Their marriage was supposed to be all business....Todd's rating:
When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!
Jesse’s in a pinch: to keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal. In exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?
This is the first non-fantasy book of Shira's that I've read and I really enjoyed it.
I'm used to Shira's characters being mermen, using magic, drinking blood or there being baby dragons (yay, baby dragons!), so this 'marriage of financial convenience' story was a big departure from my usual Shira read.
I loved Chris, a poor writer, starving for his art, making ends meet by working a crappy barista job and not just sleeping, but actually 'living' on his best friend's couch.
I also loved Jesse, the confident rich guy and closet nerd, with no true friends due to his complete devotion to running the multi-million dollar business that his grandfather's built from the ground up.
Immediately upon meeting, you could just tell that once these two got past their own internal monologuing and collective bullshit, they'd be exactly what the other needed.
However, stubborn, dumb boys are stubbornly dumb, so it's definitely a big ole', slightly-angsty journey as they make their way to that point.
Chris' parent's marriage was awful, so he's against marriage altogether and Jesse is used to hiding who he is and sees has no interest in anything serious with anyone. But an inheritance stipulation in dear old grandpa's will seems to have other plans for our two heroes.
Some of my favorite parts of the book were with Wenda, Jesse's step-grandmother, as she toyed with both Chris and Jesse. You could just tell that woman was seriously up to something. You just weren't supposed to quite know what.
But knowing Shira's writing style from several of her previous fantasy books, I actually caught on to the big plot twist concerning the grandfather's will fairly early on, but I wasn't disappointed that I'd figured it out. It just made me smile, in an "Aha! Gotcha!" sort of way. : )
The steam level was pretty hot -- once it finally reached a boil, which wasn't very often and didn't begin until nearly the last quarter of the book.
The boys do get their HEA, as expected, with a nice epilogue chapter from their first anniversary, with talk of upping their relationship ante even further, so I thoroughly enjoyed that.
Overall this one clocks in a just a wee bit under 4 stars for me and I enjoyed it -- even though Shira didn't get me any baby dragons this time around. ;- )
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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