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I Belong


Review: The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst

Title: The Marriage Bargain

Author: Jennifer Probst

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Marriage to a Billionaire (Book 1)

Publication Date: September 4, 2012

Format: Paperback, 308 Pages

ISBN-10: 1620612798 (Entangled)

ISBN-13: 978-1620612798 (Entangled)

Reviewed by: Shirene

Synopsis

A marriage in name only…

To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.

Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he offers Alexa a bold proposition.

A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?

Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…

Quick & Dirty: This is what happens when one person marries to gain control of a company and the other marries in order to aid family.  Two worlds collide.

Opening SentenceShe needed a man.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

There is just something that continues to draw me to marriage of convenience titles.  Maybe because you only really get to know everything about each other when you live, sleep, work and eat together.  More often than not this style of romance follows the formula: marry due to circumstances, grow to like and irritate each other, fall in love, catastrophe occurs, problem is fixed and then they live happily ever after.  This book does not stray from the formula and yet I was entertained.

The unique spin on this formula is that Alexa uses a spell in order to summon her soul mate.  The problem is that Nick is everything Alexa doesn’t want.  The only thing in his favor is that he can write a check out for $150,000 and never miss the money.  On Nick’s part, he needs a wife to fulfill requirements to gain control of his company and not be worried about his wife developing feelings for him.  The problem is that Alexa cares for Nick even before the ink is dry on the marriage certificate.  In the end they both find that they need what the other can bring to the table and marry.

The story moves along at a steady pace but doesn’t ever feel rushed or constrained.  We are given  opportunities to witness their heartbreak and joy before the book comes to its inevitable conclusion.  One of my favorite scenes involves Nick and Alexa’s niece.  There is nothing more endearing than to see a strong male humbled by a child’s tears.  I was laughing so hard that I was afraid my side would split.

What I truly enjoyed about this book was the verbal sparing between Nick and Alexa.  She refused to take what he said at face value and would probe until she got to the truth.  Nick, on the other hand, is a man that is fighting his past.  The glimpse we get into his tragic youth provides the angst that he has carried with him into every relationship.  In doing so, he becomes a more believable and lovable hero.

This book has continued my passion for marriage of convenience titles and I shall be picking up the next book in this series to see what adventures Michael and Maggie must go through in order to find their own happily ever after.

Notable Scene:

He shifted his weight.  His nod was halfhearted. “I guess.”

“So, what about Gabriella?”

He drew back in surprise. “How do you know about her?”

“Maggie.”

“Don’t worry about Gabriella.  I’ll take care of her.”

“Are you sleeping with her?”

He flinched, then tried to pretend he didn’t care. “Does it matter?”

Marriage to a Billionaire Series:

1. The Marriage Bargain

2. The Marriage Trap

3. The Marriage Mistake

FTC Advisory: Entangled Publishing provided me with a copy of The Marriage Bargain. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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