A Negotiated Marriage by Noelle Adams, narrated by Carly Robins

A Negotiated MarriageWhy I read it:  Audible had a special on this one so I bought it because I can’t resist a bargain.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Sex wasn’t supposed to be part of the deal.

Three years into a marriage of convenience, Molly’s high-powered CEO husband wants to add a new term to their marriage agreement. Sex—without any messy emotional entanglements. But weekly sex with Luke, despite their carefully negotiated terms, is likely to get messy eventually.

Content in a mutually beneficial arrangement, Molly isn’t going to fall for Luke the way she fell for an old lover, only to be crushed in the end. She vows to stay strong, no matter how much intimacy develops between them in bed. When her old lover returns, finally wanting a real relationship, Molly has the chance to give her heart to a man who will accept it.

It’s too bad she now wants to give it to her husband, who has never admitted her heart is what he wants.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I do like a marriage of convenience story but it isn’t terribly common in a contemporary romance. Here, Ms. Adams gives a believable set up and a lovely romance wrapped up in a contemporary package. The only thing missing really, was the hero’s POV.

Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams

MarriedForChristmasWhy I read it:  After seeing Kati D’s glowing review over at Dear Author, I thought I’d give this one a go. It was only 99c from Amazon so I thought it was pretty low risk.  Plus:  Sexy pastor FTW!

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  After years of dreaming, Jessica is finally getting married, but the marriage isn’t exactly what she thought.

Daniel is her best friend, and she’s known him all her life, but he’s never gotten over losing his wife two years ago. His dream is to become the pastor of the church in their hometown, but the small-town congregation keeps balking over calling an unmarried minister. Since Daniel needs a wife and Jessica wants a husband and family, she proposes an arrangement that benefits both of them.

They can get married. They can build a life together. They can celebrate Christmas as a couple. It’s fine that he doesn’t love her. And it’s fine that she’s not exactly suited to be a small-town pastor’s wife. And it’s fine that she’s more attracted to her sexy, brooding husband every day.

Jessica can be practical about this marriage. She knows what she’s getting into, after all…

This book includes fully-developed sex scenes between a husband and wife.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I liked the idea of a modern day marriage of convenience and here, the reasons for it make sense.  I don’t go to church these days but I didn’t have any trouble buying that a small community would want a married man as its pastor rather than a young single one.  Jessica is largely a loner and even though she has feelings for Daniel, she doesn’t think he could ever return them, especially given how much he loved his first wife, Lila.  They are however, good friends and Jessica thinks this will be her only chance for marriage, family and children.  Her mother is in a nursing home and her condition is deteriorating – it was never specified but it seemed like some kind of Altzheimer’s/dementia-related illness.  Jessica has no other family.  Even though she is often happy to spend time alone or with her Samoyed dog, Bear, she still wants to have a family and connection and, as Daniel needs a wife to win his dream job, it seems like a good idea.

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