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: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 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..
The book blurb summarizes the book quite well so I won’t rehash.
I enjoyed this quite a bit. The premise of the book was intriguing, and the plot and characters delivered in spades. I loved Hayden’s sense of humor, his outlook, and down-to-earth approach to life. Hayden’s friends were perfect – not “tell all besties” (if you’ve read other reviews I’ve done, you know my thoughts on that trope), but solid, “I’ve got your back” buds.
Jesse is one of five siblings (if I counted correctly) all micro-managed by their politically driven father. Jesse is a really nice guy, he’s putting his career and entire entitled lifestyle on the line to prove to the State of California his father doesn’t stand for what he says he does.
I adored Jesse and Hayden as a couple. If anything, they were perhaps a bit too perfect. They’re both naturally gorgeous, they talk issues out (except for The Big One), and their co-habitation is domestic perfection.
A handful of items bumped this from a five star to a four star book for me:
- Lack of a few early dates/courtship. I was perplexed as to why, once the agreement was signed and before the Engagement Announcement, why didn’t Jesse and Hayden do a couple of public dates. I found the transition between contract and engagement a bit…abrupt and made some of the following story feel a bit implausible.
The co-habitation. If anyone were to visit Jesse and Hayden at the condo, I think some red flags would go up due to the separate bedrooms and I kept waiting for that to happen.
Issac Ambrose. If he was so dead set against the marriage, why didn’t he hire a private detective to investigate the situation? For a man with as much power and ambition and animosity as he, it seemed the logical course of action. Which ties back into the dating/courtship to establish background.
The lead up to the climatic confrontation became a bit long by about two chapters in my humble opinion. For myself, the light angst was established, both men were realizing they were in over their heads on several levels, and I admit, it was feeling a bit repetitive.
As I noted above, I did enjoy this book quite a bit. I thought Hayden’s character really explored the gambit of emotions a person could go through in this situation: amazement, relief, disbelief, fear, angst, conflict, and more. Jesse’s character was a perfect counterpoint, having concocted the plan, envisioning how it would play out, but still not being wholly prepared mentally for what does happen. The two as a couple were so sweet, Hayden’s friends were what I expect best buds to be, and the remaining supporting characters made for a solid and engaging story.