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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Sweetest Deal by Mary Campisi

The Sweetest Deal by Mary Campisi
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (134 pgs)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Violet

An impossible demand...

Max Jernigan is ready to close the most important business deal of his life—all he has to do is agree to one request from Grayson Crowell: impregnate the mogul's daughter.

No way can Max do this. He's a decent guy. But he would love a child. He just doesn't want a wife.

An impossible man...

C.C. Crowell gave up on dreams of a family after Mr. Worse-Than-Wrong broke her heart. Hiding behind spreadsheets, boring suits and an icy attitude, she's more than a little suspicious when arrogant, handsome Max is suddenly chasing her. But she can't deny their chemistry. Until she learns about the deal and plans to pay Max back in kind....

First test in a prospective mate: Voluntarily eat three huge Triple Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies.

Max Jernigan passes C.C. Cowell’s first test, but fails her second. He works in real estate so she stands him up. In the meantime Max, desperate to land the backing of C.C.’s father Grayson, agrees to Grayson’s final contract term: get his daughter Catherine pregnant. Needless to say, Max is shocked to find out C.C. is Catherine.

C.C. and Max connect from the moment they meet. They have a real chemistry. Sadly C.C. has been burned in a past relationship so she’s slow to trust. Max slowly breaks down C.C.’s walls, and in doing so falls in love with her. At the twist when Max decides he wants more than a fling and when C.C. finds out about Max and her father’s deal she strikes back. So this leaves the supporting characters, C.C.’s best friend, Roxie and Max’s analytical business partner, Rhyder as unlikely matchmakers.

C.C. is a very complex character. She’s smart, serious, a little zany, and afraid to trust. She’s erected barriers all around her to prevent anyone getting too close to her. Her cookie test is her first barrier. Even her friend Roxie thinks the cookie test is ridiculous. As Max tells her, “You’re like two different people. There’s C.C. who’s all soft and sexy and somebody I wanted to get to know better and then there’s Catherine, who I would be happy not to run into again for another thirty years.” Sometimes the two sides of Catherine didn’t gel for me. And I didn’t understand what she did at the twist. It just didn’t seem like who she was.

Max is a strong character who has a tragedy in his past. He’s working toward his dream and is handed a horrible ultimatum. Although he pursues C.C., it becomes obvious it’s not part of the deal. I was charmed by how he tried to protect C.C. and I truly believed he loved her.

Beyond the hero and heroine, Ms. Campisi created a very rich supporting cast. There’s C.C.’s best friend Roxie who is intriguingly wonderful. I really do hope for a sequel about her and whoever she winds up with. There’s Max’s business partner Rhyder who is analytical to the extreme. I had to grin when he sent spreadsheets to Max on how to accomplish the ultimatum. Then there’s C.C.’s father. I think Ms. Campisi was going for a loving and meddling Dad, but some lines shouldn’t be crossed. I was rather shocked at how easily C.C. forgave her father, but made Max suffer. It just didn’t add up.

The romance between C.C. and Max is beautiful and palpable. Their love scenes are tender and hot, but do cut away before consummation. The ultimatum sometimes felt like a barrier to their romance. I think it was too strong. I think if C.C.’s father maybe offered a different ultimatum involving his daughter it could have worked better. Maybe get my daughter to fall in love again, and even say it could be with a different guy. It could have been fun to watch Max fight fixing her up verses falling in love with her.

If you’re looking for a charming romance with rich supporting characters, The Sweetest Deal is for you.