Read First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony Online


Their marriage was supposed to be all business....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 ChrisTheir marriage was supposed to be all business....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?...

Title : First Comes Marriage
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781634768443
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 262 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

First Comes Marriage Reviews

  • Gigi
    2019-06-21 08:18

    4.5 stars rounded up because ARRANGED MARRIAGE done right!My first of Dreamspinner Press's new Dreamspun Desires novel is First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony. Dreamspun Desires is explained as such:Dreamspun Desires are contemporary category romance novels, complete with your favorite heartwarming heroes, captivating plots, and exotic settings. These titles are all about happily ever afters that leave you with a satisfied smile for days. They are packaged to look like your mom's Harlequin romance novels from back-in-the-day.And, oh, this has gotten off to a great start because First Comes Marriage was spectacular! I have been a huge fan of gay romance with Forced/Arranged Marriage/Mating/Bonding themes since I first read Heart of Texas by R.J. Scott back in 2012. The soap-opera style drama swept me off my feet and it made me feel like I was watching Dallas with my mom and sisters back in the 80's. First Comes Marriage gave me very similar feelings, but the main difference between the two is that while Heart of Texas has peril of the villain sort with conspiracies and murder and back-stabbing at every turn, First Comes Marriage is a romance with no anticipation of bodily harm. Emotional harm? You betcha!Chris is a struggling writer, working as a barista to make ends meet while he works on his novels. Jesse is a business man, working in the family business, Windview Enterprises, that his great-great grandfather started. It is now very successful and Jesse is a millionaire many times over.For reasons initially unknown, Jesse's grandfather put a stipulation in his will that Jesse had to be married, for a least a year, before he can inherit Windview Enterprises. If he does not marry, the majority of the business shares will go to his grandfather's second wife, Wenda, Jesse's step-grandmother that he has a tumultuous relationship with.Chris finally agrees, Jesse and Chris marry and begin the happily-married-couple charade by moving Chris into Jesse's sprawling mansion, Windmere, with a breathtaking ocean view and elaborate gardens. Despite Chris, who is gay, feeling a strong sexual attraction for a very straight Jesse, things start out pretty well for the couple.But, all is not as it seems at Windmere and several of the occupants have dark, deeply hidden secrets they don't want seeing the light of day. Jesse is harboring one of the biggest, and when his secret is finally revealed at about 50%, the book goes from first person (Chris) POV to multiple POVs. Now we get a good look into Jesse's mind and life and what motivates him to do the things he does.I am going to stop there with the summary because there are some delicious twists and turns and revelations that are best kept under wraps so you can enjoy them yourself as you read.First Comes Marriage is romantic, emotional, sexy, heart warming, sad at times and a brilliant soap-opera style story. I absolutely ate-it-up and cannot WAIT to read the rest of the novels in the Dreamspun Desires collection.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!Galley copy of First Comes Marriage provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.This review is also posted at Gay Book Reviews

  • ~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
    2019-06-27 06:00

    The arranged-marriage trope has always been my secret pleasure. I loved it when I read Victorian bodice rippers in high school, and I love it now, especially when two hot men are involved. I flew through this book. It is highly readable, and I enjoyed the hell out of it despite the loooooong slow burn. And I mean LONG: no steam for nearly three-quarters of the book. Jesse needs to get married to claim his inheritance and the right to control his grandfather's companies. When Jesse meets Chris one night during Chris's author reading, he's immediately smitten. But Chris, who doesn't do marriage, fake or otherwise, is reluctant to agree to Jesse's business proposal. Chris and Jesse dance around each other. Neither trusts the other enough to be fully honest. Jesse, seemingly straight, kisses Chris and then pulls the disappearing act. As frustrated as I was with Jesse initially, it doesn't even come close to my frustration with Chris during the last few chapters of the book. I didn't get Chris's anger. He was stubborn, unfair, and hurtful. Not all the plot points added up for me. I didn't really like Wanda, Jesse's step-grandmother who was contesting the will, and wasn't convinced she was necessary to the story. Jesse's decision to marry a man after (view spoiler)[hiding in the closet his entire life (hide spoiler)] also had me scratching my head. But all's well that ends well: We have the lonely, workaholic billionaire; the poor writer who needs to be rescued more than he realizes; and a business arrangement that turns to friendship, lust, and finally love. While I would have liked more steam, the two sexy scenes were hot, and the HEA was all yachts and beaches and forever.

  • Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
    2019-07-02 05:18

    *2.5 stars*I blame myself for this one, I really do. Unlike many other readers, I didn't get my start in romance through Harlequin stories. In fact, my experiences with Harlequin romances and their tropes has been limited to a few failed attempts at trying the arraigned marriage or soap-opera style books. I should have realized that I wouldn't like this one very much when I outright hated The Heart of Texas. That should have been a BIG CLUE. Alas, no. I was swayed by the glowing reviews to try this one, and I really shouldn't have. I'll talk a bit about the audiobook aspect first. This was my first audiobook with John Solo, and I don't think I'd listen to him again. I really disliked his voice for the MC Chris, which I feel kind of bad about saying because I think that voice is close to John Solo's own speaking voice. Chris sounded sort of old-mannish and over-acted, and it just bugged me while I was listening. However, I enjoyed the narrator's range of voices and the effort that he put into the story. In terms of the story... it was okay. I mean, there was a lot of drama and silliness, but at the same time I found the story to be kind of dull. It was an interesting duality, but it resulted in a story that failed to ever fully capture my attention. Don't listen to me, though, because I think I'm just the wrong audience for this book. If you are a fan of other Harlequin-type stories, then give this one a shot. **Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

  • ☆ Todd
    2019-07-18 06:00

    This is the first non-fantasy book of Shira's that I've read and I really enjoyed it.I'm used to Shira's characters being mermen, using magic, drinking blood or there being baby dragons (yay, baby dragons!), so this 'marriage of financial convenience' story was a big departure from my usual Shira read.I loved Chris, a poor writer, starving for his art, making ends meet by working a crappy barista job and not just sleeping, but actually 'living' on his best friend's couch.I also loved Jesse, the confident rich guy and closet nerd, with no true friends due to his complete devotion to running the multi-million dollar business that his grandfather's built from the ground up. Jesse is also a ginger, for those of you with a thing for that, and a complete (view spoiler)[virgin (back there) -- with both women and men,(hide spoiler)] so yay for that. Immediately upon meeting, you could just tell that once these two got past their own internal monologuing and collective bullshit, they'd be exactly what the other needed.However, stubborn, dumb boys are stubbornly dumb, so it's definitely a big ole', slightly-angsty journey as they make their way to that point.Chris' parent's marriage was awful, so he's against marriage altogether and Jesse is used to hiding who he is and has no interest in anything serious with anyone. But an inheritance stipulation in dear old grandpa's will seems to have other plans for our two heroes.Some of my favorite parts of the book were with Wenda, Jesse's step-grandmother, as she toyed with both Chris and Jesse. You could just tell that woman was seriously up to something. You just weren't supposed to quite know what.But knowing Shira's writing style from several of her previous fantasy books, I actually caught on to the big plot twist concerning the grandfather's will fairly early on, but I wasn't disappointed that I'd figured it out. It just made me smile, in an "Aha! Gotcha!" sort of way. : )The steam level was pretty warm -- once it finally reached a boil, which wasn't very often and didn't begin until nearly the last quarter of the book.The boys do get their HEA, as expected, with a nice epilogue chapter from their first anniversary, with talk of upping their relationship ante even further, so I thoroughly enjoyed that.Overall this one clocks in a just a wee bit under 4 stars for me and I enjoyed it -- even though Shira didn't get me any baby dragons this time around. ;- )-----------------------------------------------My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Ele
    2019-07-14 04:11

    *3.5 stars*This was lovely! The arranged marriage trope is something I don't come across often enough , but it's one of my favourites. And here, it was done just right!Jesse has to get married in order to keep running the family bussiness. So, he proposes to Chris, a struggling writer that he met during an author reading night.At first, Chris refuses, but Jesse's business proposal is very tempting and he ends up accepting. And Jesse actually courts him, with flowers, dinner and all! I liked that a lot!Jesse was an enigma at first, but later on I understood where he came from and I appreciated his POV, although I could have done without the disappearing acts.There is a lot of slow burn. Stolen kisses and steamy dreams, but nothing actually happens between them for a big part of the book. But when it does happen, it's very emotional and scorching hot. Admittedly, somewhere along the way I felt that both MCs actions dragged the story out and I was close to losing interest.Also I didn't get (view spoiler)[ why Chris got so angry when he found out that Jesse wasn't straight as he initially thought, to the point he wanted to cancel the arrangement. This was a conversation that should have taken place before they actually got married, but it never did. (hide spoiler)]I also liked Wenda, the "evil" stepgrandmother (view spoiler)[who wasn't so evil after all (hide spoiler)] and I may have teared up during the letter scene.This was my second read from Shira Anthony and I enjoyed a lot. Recommended for an easy, sweet and fuzzy read.And I guess the new Dreamspun series from Dreamspinners Press is all about sweet and fuzzy, which is all kinds of awsome.*Also posted on Gay Book Reviews*

  • SheReadsALot
    2019-06-21 12:18

    A Hearts On Fire Review FOUR HEARTS--The Dreamspun Desires line is turning out to be a guilty pleasure for me. It's bringing me back to my Harlequin days. Tropes that are classic (for a reason) get revisited in this line. "First Comes Marriage" was fake-to-real relationship trope written in a sweet flufftastic way with a billionaire MC!If you're one of the readers who are over billionaires, step aside. Because I'm a billionaire reader.Yes, still.The probability for a young, single and attractive billionaire under 30 might be next to impossible but in rains from the sky. And I brought a gazillion empty Big Gulp cups to catch the rain!Shira Anthony is a writer that I enjoy (I tend to forget how much I love her writing until I'm reading something from her). In "First Come Marriage", indie novelist Chris Valentine would love to churn more books out, has a small following but needs to pay the bills. He meets a geeky, ginger fan with a slight speech impediment in Jesse Donovan. Chris figures his fan is straight, thanks him and keeps it moving. Chris learns that Jesse is one of NYC's wealthiest wealthy bachelor he's floored. But what really throws him for a loop is when Jesse asks him to marry him to save his company! It's a cockamamie scheme, which Chris thinks he could do - he's gay, the billionaire is straight, all they have to do is stay married for a year to satisfy Jesse's deceased grandfather's stipulation and everyone will leave happy.What's the harm in that?*giggles*The story happens mainly in Connecticut at a fairy tale mansion. Jesse wasn't completely honest when asking Chris to marry him. So while the two get married and try to fool the lawyers and their family, there is a sexual tension that subtly progresses along with the novel. Add this with Chris' humble background and having to deal with Jesse's wealthier society, it made for an interesting read.Jesse wasn't a stereotypical billionaire - he wasn't confident, he was geeky, he had a stutter. He was an atypical billionaire that read like he was written just for me. All of his characteristics are types I love to read about.And the scenes got fluffy at times. I mean there was an actual marshmallow fight...I couldn't read the story fast enough.There was a step-grandmother Wenda, who almost seemed like a bitch but wasn't As she slowly opened up, I liked her. Some of the plot devices like poor little rich boy, worked. Some didn't, for me, like socialite who didn't make much of an appearance and then shows up to try and a steal a man who she never had a chance with. Jesse was clear where she stood, so her influence should have been nil. I do get I should expect over the top drama. But compared to the last Dreamspun Desires read I finished, this wasn't as dramatic. so when the antics were kinda ruined my fluff buzz.But the romance was believable. I didn't mind the miscommunication. I wish Jesse didn't run away to NYC as much instead of being with Chris. It was obvious that there was a connection and mutual attraction from the start.Loved the sex scenes, they were organic to the progression to real relationship. Nothing read forced. I loved the main characters equally. Loved the epilogue especially...okay maybe not the cheesy last paragraph. But I still wouldn't mind a follow-up to see if the line pans out. :DI'd recommend this to Dreamspun Desires readers in a heartbeat.Totally cute.

  • Shira Anthony
    2019-06-21 07:16

    My first entry in the brand-new Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner Press. Tropey, sweet, romance front and center stories that are light on the angst and all about sweaty palms, near misses, and love conquers all.Jesse Donovan's a billionaire businessman who needs to get married or he'll lose control of his company. Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist who works as a barista to afford New York City rent. When Jesse comes to one of Chris's readings at a Manhattan cafe, he gives Chris his card. The last thing Chris expects from Jesse is a marriage proposal!I can't tell you how much fun I had writing this story! It's definitely a departure for me, since I gravitate toward angsty stories. But I think I'll be writing more along the lines of this book, and soon!You can read an excerpt from the book here, on my website:

  • Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**
    2019-06-28 09:19

    ***3.25 Stars***This book made me feel all kinds of nostalgic. It reminded me of my high school days when I used to read those guilty pleasure Harelquin romances and wish that a Prince Charming would come and whisk me away from my Calculus homework. And my favorite trope of all.....arranged marriages. A business deal/a marriage of convenience that over time and close quarters turns into true love....come on, that's a great AWWWWW right there! Chris is a struggling writer. He's got a devoted fan base, just too bad there aren't thousands of them. Jesse is NYC's most eligible bachelor. He's a successful businessman who's made a name for himself after taking over his family's company after his grandfather passed away. But, a provision in his grandfather's will states that he must marry within one year of his passing in order for Jesse to remain at the helm of the family business. Jesse has been a fan of Chris' books for some time, so while attending one of his readings he introduces himself and strikes up a conversation. A couple of lunches later and Jesse is offering Chris a proposition that's hard to resist. One year married to him, one million dollars at the end and all the writing time in the world. While I enjoyed the dynamic between Chris and Jesse for the most part, I never quite felt that spark and sizzle between them. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that we don't get Jesse's POV until almost half way through the book...and what additional information his POV provides could have added some delicious angst and an additional layer to the story from the very beginning. By the time we find out Jesse's motives, it was too late for me to achieve the connection to the romance that the author was going for. Also, I didn't really understand the level of loathing that Chris had about the institution of marriage. He was content in his life with Jesse, and even as his feelings for the man grew, he still kept knocking down that marriage just wasn't for him. I feel like the backstory of his parents' marriage wasn't developed enough to warrant his repeated negativity. What I really loved was hearing about Jesse's relationship with his grandfather. The two had such a deep love for each other. Every one of Jesse's stories and memories was deeply rooted in respect, affection, devotion and genuine adoration of his grandfather. Jesse's grandfather allowed his boyhood wonderment to be boundless and made a lonely little boy feel like the world was his playground. There were definitely holes in the plot and issues that were glazed over and too easy, but in the end, this was an enjoyable read that gave me the escapism I was looking for.

  • Meags
    2019-07-01 08:06

    4 StarsIt’s been said before and I’ll say it again, this is a marriage of convenience trope done right. I enjoyed this story a hell of a lot! If I sound surprised by my own reaction it’s only because I’m a complete newbie when it comes to the writing of Shira Anthony, so I had no idea what to expect from one of her works. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this story, not only for the writing quality itself, but also for the delicious plot and the endearing cast of characters.Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist and a disbeliever in all things marriage and happily ever after. His day job as a barista keeps him with a roof over his head, but leaves him with very little time to commit to the writing he so very much wishes he could explore full time. At one of his public forum readings, Chris is approached by successful businessman and eligible (presumably straight) bachelor Jesse Donovan, who shocks and tempts Chris with an out there business proposal that will undoubtedly change his life forever. Per his grandfather’s will, Jesse needs to marry (and stay married for at least a year) in order to keep control of his family’s company. In exchange for his help, Jesse will pay Chris generously for his time, also freeing Chris up to quit his day job so he can write full time. So, with his adverse views of marriage intact, Chris accepts what Jesse is offering, under the proviso that everything about this arrangement stays strictly business related. As we all know (and expect) with this trope, things don’t go as planned. Before they know it, Jesse and Chris are navigating new uncharted relationship territory when emotions start to play a part in this precarious fake-marriage game they are playing. Not only this, but the men continue to fight against an undeniable attraction they have both been harboring since they first met, but which their stubbornness has tried to deny. I truly enjoyed this story and how it played out. I loved the slow-burn of it all, with Jesse and Chris falling slowly but steadily for one another over an extended period of time before they inevitably succumb to their attraction. I appreciated the pace of the story and I found myself completely won over by Jesse and Chris and all of the varied supporting characters that served to enrich the overall story. This was definitely a successful read for me and I will definitely be exploring more of this author’s backlog in the future.

  • CrabbyPatty
    2019-07-16 10:01

    Okay, I must admit that when I first saw the covers for the new Dreamspun Desires line, I was getting flashbacks to the old Mills & Boon Harlequins. A typical plot line for one of these romances was a heroine employed as a nanny / secretary / nurse / traveling companion meeting a man roughly twice her age who was moody, brusque, rich, damaged and HAD A DARK PAST which apparently only a naive English virgin between the ages of 18-23 could soothe, mostly by gasping "Oh, Marc, I never ...... knew ..... what love ..... was ...... until I met you!"But this ain't your mother's Harlequin, and I gottta say I loved this book, which took one of those tired tropes (marriage of convenience) and made it into something contemporary and very sweet. MCs Jesse and Chris was nicely done, although I got a bit tired of Chris' jumping to weird conclusions and obsessing. The supporting characters - Wenda, Marcie Marjorie - are well done, and yeah, I want to live at Windmere. ** 3.5 stars **

  • Jennifer☠Pher☠
    2019-07-12 08:22

    I think I have some sort of love hate relationship with this series. I love the formula.I hate the formula.I'm going to go with I am enjoying these and will continue to read them until there aren't anymore to read because for as much as they are driving me crazy I keep turning the pages.It is quite the clever concept and the authors, to me, are pretty much nailing it.

  • A Girl Has No Name
    2019-06-21 12:14

    4 stars!Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist. Sleeping on the couch of his best friends in New York, Chris is dreaming of becoming a full-time writer. Considering that he has to work in a bar in order to earn his living, he has far less time for his writing than expected. Presenting his most recent work at a book reading, he is hoping for a contract taking him closer to fullfilling his dream. The moment Jesse, who is New York City's most eligible bachelor approaches him, he isn't expecting what is about to happen next. Jesse is making him a marriage proposal in the form of a business deal - Chris will be paid 1.000.000 and can work full-time on his writing, while Jesse fullfills the requirement in his grandfather's will allowing him to inherit the family business. But will Chris be able to keep the marriage business, the moment he realizes that he is falling for charming Jesse? I really enjoyed First Comes Marriage - it's a sweet slow-burn romance with interesting main characters, an intriguing grandfather, a clever stepgrandmother and a lot of ups and downs. I guess that I will have a look at the other books in the Dreamspun Desires series.

  • Ula'ndi Hart
    2019-07-06 07:03

    Overall book rating: 4 starsAudio book: Narrator- John Solo 3.5Book Cover: 3 Read this on recommendation of my best girl Love it all Bookworm.I have a feeling if I had read this instead of doing the audio I would have maybe even enjoyed it more that I did. As it is I really did enjoy the read. I liked the idea of Jesse and Chris. What was not to like it was sweet and romantic and just...I really liked it okay? I just didn’t find my groove with the audio. Sorry John Solo. I liked Jesse’s voice but to me Chris sounded like Steve Urkel and I don’t find that sexy at all. GrrrrrrrSo, back to the book. Loved it. Yeah I wanted to hit them both over the head with a heavy object a time or three but all in all I had fun. And is that not what reading is all about?

  • Jaime
    2019-07-15 07:16

    4 Stars to The Fake-to-real relationship tropeThis is book 2 in Dreamspinner Press's new Dreamspun Desires CollectionDreamspun Desires are contemporary category romance novels, complete with your favorite heartwarming heroes, captivating plots, and exotic settings. These titles are all about happily ever afters that leave you with a satisfied smile for days.In this book, much like the title suggests the two MC find themselves in a real marriage based in a fake relationship. Jesse needs to get married or lose control of his families enterprise. Chris, a struggling writer is propositioned by Jesse ... Be his husband for a year and come out of the deal rich enough to never work again Plus have the year they are married to devote to his writing. After a year, they both walk away. Nothing ever goes as planned with matters of the heart. Can these two make it a year? What about their families? Could real feelings develop? These are all issues not planned for when Jesse and Chris decided that in their relationship...First Comes Marriage....but what follows ?4 Stars *ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by JLoves2Read from Alpha Book Cluband Gay Book Reviews

  • Nerea
    2019-06-25 09:13

    I don't understand this book.What is the fun of a fake relationship plot if they actually don't spend time together faking it and falling in love??? I can see that jesse is super rich so is difficult for him to have a real friends because they may be interested in your money and that makes him a solitary type. But Chris?? It has not sense at all! Chris seems to be a normal nice guy but he only is friends with this pair, Terry and Val?? So he go to that maison when he suddenly marry all alone and barely contact them too?? I like to have friends you know?Wth is he doing at that house alone all those weeks? We only had some scenes with Jesse. Short scenes. I can only imagine his live there boring, boring as the book itself! Other negative detail, the long descriptions of every room, place, lunch, etc… that are not relevant for the story at all!!

  • Deeze
    2019-06-24 07:13

    A sweet story about falling in love.Jesse was wonderful. He stole my heart from the first. Not a poor little rich boy at all but he still made my heart hurt with the little we see of his childhood.Chris was harder for me to like. I often wanted to yell at him, especially when he was being whiny and bratty. A little too much of a hypocrite for me. Wanda made a very refreshing change. I had a feeling about her from the start and I wasn't wrong.I admit I was expecting a little more drama and heartache from this author as I know what she is capable of, but instead this is a gentle love story. Ideal for when you just need that dose of fairytale romance.

  • Aerin
    2019-07-21 09:11

    3.5 starsI've never in my life read a book with an arranged marriage trope, and to be totally honest, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by this book, because it was just so easy to read! I just started getting into it, making friends with the characters, and the next thing I know, it's all over!Chris Valentine is an author who dreams about being able to become a full time writer; like many authors out there know, it's very challenging to make a living and having a comfortable life by being a full time writer. Chris knows all about it; between his job at a coffee shop and his constant struggle to put the stories that keep him up at night on paper, Chris is disheartened. He would do anything to be able to write full time, even marry a virtual stranger....a hot stranger whom Chris would bone in a second if said stranger wasn't straight, but a stranger nonetheless.Jesse Donovan's grandfather was a great father figure to Jesse in life, but his true calling he discovered in death, by becoming a hell of a matchmaker. In order for Jesse to keep his company, he needs to get married no later than a year after his grandfather's death, or his step-grandmother gets everything. The company is everything Jesse has left from his grandfather, and he would do anything to keep it. And so ladies and gentlemen, a last-minute, unexpected, totally right marriage is born.Are you all familiar with that centuries old dance some couples do around each other before they finally give in and fuck each other's brains out? Well Jesse and Chris have danced plenty, because they don't have any kind of sex until after the 70% mark, and let me tell you, that's a lot of dancing! They lust for each other, dream about each other, lie to each other and hurt each other, but they also learn to love each other. There were quite a few things that had me stupefied, like closeted Jesse's decision to marry a man after hiding his sexuality all his life; and the fact that he lied to his husband from the very beginning by letting him believe he's straight and has no interest in men; and the whole weird relationship between Jesse and Wenda, his step-grandmother. I liked Wenda and her up-to-something-ways, but no matter how hard I tried to understand what caused so much animosity between her and Jesse, I just didn't get it!Of course, maybe because I knew this was going to be a slightly cheesy kind of book, I figured out which way the plot was going to go early on, but that didn't diminished my enjoinment. Besides, the epilogue did have a little surprise for me, along with a sweet HEA that shows the couple a year later. Jesse and Chris, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love (sometimes), second comes marriage, here comes Jesse pushing a................. read this to find out!

  • Lena Grey
    2019-07-17 12:03

    When billionaire Jesse Donovan, of 'First Comes Marriage' by Shira Anthony, offers Chris Valentine one million dollars to marry him, Chris is flabbergasted. But considering what he could do with the money, particularly when it comes to pursuing his writing career without financial worries, he puts his reservations aside and agrees. They enter into a contracted business agreement that very soon becomes much more complicated than either man could have anticipated.Chris and Jesse make a big show of getting married and appearing to be loving newlyweds. With access to a gigantic mansion on the water, including servants and several other amenities, how could Chris go wrong? Yet, almost from the start, Chris is feeling everything but businesslike toward Jesse. Although, since Jesse is straight, Chris figures the best he can hope for is good friends. After all, he and Jesse are having a great time together. They’re getting to know each other and finding common ground like their love for books. Chris turns himself inside out trying to fight his attraction to Jesse and keep things businesslike but it's becoming more difficult all the time.One fateful night, Jesse kisses Chris, then apologizes and makes a hasty retreat. Chris certainly doesn't object, but he is puzzled and intends to question Jesse about it the next morning. Unfortunately Jesse escapes to his office. Over the next few weeks, Jesse makes himself scarce, under the guise of being too busy to come home. It's only when Chris gets sick that Jesse comes back. Chris is as confused as ever because Jesse is being extremely attentive, keeping up the act of them being a loving couple even when there is no one there to witness it. Chris is beginning to suspect that Jesse is hiding something; perhaps that Jesse feels like he does, but quickly dismisses it, reminding himself that Jesse is not gay. Chris decides it must be something else. No longer trusting Jesse to be honest with him, Chris starts withholding information from Jesse, thereby digging himself in deeper all the time.There is a lot more that happens in this delightful love story, written much like a Harlequin Romance, but I don't want to give too much away. I loved Jesse and Chris; they are strong, well-developed, and sexy. Also, I enjoyed a lot of the secondary characters, particularly Craig's mom and Wenda, Jesse's step-grandmother, who was even more of an enigma than she seemed. Besides Shira's delightful characters, there's lots of intrigue and drama that kept me interested and anxious to see what would happen next. If you like romantic stories with some unexpected twists and turns, and a happy ending, then you may enjoy this book. Thanks for this charming story, Shira.

  • Sandra
    2019-07-17 06:04

    4.5 fake-to-real-marriage stars!!Thank you, Shira, for sending me this book to read! Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist, when he meets Jesse Donovan during a book reading, who offers him a deal. Under his grandfather's will, Jesse has to marry to keep control of his companies, otherwise half will go to this step-grandmother, whom he hates. Jesse grew up with his grandfather, after his parents died.Chris is a bit taken aback by the proposal, being set against marriage, but hot-as-sin Jesse woes him with dinner and gifts, and Chris reluctantly agrees to a contract - be married for a year, live with Jesse in his mansion, and get paid a cool mill for his troubles once the year is up. And while living there, he has all the time to write his next masterpiece novel. Not a bad deal for faking it, am I right?Except, Jesse is straight. Or is he? The kiss he plants on Chris indicates otherwise...Of course, it's not smooth sailing until their happy ending, what with Wanda (the rather young step-grandma) not buying the veracity of the marriage, and Jesse disappearing off to work and leaving Chris to fend for himself. Wanda doesn't seem as terrible to Chris as Jesse made her out to be, and Chris and Jesse need to work through some issues to get to where they need to be. Like the M/F Harlequin novels after which this hot new series from Dreamspinner is vaguely modeled, the book is all slow, slow burn, with the two men secretly pining for each other, but not knowing how to ask for what they didn't even know they needed. The two sex scenes are super hot and quite satisfying, for the men and this reader, haha, but they don't come until toward the end, so be prepared to wait. It's worth the wait, though. Just sayin'.I have high hopes for this series of unconnected novels, and am looking forward to the next ones. By the way, you can subscribe to these via the Dreamspinner website, and get them sent to you each month, just like the Harlequin novels they emulate. Perfect writing for what this book tried to do, with high emotions and some plot twist, this was fabulous!** I received a free copy of this book from its author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

  • Caroline Brand
    2019-06-26 12:22

    REVIEWED FOR PRISM BOOK ALLIANCEGreat on Audio too (re-read)4.5 StarsFirst Comes Marriage – is literally what happens in this backwards love story.When Jesse’s beloved grandfather died leaving him a very lucrative business he wrote a stipulation into the will. Marry within a year of his death or don’t inherit! He would still be a very wealthy man in his own right but the wicked step-grandmother Wanda will run the company.Chris wants nothing more than to spend his life bringing his characters to life but sadly it doesn’t pay the bills so he spends most of his time working as a barista and very little time on his writing.When Jesse and Chris meet they have the sort of reaction to each other that could make them good friends in the future. Chris finds himself crushing over his new straight friend but is knocked off his feet when presented with an opportunity that will change his life forever – be Jesse’s husband for a year, get a large pay cheque at the end of it and spend the year concentrating on his writing.If it sounds too good to be true and a little too easy, then it probably is.Once they are married the real problems start. Chris can’t help being attracted to Jesse and suddenly a year feels like a life sentence. This is a slow burn story with innuendo and subtle flirting that builds up the tension nicely until everything changes about half way through and Jesse has to admit to being slightly less than honest.His honesty doesn’t magically solve everything though as he has to work through a lot of issues created inside his own head. Wanda is always in the background reminding him of what he stands to lose but is she really as bad as he thinks? The ending leaves you satisfied and proves that Jesse’s grandfather was a canny old man!First Comes Marriage is warm and romantic and leaves us believing dreams come true.

  • Rick
    2019-06-20 10:10

    {{{{{{{Deep Sigh}}}}}} Shira Anthony can write a romance like no other. It must be her musical background because the books (and I know I said something similar in another review of her Blue Note series) she writes have all the required highs and lows that classical music or Opera has. In truth I LOVED this book so much that I was entirely able to see the characters and action in my head and that is something I rarely have happen. My mind just doesn't work that way so when an author squeezes into my mind like this and I find myself sighing with pleasure of tearing up because of a particular scene the Author has done more than their job. They have taken me on a ride and I go along with the characters and it's wonderful to experience that, so much so I have a hard time choosing a book to follow with.Ah such is life and Thank you Shira for making me sigh, quiver, smile and cry with all of your characters.These characters all of them in the entire book I loved them, even the one not likeable i found a crack in the veneer so see into that person.

  • Leaundra
    2019-07-13 05:14

    I loved this book. This is one of my favorite romance tropes. This book also took me way back. My first grown up romance books when I was 18 was the "Silhouette Desire"books. I read them all the time. I'm so happy Dreamspinner is doing these series of books, but with a M/M romance twist. I really did enjoy Chris and Jesse, they were very liable MC's. They were so sweet together. I'm so glad Wenda (view spoiler)[ wasn't made out to be the wicked step grandma. (hide spoiler)]. I really enjoyed this book. If you want to go back in time but want the M/M romance twist (for anyone who read the "Silhouette Desire" books) pick this one up, you won't be disappointed.

  • damnit, liz
    2019-06-25 12:01

    I was so cynical about this. It's one of the tropiest plots ever. Super rich, closeted, brooding bachelor marries do-gooder writer as part of a business arrangement. Soap opera level drama and miscommunications ensue. Estates with names. A scheming Lucille Bluth style matriarch. Wisdom from the grave of his grandfather. That cheesy cover. I mean.. so much. But ya know what? It worked for me! I found this book kinda fucking delightful, even at its campiest. It was well written melodrama. It made me smile, gave me the butterflies, and even made me shed a few tears. This is a great read for when you need something light and sweet. And totally unrealistic in a fun way.

  • Alexandra
    2019-07-03 06:26

    Really loved this book!!!!

  • Alona
    2019-07-20 12:21

    I wanted something light, sweet and easy after my last read.This was just too predictable and somewhat boring.Not for me.

  • Anita Bianchi
    2019-07-13 04:09 presente quei momenti bui in cui vi sentite giù di morale ed avete bisogno di dolcezza e amore? Io trovo che la collana Dreamspun Desires sia nata proprio per quei momenti! La storia di Chris e Jesse parte subito con il turbo: il giovane miliardario chiede allo squattrinato ma talentuoso scrittore di sposarlo. Ma il loro matrimonio sarà solo di convenienza (o forse no?) poichè Jesse è costretto a sposarsi a causa del testamento del nonno. Chris, dopo un'iniziale titubanza accetta... ma ben presto entreranno in gioco i sentimenti!Ho letto questo romanzo tutto d'un fiato e l'ho trovato perfetto per farmi dimenticare per qualche ora i problemi e le difficoltà del quotidiano facendomi vivere un'emozionante e dolcissima storia d'amore, sicuramente non priva di ostacoli ma piena di risorse e aiuti inaspettati.

  • Diverse
    2019-07-17 10:05

    This is the first of Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun Desires books I’ve read! I LOVED IT! I’m such a sucker for a great love story. Two men come together, sign a contract to save a legacy, and in doing so fall in love *sigh* what’s not to just swoon over? Chris and Jesse are so freaking adorable. Jesse broke my heart. His relationship with his step grandmother, that just tore me up. And Chris… he has a huge hang up and well, these guys are in a tangled mess and of course it takes the love of ONE man and one lovely woman to make them shape up.Shira Anthony brings us a sweet and emotional love story that will have to taking deep breaths and wishing it never ends!

  • Victorialove books
    2019-07-15 08:24

    Overall book rating: 4 stars Audio book: Narrator- John Solo 4 Stars Book Cover: 3 Stars MC1: Chris Valentine - Writer MC2: Jesse Donavan I am a sucker for a good arranged marriage book.I loved the narrator's performance in this audio especially when Jesse stuttered. This was such a sweet book and I end up loving his grandfather even more.

  • Tess
    2019-07-09 06:08

    3.25/3.5 starsThis was okay but not my favourite. Will likely appeal to those that like the arranged marriage trope. There were just a few too many eye-roll-inducing plot points for me.

  • Barb ~rede-2-read~
    2019-07-04 12:02

    Note: This audiobook was provided to me through Hearts on Fire Reviewsin exchange for an impartial review. 4.5 starsSweet, sassy, sexy times await the reader who starts listening to this wonderful audiobook. Another of the Dreamspun Desires series, in which authors take an old het romance trope and turn it into a fun MM romance, Shira Anthony hits a homerun with this one. Chris Valentine is a struggling writer living with his best friends and working as a barista in a coffee shop while waiting for his big break. His break comes in the form of millionaire Jesse Donovan, a guy who happens to meet Chris at a book reading and offers him the opportunity of a lifetime—earn one million dollars for marrying Jesse for the period of one year so Jesse can collect his inheritance from his grandfather. After getting over his initial shock and getting to know Jesse a little better, and on the advice of his friends, he decides to go for it, and he and Jesse marry. The marriage is, of course, platonic, but what neither man realizes is that they are slowly falling in love as they spend more time together. What will happen when the year is up? Will his step-grandmother contest the will to force them apart? Will either man own up to his feelings for the other? I love the way this is written. It was so easy to fall in love with the characters as the author sketched in their backgrounds and made each man immediately endearing. I’m a sucker for a sweet romance and when the story provides an entertaining cast of characters, a “wicked” stepmother figure, a romantic cruise on their own catamaran—mix it all up, and it’s hard to put this book down, or in the case of the audiobook— it’s hard to turn it off. John Solo did a great job with this one, providing variety in the vocalizations and some hot and heavy moaning where it was needed. Be still my heart! The audio of this one is so much better than any I’ve heard from this narrator in the past. I highly recommend this story, in audio if possible. It’s a great way to spend a day.