Once a Ferrara Wife...
by Sarah Morgan

Published by Harlequin Genres: Contemporary
Source: Publisher

Reviewed by Vanessa

For better…or for bedding?Laurel Ferrara wouldn't know a happy ending if she fell over it—of course her whirlwind wedding was always going to end in disaster. But it wasn't as simple as just walking away. From the moment she is summoned back to Sicily, the shivers of unease set in….The command comes from legendary tycoon Cristiano Ferrara, the husband she can't forget—but it might as well have come from the devil himself. The outrageously gorgeous Cristiano's power is a potent reminder of this Sicilian dynasty's unbreakable rule: once a Ferrara wife, always a Ferrara wife….Look for more Harlequin Presents books from this author and check out our six new titles available every month!


Cristiano and Laurel Ferrara had been married in a whirlwind romance.  Once Cristiano had made Laurel his wife he went about his way securing his empire and taking care of everyone else.  Laurel, unable to fully trust because of events in her past, seems to accept this and still believes that if she were to ever reach out to Cristiano, he would be there for her no matter what.  After all, she is a strong, independent woman who would never “cry wolf” for no apparent reason, and Cristiano would know this, of course. 

However, once Laurel stretches out her hand to her husband, and he places his business deal above her in his priorities, this seems to spell the end of the Ferraras.  It was a bad decision.  Yet, Laurel can’t endure the fact that she gave something that she doesn’t freely give and got a slap on the hand for her efforts.  Reeling from the disappointment that Cristiano dealt her, and unable to cope with the events surrounding it, Laurel runs away from their marriage and stays out of his way for the next two years.  Cristiano’s pride was hurt by his wife’s abandonment, and not fully understanding why she ran from something that happens all the time, doesn’t chase her.  When Cristiano’s sister conspires to have her best friend, Laurel, attend her wedding, Cristiano is not averse to taking advantage of the situation.  Have the Ferrara’s come to realize that they each share a hand in the demise of their marriage, and will they be able to look past it, or will they both be too stubborn to see the other’s view point?   
Once a Ferrara Wife… was a book that I just couldn’t find myself setting aside!  It was thoroughly engrossing, lively, engaging, and realistic for me.  I found myself torn between both Cristiano and Laurel, and I completely understood their views on the situation.  Laurel’s baggage came across as something that I have encountered in my life and that made what she was feeling even more lifelike for me. 

The story had an incredibly HOT hero in Cristiano, from his name to his first appearance on the scene of Once a Ferrara Wife… to his chasing after Laurel later, and his getting “it” before the end of the story.  Boy, did Cristiano get it!  Yes, he made an effort to change, and he even went out on a limb to read between the lines later on in Once a Ferrara Wife….  He knew Laurel by that time, and he knew what she needed then as well.  Cristiano gave up something that was five years in the making to be there for her, and she showed him that what he thought he would never regain from her again was back.  Cristiano showed her that he was worthy of that as well…in spades!  

Once a Ferrara Wife… displayed both of their feelings in being let down by the other, and in the end, I think Cristiano found that he let her down even more.  However, he never knew about her past and why she was the way she was.  I couldn’t find fault with Cristiano for that though in Once a Ferrara Wife… as Laurel didn’t divulge the information that would have helped him see the light there, but then if she had, it would have gone completely against her character.  To share things like that when you are so closely guarded would have opened her up to be more vulnerable than she wished to be.  As it was, the fact that Cristiano managed to slip past her carefully erected barriers was amazing, but it showed that Laurel wasn’t completely impenetrable.  Yet, once Cristiano got in there, the way he let her down devastated her and caused her to close up a bit more.  Apparently, Cristiano had that special “key” to regain access, but he needed to know the secrets to Laurel in order to show that he was favorable and deserving of the honor to be allowed to hold that precious gift from her.  

I loved that Laurel had the baggage in Once a Ferrara Wife… instead of Cristiano.  I liked that he was willing to work though it as well.  Usually, it’s the heroes who have the baggage, and the heroines have to do the work.  

Once a Ferrara Wife… even had me in tears in a few points because I so wasn’t expecting some things.  That in and of itself is scary, and I felt completely gobsmacked for Cristiano too as he wasn’t expecting that either.  I think that goes to show how completely engrossed I was in Once a Ferrara Wife…! 
I want my characters to understand their mistakes and evolve from them, learning as they go so that they aren’t doomed to repeat them again.  Cristiano and Laurel did that in Once a Ferrara Wife….  He earned his right to be in her life, and she opened up that final door to let him in!  I was practically in love with Cristiano when I finished reading Once a Ferrara Wife… and if I am offered the story of Cristiano’s brother… I will be all over it!!
I joyfully recommend Once a Ferrara Wife….

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