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First Comes Marriage

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  762 ratings  ·  160 reviews
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 offer
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ebook, Dreamspun Desires #2, 262 pages
Published January 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
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Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  762 ratings  ·  160 reviews


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Gigi

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.


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

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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
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 nig
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)


*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 re
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☆ Todd
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it

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 n'''marriage(yay,
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Ele
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: gay-book-reviews

*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 taccepting.here,
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Shin Mon Thway
It was a bit difficult for me to write this review because my feelings are mixed. 😁 On one hand, I like some parts of this book and on the other hand, there are some I don’t like at all. So let me just try to write a coherent review that won’t confuse you. 😉

 
First of all, I can’t describe the detailed characteristics of our two MCs because there aren’t much about them. Chris is a struggling author who’s trying to make ends meet and Jesse is a billionaire who’s desperate to marr
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SheReadsALot
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 bi
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DarienMoya

~THEN COMES LOVE~

3.5

I love the marriage out of desperation trope or arranged, anything along those lines so First Comes Marriage is already a win on that part. So I’m surprised I don’t love it, I really liked it but it lacked a certain amount of angst that would have made it sensational. I think it would have been glorious if they hated each other in the beginning…

Chris Valentine, struggling author, living on his best friends couch, and working in a coffee shop. He’s running out of options in both life and withLOVE~
I
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Shira Anthony
Oct 09, 2015 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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 gi
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Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

***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
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Meags
4 Stars

It’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
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CrabbyPatty
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 ...... kn ...more
Jennifer☠Pher☠
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
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/>Chris
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Ula'ndi Hart
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Overall book rating: 4 stars
Audio book: Narrator- John Solo 3.5
Book 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 Jess
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Jaime
4 Stars to The Fake-to-real relationship trope

This is book 2 in Dreamspinner Press's new
Dreamspun Desires Collection

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.



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 familCollection
Dreamspun
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Nerea
May 28, 2016 rated it did not like it

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 c
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Deeze
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: pick-me-up
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 expe
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Caroline Brand
REVIEWED FOR PRISM BOOK ALLIANCE

Great on Audio too (re-read)

4.5 Stars

First 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 not
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Leaundra
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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) ...more
Aerin
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, part-of-a-series
3.5 stars

I'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
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Lena Grey
Dec 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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Sandra
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 marriag
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Rick
Mar 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
{{{{{{{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 int
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dammit, that one chick
Sep 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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Alex
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m
Really loved this book!!!!
Alona
I wanted something light, sweet and easy after my last read.
This was just too predictable and somewhat boring.
Not for me.
Marc | Rainbow Gold Reviews
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was the first Dreamspun Desires book I read and I was not sure if it would work for me. I don’t want my books to be too polished, too perfect and too unrealistic. I don’t mind a nice romantic fantasy about hot guys finding love, but I still must be able to connect with the characters and be interested in their relationship.

I’m really glad that I never had a problem to connect with this story. I had high hopes, given how much I have loved other books by Shira Anthony and I’m happ
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♥️Victoria ♥️ ♥️love books♥️
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.

description

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.

description

description
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Diverse
Jan 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jan2016reads
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 an
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Shira Anthony is a complete sucker for a happily-ever-after, and rarely reads or writes a story without one. Never a fan of instalove, Shira likes to write stories about real men with real issues making real relationships work.

In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. Her Blue Notes Ser
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