Monday, January 4, 2016

ARC Review: First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony

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?

Dani's rating:

The arranged-marriage trope has always been my secret pleasure. I loved it when I read Victorian bodice rippers in high school, and I love it now, especially when two hot men are involved.

I flew through this book. It is highly readable, and I enjoyed the hell out of it despite the loooooong slow burn.

And I mean LONG: no steam for nearly three-quarters of the book.

Jesse needs to get married to claim his inheritance and the right to control his grandfather's companies. When Jesse meets Chris one night during Chris's author reading, he's immediately smitten. But Chris, who doesn't do marriage, fake or otherwise, is reluctant to agree to Jesse's business proposal.

Chris and Jesse dance around each other. Neither trusts the other enough to be fully honest.

Jesse, seemingly straight, kisses Chris and then pulls the disappearing act. As frustrated as I was with Jesse initially, it doesn't even come close to my frustration with Chris during the last few chapters of the book.

I didn't get Chris's anger. He was stubborn, unfair, and hurtful.

Not all the plot points added up for me. I didn't really like Wanda, Jesse's step-grandmother who was contesting the will, and wasn't convinced she was necessary to the story.

But all's well that ends well: We have the lonely, workaholic billionaire; the poor writer who needs to be rescued more than he realizes; and a business arrangement that turns to friendship, lust, and finally love.

While I would have liked more steam, the two sexy scenes were hot, and the HEA was all yachts and beaches and forever.

Get the book:


Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled, "This could change your life."
~Helen Exley

An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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