Title: The Husband Gambit
Author: L.A. Witt
Release Date: November 15, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 95,000 words approx.
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Marry me for 1 year. Payment: $1.2 million.
Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.
The ad isn’t a joke. Jesse Ambrose is absolutely serious. His father, the charismatic patriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty, has his eye on politics, and he’s counting on California’s liberals and progressives to elect him. But Jesse knows what his father believes when cameras and voters aren’t around. As the election looms, he’ll do anything to force the man’s hand and show the public who Isaac Ambrose really is.
Anything, including marrying a stranger so his father will make good on his promise to disown Jesse if he ever takes a husband.
Now he just has to wait for his father to take the bait… and try not to accidentally fall in love with his fake husband.
I must admit the whole “fake relationship / husband for hire” theme is my drug of choice, and Witt does a wonderful job in pulling this off in “The Husband Gambit.”
We get loads of background on Jesse Ambrose and his majorly dysfunctional father who is a Hollywood heavy hitter. You can completely understand why Jesse has committed to bringing him down, and why he feels the “fake husband” plan will succeed. Hayden is a great character and you also get why he is willing to marry Jesse for money, and the betterment of his future and that of his friends. It takes a while to present the plan and richly develop the characters, but the pacing of the book is lively and it really holds your interest until the plan is set into motion.
And once everything is ready? Holy Hannah, Hayden and Jesse have chemistry in spades and their honeymoon cruise spent testing the structural integrity of all the furniture in their suite? Frickin’ Priceless. But again it works because Witt has set the stage for these two men getting to know each other as friends, get comfortable with their daily routines and let the sizzling slow-burn get ignited. My only niggle was
- Hayden checking his bank balance while on the cruise, seeing his second $100,000 payment, immediately feeling like he was a paid whore, telling Jesse he can’t sleep with him anymore, and having Jesse immediately agree and completely understand. It all felt a bit too much like a plot point to keep them apart until the finale of the book and didn’t feel organic to their characters.