The Marriage Merger

By: Jennifer Probst


“What a mess.” Julietta walked through the condo, tag-ging boxes and packing up last-minute stuff. They’d finally found a buyer and had spent most of the weekend moving the last of her old belongings. Thank goodness for Wolfe. He’d been spending the last few nights sending things back to their house and a bunch of extra items to charity.

She walked into her old bedroom where only the head-board remained. Made a quick survey of the empty room to make sure nothing was left behind. Turned her head. And caught a flash of white.

She bent down and picked up the piece of white ledger paper that was tucked behind one of the posts on the floor.

Frowning, she opened it up.

The list.

The love spell.

Julietta shook her head. How embarrassing if Wolfe had discovered it. She remembered putting the second paper under her mattress before burning the first copy. She began to crumple it up and toss it away, but she took a moment to glance at the list.

The numbers shimmered before her.

1. A man who can give me orgasms.

2. A man who respects and encourages my career.

3. A man strong enough to fight for me.

4. A man who understands my soul.

5. A man who carves out his own path in life.

6. A man who gives me everything of himself.

Her fingers fisted on the paper. She closed her eyes, and the room suddenly swayed. How was this possible? Sawyer had been brought to her by Mama, not a crazy list. right?

But why was every quality a part of the man she married?

She quickly reread the list and realized the items fit her husband perfectly. As if he had been created just for her.

She raced out to the living room and scanned her empty bookshelves. Where was the book? The clatter of footsteps on the stairs interrupted her thoughts.

“What’s the matter? you look like you’ve seen a ghost?”

Julietta stared at Wolfe. “Did you pack up all my books and send them to the house?”

“No, you told me to box up those shelves and send them to the used bookstores. I sent a few boxes to different areas. I hope you didn’t lose something important. Would be a bitch to try to find one of the books.”

Could it be possible? They’d all created the spell and found their soul mates. Was it just coincidence? After all, there was no such thing as a love spell. or at least a love spell that actually worked. She stared down at the paper, then quickly crumpled it up. “No. It was nothing. Probably better to let it go.”

“Cool. Movers are coming for the rest of the stuff.

ready to go?”

She looked around, then slid her hand into Wolfe’s.

He’d started to become much more used to touch. “yeah.

Let’s go home.”

They walked out of the room together.

Mama Conte pulled the shawl tight around her shoulders.

She sat on her favorite rocker, book in hand, espresso on her right, and gazed out at the sprawling landscape outside her home. Though spring loomed, the temperatures had dropped and frost had settled and crusted the grass. The day chilled her bones and sent a fierce wind to rattle the bare trees, but she was cozy and warm and didn’t have to go out for the rest of the day.

She flexed her gnarled fingers and wondered where the years had gone. Just yesterday she had been building her family and her company. Now, the new generation would take over the legacy. Her grandchildren would thrive— some in Italy, others in America—and the Conte name would never be forgotten.

Smiling, she thought of her late husband. How he would have loved watching his children grow and develop their individual personalities. He loved them all so fiercely, with a devotion that only a parent could understand, but he always worried a bit more about Julietta. She was so like him, with a fierce independence and brilliance for business that trumped any personal relationship. Finally, her daughter was complete with a man meant to match her soul.

So many times she was afraid she’d pushed too hard.

Made mistakes. But she’d trusted her gut to guide her children into love, and she could never regret her choices. Not now.

A deep satisfaction and peace settled over her. She felt her husband’s presence beside her. First Venezia. Michael.

Carina. And now Julietta. All had found love. All had been properly matched.

Time for a new chapter, one she wouldn’t be a part of any longer. She hoped the path wasn’t as difficult for the others, but she already knew that only through pain could great pleasure be attained. Appreciated. Savored.

She smiled, enjoying the silent presence of the man who had been her love match.

Her work had finally been done.

Mama Conte smiled, rocked back and forth, and enjoyed the moment.

Acknowledgments I feel as if I could write an entire book acknowledging all the people who helped me get to this point in my career.

But, alas, that would not entertain my readers, so I will allow myself a short section of praise for the wonderful people in my life.

For my kick-ass, amazing editor who I adore—Lauren McKenna. you simply bring out the best in my work and I am forever grateful.

For my agent, Kevan Lyons, who helps guide me into the future.

For the amazing Probst Posse and my faithful readers who wouldn’t rest until Julietta got her own happily ever-after.

you all inspire me. Special thanks to elena from Bookish Temptations who answered my questions about Milan.

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