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The Marriage Trap (Marriage to a Billionaire) Mass Market Paperback – October 2, 2012
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
I’M MOVING OUT.”
Slade watched his sister drag her oversized floral pieces of luggage down the hallway and drop them at the front door. A strange panic roared through his system, but he stood frozen in the foyer, watching the scene unfold. Hell, no. She wasn’t ready to go anywhere on her own yet, but somehow he needed to convince her without looking like a crazed control-freak brother. He kept his voice gentle and firm.
“Jane, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I know you want a place of your own, but I don’t think you’re ready. Besides, I’ll get lonely by myself. Give it some time, and I’ll help you find an apartment.”
Jane turned fast, hands on hips, that furious female scowl he knew well. Bottom line, he’d screwed up his words again. “First off, give me a little credit. I’m ready. I appreciate you letting me live here, but I should’ve moved out a year ago. And the only reason you’re lonely is your refusal to stay with a woman past one night.”
Slade winced. Unfair. He was always discreet when it came to women, not needing his sister to try to bond with any of them, since long-term commitment was doomed from the start. The statistics alone of marriage breakups caused a shudder.
She marched into the open living room and headed toward the bookcase to grab a few off the shelves. Crap, was that The Chew’s new cookbook? He hadn’t even looked at the pictures yet. “Be reasonable, Jane. You have nowhere to go, and I don’t want you staying at a crappy studio in Manhattan. It’ll cost a million dollars and won’t be safe. Are you still upset over your breakup? We can go slash his tires, get drunk, and watch chick flick movies. That’s what women do, right?”
Jane tipped her head back and laughed. “God, Slade, if I didn’t love you so much I’d murder you. I have a place already. I rented an apartment in Verily on the river. I quit my job and lined up a new one at the local community college there.”
The room spun. He stared at his normally shy, logical, steady sister and wondered what she’d drunk to turn into Mr. Hyde. “Quit your job? You were working on tenure!”
“And I hated it there. Stuffy, pompous, and boring. I hate Manhattan, too. It’s crowded and hurts my head most of the time.” Jane dragged in a breath and walked over, stuffing the books into her tote bag. Her long jet-black hair sprung into a whirlwind of curls, and her cocoa-brown eyes peered at him sadly from behind thick black glasses. “I can’t do this anymore,” she said. “I need a fresh start on my own terms. Verily is small and quaint, and the college focuses on using creativity in literature. I can grow there. Maybe meet a man who won’t wring me dry and dump me.” Her laugh was totally wry, and Slade’s heart squeezed in sheer fear.
He couldn’t let her go. If something happened, it would be his fault. Again. At least if she were under his roof, he could easily gauge if she was down-spiraling. Slade swung into lawyer mode. Being one of the top divorce lawyers in the state had to be good for something other than money. “I understand you want to be on your own. I agree it’s time, but quitting your job and running off to a town you don’t know is dangerous. I’ll go with you to Verily this weekend. I’ll help you look, maybe meet some people there so you’re not alone, and we’ll figure it out together.”
Her voice rose to a dangerous level. “I don’t want to figure it out together! I want to figure things out myself. Oh, for God’s sake, look at this place.” She flung out her arm and gestured to his expensive loft apartment situated in the coveted location of Tribeca. The huge open space was split into two levels with a sleek glass staircase connecting them together. Windows lined the walls and overlooked the city of Manhattan. Pricey art, bamboo floors, edgy glass tables, granite counters, and huge leather recliners completed the look of bachelor in the city.
“What’s wrong with it? We have plenty of room here.”
“This is your place! I haven’t had anything for myself in the past three years. I’m twenty-eight years old. It’s time I do things on my terms without anyone worrying if I’m going to emotionally lose it when something goes wrong.”
He winced. Jane was extremely sensitive and had always struggled in such a brutal society. He watched a long line of men crush her like a gentle flower under their heels until there was nothing left but a few stray petals. He’d sworn never to let anyone hurt her again. He had to make her stay.
“Sweetheart, I know you’re much stronger now. Don’t ever think I’m waiting for you to implode. I just think it would be better to wait.”
“I don’t.” Jane opened the closet door, grabbed her black wool coat, and stuffed her arms into the sleeves. “When I get settled, you can bring the rest of my stuff and visit. I think you’ll like it in Verily. And I won’t be lonely for long. I’ve decided to sign up with a matchmaking agency.”
Yep. She’d definitely slugged the Mr. Hyde punch. “Are you kidding me? Do you know how many of those get closed down for fraud? There’s no such thing as the perfect match, and you know it. What is going on with you?”
She stuck her chin out. “I’m tired of being afraid and meeting the wrong men. Kinnections is a well-respected company. I like the women I met there, and I trust them. So don’t worry about me holing up in my apartment and getting depressed. I’m going out there and meeting people. I’m different this time.”
“This place is going to take your money and give you false expectations. What if it doesn’t work out and you crash? I’m not going to stand around helplessly while you’re destroyed again by some ruthless people out for your money.”
She let out an outraged squeal. “Are you listening to yourself? God, stop protecting me. I’m a different person than I was three years ago and you’re stifling me! Mom and Dad wouldn’t want me to live tucked away in your man cave while I watch life happen to other people.”
“Mom and Dad never found you on a bathroom floor overdosed on pills. Mom and Dad didn’t hold you in their arms, praying you wouldn’t die!”
The silence shattered around them. Slade closed his eyes briefly, grief cutting out pieces of him. The words entwined with a blame and a plea that twisted his stomach. The memory of finding her suicide attempt changed him. He wanted her safe. Couldn’t she understand?
His voice broke. “I’m so sorry, Jane. I didn’t mean to bring that up.”
Hurt carved out the lines of her face, and her lower lip trembled. “Yes. You did. I’m sorry I put you through that. But I’m not the same person anymore. I deserve happiness and I’m going to take it. Yes, I may get hurt along the way, but I can handle it now, Slade. I’m stronger.” She tossed her tote over her shoulder and grabbed the handle of her suitcase. “I don’t blame you for not trusting me. But I’m going to prove myself. You’re not responsible for me any longer.”
“For God’s sake, let me help you. I’ll buy you dinner and we’ll talk more about this.”
She threw open the door. “No. The doorman is meeting me downstairs.”
“But I need a number, an address, something.”
“I’ll call when I get settled. Love you.”
She left. This time, he didn’t stop her. Part of him recognized it was important she carve her own way. The other half decided he’d rip apart anything that tried to hurt her. Or anyone.
With a low curse, he stalked to his computer and typed in the words.
Kinnections. Matchmaking. Verily.
He stared at the screen for a while and made his decision.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
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.
At a party, Michael overhears 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.Read more ›
I won't reiterate the plot; I think the synopsis does a fine job of that.
I loved the characters in this book, Michael is the kind of guy dreams are made of; Handsome, loyal, family oriented, compassionate a guy with a big heart. Maggie is my kinda girl; strong, independent, feisty and sassy to the end.
Together Michael and Maggie were dynamite; their chemistry was scorching HOT!
I loved the Conte family dynamics in this book, the strong family ties worked well in moving along the plot.
Jennifer has outdone herself with The Marriage Trap; this book is fun, witty, sexy and an emotionally satisfying read; everything I was expecting it to be and more
I'm a huge fan of the Marriage to a Billionaire series and can't wait to read Carina and Max's story in The Marriage Mistake next, November can't come fast enough for me. Highly Recommended!
My Fav. Quote from the book:
"She was exactly what she wanted without apology. He'd never be a prince and didn't want the job. Especially against a woman who'd probably steal his horse and rescue herself. Still, for a while, he needed her."
Reviewd by: HarlequinJunkie.com
The only thought in my head after I had finished this novel was
Seriously, When does the next book come out?
There's a great sneak peak of book #3 at the end of this novel and I'd love to get my hands on it!
This book was predictable but what makes this book work is the chemistry between the main characters and the fact that you can connect and form a bond with the main characters! The author managed to keep me hooked ! What more can you want from a romance novel?
Michael is such a great character .I really like Michael.I love the fact that he gives so much importance to his family.I think family is ignored in a lot of novels and I love reading novels in which the family is central to the main plot..
Maggie was a strong female that could have easily gotten on my nerves but she didn't.I really enjoyed the scenes in which she stood up to Michael and I loved it when she shocked everyone by saying or doing something outrageous .Maggie was a character that I really enjoyed reading about.
The plot is predictable and this novel follows the same pattern as the previous book in the series.Even though this book didn't really surprise or shock me I enjoyed reading this novel and had a great time while reading it.It started dragging a little towards the end but aside from that I have no complaints.If I wanted to I'm pretty sure I could find quite a few things to complain about but I don't want to because I had fun while reading this book and I want to read the sequel too!
Great sexy characters with sizzling chemistry,filled with funny and awkward situations.This book had me begging for more!
.Read more ›
This is my 1st Probst book & I sped through it. The characters jumped off the page. Hero & heroine were alike in that they're both self-assured, driven, & into casual & very temporary affairs. We seem them fighting their sexual attraction due to what they believe to be their differences. Hero was looking for a traditional home-&-hearth woman and heroine seemed the opposite of that with her career-driven & independent ways. He was raised in a close family environment & revolved his life in caring for his family. She had neglectful parents & had no other family ties aside from her brother. We see as the book unfolds that their seeming differences almost disappear as they begin to reveal their innermost selves to each other. I really liked how Probst lets us see past their outside defenses & into their hearts.
Sexual chemistry was obvious & led to some hot sex scenes. Interestingly, as open & indulgent Hero & heroine were about their sexuality, the sex scenes were written in such sweet & emotionally-driven way that we feel their emotions for each other as if it was their 1st time truly opening themselves to another sexually.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This books yells of two people, Maggie and Michael, who are united on a technical loophole but will forever impact their passionate love lives.Published 13 days ago by Meagan Chaney
Loved this book. Easy to read and hard to put down once you start it. Great for a quick weekend read!Published 1 month ago by Angela C.
I've read all the books in this series but this one is my favorite. Great love story. Love Jennifer Probst.Published 3 months ago by Tazzy
Family values and traditions are in conflict with a younger sibling wanting to marry before the first born male makes it to the alter. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Bill. Maybach
As love stories go, this is one of the best. You cannot help but cheer for their love to be recognized. Two very different people come together with their flaws. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jane Erickson
Just OK for me. I will continue the series because I do want to see how the Conte girls manage their men!Published 6 months ago by Kaybrenry
I absolutely loved the first book in the series. However this one did not live up to my expectations. Some of the dialog seem forced to include a bit of the Italian cliches. Read morePublished 7 months ago by CloudTypeR