First Comes Marriage

  • by Shira Anthony
  • Narrated by John Solo
  • 6 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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?


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Most Unmemorable M/M Romance

What would have made First Comes Marriage better?

Some charm, romance and lighthearted banter spread among the seriously dry and dull story. I had great hopes for this book. There was a great opportunity for an interesting plot, humor and a love story but all it gave me was a dearth of human loving interaction, repetition and bitchiness.

Any writer who is going to do a book based on an unbelievable, bizarre situation must add some joy and humor or even snark to prevent the story from being ridiculous instead of fun with lovable characters.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Made the voices sound too old.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?


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- Tom(C)

Loved the story, didn't love the narration

Jesse is a billionaire in need of a marriage to save his inheritance from the “evil” step-grandmother who would sell his beloved business if she inherits. (Yay – I love this trope!)

Chris is a struggling novelist. He’s got a few titles under his belt and has high hopes his newest will gain him a heft advance, but living in New York is expensive and his part time job as a barista isn’t doing much for his savings account.

Jesse happens to be a fan of Chris’ and approaches him at a reading for a date to discuss what Jesse’s connections can do for Chris’ career. They have a good meeting, but Jesse is straight so…

Later, Jesse approaches Chris about a business arrangement wherein they’d be platonically married for the sake of getting the inheritance Jesse’s grandfather left him, and Chris could leave the marriage after a year with a million dollars for his efforts.

At first Chris is offended and declines, but his friends and Jesse show him how silly that idea is and he eventually agrees.

From there is a whirlwind of change into Jesse’s decadent beach house and life as a writer exclusively. The only problem is Jesse keeps giving mixed signals to Chris about his sexuality and after a couple of scorching kisses, Chris has to wonder…

Eventually some truths are uncovered and both parties feel betrayed by the other. Will their burgeoning relationship have a chance at forever once the lies are dispelled or have they ruined it with their deceptions?


So this is totally what I was expecting when I read about this series. This trope – the Cinderfella trope (in this case) is a tried and true one. Shira Anthony played it off perfectly!

She gave us a believable scenario, with a fairly realistic approach to the arranged marriage and then gave us some sizzling chemistry and a confusing step-grandmother to keep us on our toes.

My only quibble was I wasn’t sure why Jesse kept the secrets he did… it seems to me he’d have been better off being honest from the start and I’m not sure what he thought he’d gain by lying… but… in the end it absolutely worked out and I loved it!

Highly recommended.

John Solo is a good narrator and he does a good job with this. I really liked the voice he uses for Jesse, Wenda and Val, but the pseudo-NYC accent he chooses for Chris is a bit awkward. He does a great job with the emotions and his pacing is also excellent. I think this is an okay way to experience the book.

Overall 3.25 of 5 stars
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- Morgan A Skye

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-09-2016
  • Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC