Review: Shira Anthony – First Comes Marriage

first comesAuthor: Shira Anthony
Reviewer: SheReadsALot
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: 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 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?

Review: 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 Romancelandia…it 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 bachelors and 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?


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 introduced…it 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. 😀

I’d recommend this to Dreamspun Desires readers in a heartbeat.

Totally cute.


Dreamspinner Press

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