Series: So Inked #3
Author: Sidney Bristol
Published: June 2014
Format: Ebook received for review
A woman who loves too much…
When Autumn’s best friend proposes a pretend marriage, the chance to make all the kisses she’s imagined real is too much for her to pass up. She seduces him with her body and enjoys pushing his boundaries and fulfilling their sexual fantasies—but her heart isn’t supposed to be part of the bargain.
A man about to take his last breath…
Sammi has just weeks left to live out his dying wish—the white picket fence, the house and the wife. If Autumn is the last woman he gets to taste he’ll die a lucky man. Her body, her heart—everything about her calls to him. But love isn’t supposed to be in the plans.
In the crucible of passion, these two lovers will find out what they’re really made from, and just how long I do lasts.
By this point, I've read a couple books by Sidney Bristol. I just love her writing. Every book I've read from her has been crazy different, yet entertaining and awesome. His Marriage Bargain happens to be book three in the So Inked series, but it can be read as a standalone. I know this is for a fact, because I've not read the other two books and not once did I feel lost or confused. And I totally adored this story! There was definitely a lot packed into these pages!
Ok, so this book is kind of a friends-to-lovers, and a little bit of a fake-romance... I mean, they aren't pretending about their relationship, but it's not a relationship for the reasons you might believe. Maybe I'm jumping ahead of myself here!
Let's start with the characters. Our hero is Autumn, who is this tattooed bombshell. Autumn is a totally awesome woman. She's strong and intelligent, yet sexy and feminine. Her life has not been easy by any means, but instead of knocking her down, she stood taller. She's covered in tattoos (love!) and is often the "victim" of prejudice and stereotypes. I quote that because you are only a victim if you let it beat you, and Autumn definitely doesn't. Autumn is also friends with Sammi, the sexy Persian playboy whose family owns the building that the So Inked tattoo shop is run out of. She knows better than to get involved with him on anything other than a friendly level, so friends it is. But they've become like best friends, and I think that's awesome. It's a fantastic foundation for what's to come.
And what's to come is Sammi, changing the boundaries up. Sammi has a terminal diseases and asks Autumn to marry him - as a friend. They will spend time together and clear off some things on his bucket list. Easy, right? Riiiight. We know what's going to happen, right? But before I get to that, let me go on a bit about Sammi. He's a terrific man - tall, dark, and handsome. But more than that, he's an actual good guy. He's not the bad boy, he's not the rebel. He cares about his friends, his family, and his business. Good guy. And yep, I still like him. He shoots everything straight and up front, and hey - you got to respect that.
So the marriage. Sigh. It's not long before the nether regions begin tingling, and the sheets start heating up with the fire these two make. I mean, seriously, when they decide to get naked and have sex it is steamy and sensual - and plentiful. Sidney Bristol does a fantastic job with this, no doubt! *fans self*
But wait - emotion. There's always emotion in a marriage, right? Right. And it's not long before one of the drops the L-bomb. And of course, the other kind of drags their feet. So it's Autumn who is falling, and Sammi who is... well, he's failing. His health, that is. I mean, he's dying. So he doesn't want to hurt Autumn any more than he has to, and he refuses to let his heart fall. I guess I can see his point, but it still made me want to ask him what the hell is thinking, ya know?
This story is told in three point of views. Autumn's, Sammi's, and someone else's who I won't name. That was a bit unusual for me, keeping up with three brains, but by the end it all made perfect sense. And don't worry, it's not confusing or distracting at all.
Tension, romance, prejudice, hot sex, family drama on both sides. You definitely get a full serving of everything. Plus there is a real twist that I've not read in a book before, and it was really terrific!! I won't go into detail about it, but let me just say you will definitely be shocked and happy at the same time!
If you like romances that aren't quite your normal romance, I'd definitely recommend His Marriage Bargain. Or heck, any of Sidney Bristol's books. I've yet to read something I didn't love!