One of the best things about being a book blogger is reading reviews that other people have written on books that I've read. Especially the big releases when something crazy happens, and I HAVE to analyze and discuss it with someone the instant I'm done reading the book. Writing reviews for popular releases is fun, but everyone does it. Another benefit about book blogging is all the recommendations I receive for lesser known books that I never would have read without that someone's stamp of approval. There are so many books that just slip under the radar, but are actually complete gems and truly enjoyable reads. The Marriage Bargain is like the wallflowers at a ball: it may have a plain exterior, but when you dig a little deeper you find a hidden treasure and a wealth of personality.
Alexa needs $150,000, and she needs it fast. Her parents have run into a bit of financial trouble, and are in danger of losing her childhood home. On a whim, she performs a spell that a customer told her about, listing all the qualities she wants in a man: loves animals, loves big families and above all, has cash to spare. Enter, Nicholas Ryan. The two were childhood friends but lost touch over the years. He hates animals, wants nothing to do with family and doesn't really want to get married, but has to in order to inherit the company he built with his uncle. Nick is filthy rich though, and the two connect and agree to get married for a year, which is amount of time Nick's uncle stipulated he must be married in order to fully inherit the company. In return, he'll give Alexa the money she asked for, which he assumes will be used to expand her book store. Alexa doesn't want Nick to know how she intends to spend the money, since her plan his to make him think the worst of her in order to keep him at arm's length. Alexa is in very real danger of falling in love with Nick, but her heart has been broken by him before and Alexa is one to learn her lesson the first time.
Y'all know how much I love my couples that hate each other in the beginning and fall in love at the end. While I wouldn't say Nick and Alexa hate each other, there is a definite wall between the two. It was so fun to watch that wall break down. Nick is absolutely convinced that a wife and family aren't for him due to his own screwed up family growing up. He associates family with pain, and doesn't want to open his heart to anyone and have them stomp on it. Alexa is the complete opposite of any woman he's ever dated, and the things he's sworn off are the most important to her. His controlled and rigid life goes into an uproar when he brings Alexa home as his wife, and I loved how flustered he was as he tried to bring it all back under his reign.
The heat and chemistry between the two are intense. The build-up before the couple gave in to their physical attraction was so well done. This book was hot, hot, hot!
Inevitably, Nick does something to screw everything up and has to make up for it. I absolutely loved how he apologized and it was so perfect for the story. The ending just melted my heart and I was so pleased by their happily ever after. I really wish there would have been an epilogue though. But I'm just selfish and wanted a bit more time with them.
My Summary: So, yeah, the cover is a little underwhelming and I might have passed it by if it was sitting on the shelf at the store. This is definitely a case of where you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. The Marriage Bargain is light, fun and steamy and everything I look for in a romance novel. I definitely recommend it!
My Rating: A