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Book CoverLimecello’s review of The C.O.O. Must Marry by Maxine Sullivan
Contemporary Romance released by Silhouette Desire 10 Feb 09

I really enjoy Maxine Sullivan’s stories- and she’s one of the “Down Under” Desire authors I keep an eye out for. The C.O.O. Must Marry is another Valente book, and there’s so much to gush about here. The old “friends to lovers” with a history, the family pressure, money problems, intrigue, it’s so complicated, robust, engaging, and entertaining.

Sasha Blake is a likable heroine, and I sympathized with her, and did like her- but in a way she’s weak. However, its understandable. Sasha basically has a handicapp forced on her because of her family. She’s always had feelings for Nick, but realized those would go nowhere, and moves on. Life and her family have thrown her back into Nick’s circle, and she’s doing her best to cope, and make everyone happy- even at a detriment to herself. I did like that Sasha isn’t someone to put herself first – and I felt badly for her.

Nick Valente start out rather well rounded, because he’s the brother that wants the family home. The fact that it means something to him I think shows that he’s rather traditional, and is not only happy with, but wants continuity and stability. It also gives him the reason to marry Sasha. He speaks in anger sometimes, but grovels nicely.

The fact that both the Blake and Valente families are manipulative I think really play off each other nicely. In a way, the Blake and Valentes are foils. Yes, both pressure their children to do things best for the family, but the Valentes know in the long run it’ll be the best move for their children too. The Blakes, however, are purely selfish.

You have to feel bad for Sasha always being put second, or third, and realize how that has shaped her as a person. she does well enough on her own, and does have a back bone – she and Nick and merely learning each other, because despite the fact that they knew each other when they were younger, they wre more acquaintances than anything.

I think the tenuous history helps establish the connection, and then the warmth and vulnerability of Sasha really brings it all together. She finally comes into her own, and Nick realizes how great she really is – and apologizes for being an idiot. It all works out nicely, believably, and I was satisfied.

I can’t wait to read Ms. Sullivan’s next books. I really liked the Valentes.

Limecellos IconGrade: B+

What would compel millionaire playboy Nick Valente to marry a woman he hadn’t seen in years? Blackmail, of course. To keep his family home, Nick must marry the woman of his father’s choosing: Sasha Blake, a long-ago flame. Sasha had been barely out of her teens, but there had been nothing immature about her then–or his desire for her. Now she would be his wife, and Nick would be free to make love to her as often and any way he liked. But there was one nagging question in his mind….

He knew his reasons for agreeing to this marriage…what were hers?