Format: Kindle Book
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: February 2012
My Copy: Self-Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
A marriage in name only…To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?
"She needed a man. Preferably one with $150,000 to spare."
Smart, independent and vivacious Alexa McKenzie needed a man. Real bad. When her family is in danger of losing their home, Alexa conjures up a spell to bring her a man who held all the qualities she dreamed her soul mate would possess and had very deep pockets. She didn't have to wait very long because long-time best friend, Maggie, walks in and suggests Alexa marry her older brother, Nicholas 'Nick' Ryan. Nick has his own reasons to find a wife, quick. In order to inherit the majority of his family's company shares, Nick must marry and for it to last at least one year. Being the shrewd business man that he is Nick gives into his sister's suggestion and agrees to marry Alexa even though he has a very strong aversion to marriage.
"He needed a woman who looked upon the venture as a business opportunity."
Although the "marriage of convenience" plot of The Marriage Bargain isn't all that new, Jennifer Probst was able to breath in some fresh air into an old premise. What I really liked about Alexa and Nick's arrangement is that they weren't two strangers who meet at an opportune time but actually had a past. Having known each other since childhood, Alexa harbored a crush on Nick until he smashed those dreams and broke her heart. With their history and hidden attraction for each other, the dialogue and interactions between Alexa and Nick were highly entertaining. It's doesn't take long before Alexa is able to unravel Nick and his cynical views of love, family and marriage.
I instantly liked Alexa from the very beginning. She is extremely independent but loving, and very loyal to her family and will do whatever she needs to help them. Her compassion and free spirit is what essentially breaks down the walls that Nick had built up all these years. Coming from a broken home, it was understandable why Nick was so apprehensive to get too emotionally attached to a woman. Seeing him unexpectedly open up to the idea of love was beautiful and touching.
The Marriage Bargain is a wonderfully fun romance read that will make you laugh, cry and fall in love with the characters. I was unable to put my Kindle down until I finished it. Alexa and Nick were very charming and the passion between the two was engrossing. Jennifer Probst is definitely a romance author that will be on my watch list. I'm eagerly waiting for the second book in her Marriage to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Trap, which will most likely end up being an auto-buy as soon as it's released on June 15th.