Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
The matchmaker meets her match…in one very persistent tycoon!
Secretive matchmaker to the rich and famous, Lydia Whitney prefers to stay behind the scenes. But after one mistake, rich resort developer Ian McNeill is hot on her trail, and he’s more attractive–and persistent–than ever before.
Ian can’t believe it when he figures out who’s messing with his family: a woman who has deceived–and seduced–him before. What’s her agenda? And why can’t he resist her? He’ll get the answers to all his questions, if Lydia agrees to his convenient marriage proposal. But once she’s in his arms again, will he let her go?
The Magnate’s Marriage Merger is part of The McNeill Magnates trilogy.
I received a free copy of this book from the author through Tasty Book Tours and voluntarily reviewed it.
The Magnate’s Marriage Merger was a solid read, well written and enjoyable. Unfortunately the romance didn’t fully work for me so I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the book. But let me start with what I did enjoy. There’s an awesome sense of continuity in this book, it works well as a sequel as we see the characters of book 1 again and even some plot lines/ topics are continued from there. I really enjoyed book 1 and I liked how the author continued some of those plot lines here. While this book focuses on another brother, we see what has become of the fist couple and there’s a twist concerning the whole family that gets dropped into this book. I am curious if we’ll see more of that in book 3 as well.
Like I am used to from Joanne Rock’s books, this book was really well written. I easily got into the story and mostly enjoyed reading it. Things were described well and the beach setting and other locations they visited seemed lovely. I also liked how she makes her characters feel real, they have their own personality, work and hobbies and such that make them feel real and makes them interesting to read about. I liked how the characters both worked in architecture and construction in this book, it was an interesting touch.
Now the part that didn’t quite work for em was the romance. At the start there’s a scene where the male main character basically forces or even threatens the female main character into marrying him. And I just couldn’t get over that. Yes I knew he cared about her and did it for all the right reasons and justified in that way, but it just felt wrong to me. The romance is a bit of a second chance romance and a fake marriage romance in one. And sadly I just didn’t feel their romance.
I did like the hints of how their first romance has played out as that felt real and emotional, although I thought the reasons they broke up was a classical case of miscommunication and I didn’t quite care for that or how they fell into the same pattern now. They judged each other harshly at times without actually talking things through. I did like how they eventually did realize they were in the wrong too and realized the feelings they had for each.
The fake marriage thing rubbed me wrong especially how it came to be. There was a sentence in the book that described it well with how the romance was a shadows or what a real marriage should be. And I guess I just wanted a real marriage or something real and passionate instead of her being forced into a marriage and then suddenly changing her mind about him and jumping into bed with him. Or maybe even a fake romance were they both agreed to the marriage and which benefits both sakes. Instead of how this only benefited both as else he would reveal her secret and she would get sued.
To summarize: this was a solid and enjoyable read, but also had a few things that didn’t work for me. I like Joanne Rock’s writing style and this book was as well written as I’ve come to expect from her books. The pace flowed well and the writing style was great. I also liked the continuity, with how we saw the couple form book 1 again and some plot lines/ topics from book 1 played a role here as well. I also liked how the characters had these bits of personality, hobbies and work that made them feel real. Sadly I didn’t feel the romance in this book. Ian basically forces Lydia into a marriage and that didn’t set well with me. And I never fully got over that part and was unable to get swept up in their romance. I did like how eventually they realized their own flaws and mistakes as well and were able to overcome that. The ending was sweet and I am looking forward to book 3.
She was a woman of habit and that would serve him well now. He hoped. He remembered how much she had enjoyed swimming first thing in the morning when they were working together in the islands of Tahiti. He’d accused her of being a mermaid with her daily need to return to the sea, but even when he’d been bleary-eyed from working late the night before, he never missed a chance to swim with her. For safety purposes, he’d told her, and not just because he enjoyed the occasional chance to slide a hand beneath her bikini top or wind the wet rope of her hair around his hand and angle her sea-salty lips for his kiss.
When the elevator sounded its dull chime, he slowly looked up. The doors opened and Lydia strode into view. His gaze fell on her long, shapely legs, the hem of her black mesh tunic revealing a hint of thigh.
“Ian?” Her voice tugged his attention higher, pulling his focus to her green eyes and creamy skin devoid of makeup.
With her hair scraped back into a ponytail, she looked every inch the part of his earthy, warmhearted lover from last summer. He had to remember that she hadn’t been the woman he thought, that he’d been wrong about her, or he might have swept her up into his arms and ridden the elevator back up to her hotel room to remind her how good they were together in at least one respect.
Sex. Raw, sensual, mind-blowing sex.
His pulse ramped up at the steamy memories, so much so that he had to shut down those thoughts and focus on the present or his plan would be doomed before he even started.
“Hope you don’t mind if I join you.” Ian tucked his phone back into the pocket of the cargo shorts he’d slid on over his swim trunks.
She halted in front of him abruptly. Then, eyes sliding to the desk attendant, she stepped closer. Probably she did it to minimize the chance of being overheard.
Ian liked the opportunity to breathe in the scent of her—the lavender fragrance of the detergent she washed her clothes in and a subtle perfume more complex than that.
“What on earth are you doing here?” She glanced over her shoulder. “You realize most of the consultants working on the Foxfire are staying in this hotel? What will they say if someone sees us together at this hour?”
“They’ll think we had a whole lot more fun last night than they did.”
Last night, he’d paced the floor of his penthouse suite for far too long, thinking through every aspect of a contract marriage and what details he should include in the paperwork.
In the end, she would sign. But she wasn’t going to like him forcing her hand, and that bothered him more than it should have.
“And that doesn’t concern you? I happen to enjoy a hard-earned reputation as a professional.” Her clipped words and the high color in her cheeks told him he’d gotten under her skin in record time.
“If you don’t want anyone to see us together, we might as well hit the beach. Take refuge in the water.” His hand itched to touch her. To rest on the small of her back and steer her out the door, across the street and onto the soft sand. But he had to be careful not to push or she could dig her heels in about his suggestion and delay the whole thing.
Now that he’d made up his mind and seen the benefits of a union between the two of them, he couldn’t think of one damn reason why he should delay.
After narrowing her green eyes at him for an instant, she pivoted on her wedge sandals and strode toward the exit.
He caught up to her in two long steps, holding the door wide for her before as they headed out onto Ocean Drive, which was strangely quiet in the predawn dark. There were more joggers on the beach than bathers; a few runners kicked up sand as they pounded past them.
“It’ll be quieter down here.” He pointed out a stretch of the shore where no beach loungers had been set up yet, a spot free from any hotel guests.
In fact, he’d claimed the location for them earlier when he’d ordered a cabana and sunrise breakfast. Lydia apparently didn’t notice his preparations, however, instead appearing too absorbed in her frustrated march toward the water, her feet churning through the sand at breakneck pace.
The horizon was starting to smudge from inky black to purple as she reached the shoreline and kicked off her shoes. Then she yanked the black mesh cover-up off and over her head. Mesmerized by her silhouette as his eyes adjusted to the light, Ian watched as she ran into the surf and made a shallow dive under an oncoming wave… She was a woman of habit and that would serve him well now. He hoped. He remembered how much she had enjoyed swimming first thing in the morning when they were working together in the islands of Tahiti. He’d accused her of being a mermaid with her daily need to return to the sea, but even when he’d been bleary-eyed from working late the night before, he never missed a chance to swim with her. For safety purposes, he’d told her, and not just because he enjoyed the occasional chance to slide a hand beneath her bikini top or wind the wet rope of her hair around his hand and angle her sea-salty lips for his kiss.
About the Author
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
There’s a tour wide giveaway during this tour. These are the prizes:
Prize 1: a Lily Pulitzer weekly calendar, makeup bag, scented soap, nail polish set and romance by Maisey Yates and Joanne Rock ( 1 winner – US Only).
Prize 2: $10 Amazon GC and digital download of The Magnate’s Mail-Order Bride by Joanne Rock (1 winner, open INTL)
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