The Marriage Bargain
By Jennifer Probst
Series: Marriage to a Billionaire, Book 1
My Rating: 3 Stars
This was my first exposure to Jennifer Probst and I had no preconceived notions about how this book would be. I stumbled upon it in a bargain bin at the bookstore and took and instant interest in it. Yes, I was totally judging this book by it’s cover. I thought it would be quick read with a sexy alpha male and a female lead that was young and naive, etc, etc, etc. You get where I’m going here. I thought it would follow a set structure for contemporary romance books. But I’m happy to admit that it didn’t follow that structure which made it something new, unique and far more interesting of a read. To say the least, I was happily surprised.
Alexa McKenzie needs money and needs it fast. She desperately wants to save her family’s home, the home of her childhood and all her memories of growing up there. But she doesn’t have the means to come up with that amount of money. She’s willing to resort to performing a magic spell to conjure up a man who has money who would be willing to give her the money.
Nicholas Ryan needs to get married and he needs to do it fast if he’s going to inherit and become majority owner of his grandfather’s corporation. But he doesn’t believe in marriage or that level of commitment. What he needs is a willing woman who would be willing to have a marriage in title but not emotionally. A business arrangement, if you will. But where is he going to find a woman like this? When he learns that his sister’s best friend has a need for cash, he’s convinced his problems are solved. He hasn’t seen his sisters childhood friend in ten years and he’s not convinced she’s going to fit in with his lifestyle but he’s willing to try anything. The only problem is that Alexa McKenzie hasn’t forgotten the way he treated her when they were teenagers. She hasn’t forgotten how she gave him her heart and he trampled over it until it was broken and smashed to smithereens. When Nicolas presents his proposition to Alexa, she’s not sure if it’s going to be doable. A fake marriage with rules. It’s all business and no pleasure for one year. Do not fall in love. Do not get attached. It’s a win, win for both Alexa and Nick. After a year they can each walk away with their problems solved and no hard feelings, right? But sometimes the best laid plans are full of twists and turns you never see coming and Alexa and Nick are about to set out on a rather twisty road to happiness. Happiness with someone they never, ever expected.
I’ll be honest, this story pulled at the heartstrings. While it wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, I had true feeling and emotion for the characters and their story. I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions. Nick is so stubborn and dead set on fending off any kind of emotional attachment and Alexa, while she admittedly doesn’t seen out a partner she still has hopes of finding her prince. I loved how set in their stubborn ways both Alexa and Nick were throughout the story. They were so set in their ways and convinced they knew what was best but when confronted with the possibility of something more they resisted and fought it like their lives depended on it. There were times when I found myself wanting to reach into the pages of the book and wring their necks. The scene with the dogs was highly amusing. I couldn’t help but cringe at the blow-up I knew was going to happen. And when it did, it was delivered in perfect hilarity. I may be one of my favorite book scenes of all time.
This book is short, but don’t let that fool you. There is so much happening within the pages of this quick read. There is depth that you might not have expected to find and complexity that propels the story forward. Jennifer Probst is a gifted writer who knows how to deliver and you are sure to want to read the remaining books in her Marriage to a Billionaire series. I’ve added them to my to-read list and will be seeking out copies ASAP. I was so impressed with Probst’s writing that I’ve already picked up books one and two in her Searching For series. And I’ll definitely be recommending Jennifer Probst to fellow readers. If you are looking for a great little read that will keep you hooked from page one, check out this one. It would make a great plane or beach read.