip It? Click It! Katee Robert pulls out all the stops with The Bastard’s Bargain and finally brings the big bad Russian to his knees in the most delicious way possible.

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