Three years into a five-year marriage of convenience, Jenn finds herself wanting something she never thought she'd want from her laid-back, ex-military husband. Sex - as a much-needed release of tension from her high-stress job. But weekly sex with Nick, despite their careful parameters, is likely to get messy eventually.
Ever since her father walked out on her as a child, Jenn knows never to assume the people she loves will stick around, so she's not about to trust Nick with her heart. She vows to stay strong, no matter how much intimacy develops between them in bed.
But what starts as a tension-reliever soon becomes so much more, until it threatens both their practical arrangement and the heart Jenn has worked so hard to keep safe.
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Such a neat flip! Loved this maybe more than ANM
Doubtless you'll see reviews comparing Married by Contract to "A Negotiated Marriage". This is because ANM was such a great story, neat plot that the author flipped gender roles and approached it from the other side.
I enjoyed Married by Contract even *more*.
I think this is because Nick knows he wants this to be real, and the reader knows that, and my favorite stories tend to have the hero aware of the fact that this is the only woman for him, and going about nailing that down. (No pun... I promise)
I like it when the hero does the pursuing - even if it is by gentle leading. Maaaybe *especially* if it's done by gentle leading.
And I love the sweet banter.
Slices like this:
'...she narrowed her eyes. "I thought you said you weren't making fun of me."
"I wasn't then. I might be a little bit now."
'...Maybe Nick was onto something with this letting-it-go thing.
"Good girl," Nick murmured, his eyes soft on her face.
She scowled. "You didn't just call me good girl, did you?"
"What? Oh no. You must have heard wrong. I'd never call you something so..."
"Exactly. I'd never call you something like that." He wasn't smiling, but there was suppressed laughter in his eyes and at the corners of his mouth.
"I'm glad to hear it."'
INTERACTIONS LIKE THIS ARE WHY I LOVE NOELLE'S STORIES SO MUCH. The good natured teasing is cute, and funny, and touching.
I LOVED MARRIED BY CONTRACT! Now if sweet isn't your cup of tea, I am about to reread Hold by Claire Kent (other pseudonym for Noelle) and I highly, highly recommend that one but for gritty & dark romance lovers - it's soooo good too.
So similar it's disturbing!