Overall rating – 4 silken sheets
Sex wasn’t supposed to be part of the deal.
Three years into a marriage of convenience, Molly’s high-powered CEO husband wants to add a new term to their marriage agreement. Sex—without any messy emotional entanglements. But weekly sex with Luke, despite their carefully negotiated terms, is likely to get messy eventually.
Content in a mutually beneficial arrangement, Molly isn’t going to fall for Luke the way she fell for an old lover, only to be crushed in the end. She vows to stay strong, no matter how much intimacy develops between them in bed. When her old lover returns, finally wanting a real relationship, Molly has the chance to give her heart to a man who will accept it.
It’s too bad she now wants to give it to her husband, who has never admitted her heart is what he wants.
Going with Luke to six social events a month was part of their negotiated agreement.
Yet again, my planned reading list was tossed out of the window when I saw this book. Blame it on my being a Gemini – I have a short attention span 🙂
Anyway, A Negotiated Marriage is an interesting take on an old Mills & Boon trope. You know, husband and wife get together for non-romantic reasons, and then fall in love. It’s been done before, but not quite like this – and not quite so well. The interesting difference in ANM is that Molly and Luke have been ‘husband and wife’ for three years. Three years of living together (separate bedrooms) and making regular social appearances. Three years of living separate lives, but of becoming close friends at the same time.
She leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. “You’re absolutely adorable.”
Luke, a self-made business magnate and workaholic, initiated the agreement when he became fed up of women constantly hitting on him. He didn’t have the time or energy for a relationship. Molly, with her heart recently broken, was the ideal choice, and the arrangement has worked out just fine for them both.
Minor tweaks to the contract are commonplace, but Luke wants to make a bigger change this time.
Luke cleared his throat and cut his eyes back to her. “I want to have sex with you.”
The story is told entirely in Molly’s POV, and there are times when you want to give her a good shake. It’s blindingly obvious to the reader that Luke wants more than just the agreed sex-one-night-each-week, but she doesn’t see it. She wants it, longs for it even, but fails to understand that Luke feels the same. Doubtless, the whole plot could have been resolved with one quick chat half way through, but it would have made for a very short story.
“Nothing would change about our arrangement except the sex. So why don’t we give it a try? If it’s not good, we won’t continue.”
His words actually made some degree of sense to her. They were consenting adults. They respected each other. Sex didn’t necessarily have to be a big deal. Maybe they could enjoy it as a perk of their marriage, without it getting overly complicated.
As it stands, ANM is a quick and light read, with just the right amount of angst from Molly and Luke. Their first sexual encounters are skimmed over and a little awkward, and I began to wonder if this would truly be erotica, but thankfully Noelle Adams was just playing with me. The sexual action cuts in with a healthy dose of tension and heat, when Molly starts to become emotionally involved with Luke. I approved 🙂
“You have to ask before you barge in.”
He reached out to touch her at last, but it wasn’t a grope, wasn’t even sexual. He gently pushed her sopping hair back from her face and then cupped her cheek. “I’m asking,” he murmured, never looking away from her eyes. “Do you want me to leave?”
There’s enough conflict to keep the plot moving along, and some fine displays of muted jealousy from Luke.
“You can’t think I would allow another man to come on to my wife like that, right in front of me and the rest of the city.”
Molly felt a sharp, unexpected stab of pain. She suddenly understood what was happening here. It wasn’t jealousy, possessiveness, or any sort of new feeling that was causing Luke’s behaviour after all. Of course, Luke wouldn’t want Mason to come on to her. How humiliating for him to have people start to wonder if Luke’s wife was going to cheat on him.
Or if she already had.
Appearances mattered in their marriage, after all. More than any sort of reality.
There are some days when you want light and undemanding, and this fitted my reading needs perfectly. I’ll look out for more from Noelle Adams 🙂
Overall rating – 4 silken sheets
Sexy rating – 4 lips
Plot – good
Characters – very good
Warnings – none
DETAILS: Genre: Contemporary erotic romance Published: January 2013; $2.99 (Amazon)
Publisher: self published
Author website: Noelle Adams