Sold Into Marriage by Ann Major
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really loved this book. It had the right mix of sexiness, angst, intense attraction, and equally intense love. Adam and Josie are two people who shouldn't have ended up together, but perhaps that was their fate, as they connect on a lonely Christmas Eve in Paris. For a moment in time, she isn't his brother's unsuitable would-be fiance' and he isn't the brother of the man who is wooing her.
Josie had a traumatic past, having been unwittingly abandoned to live with illiterate trappers in the Louisiana swamps by her rich family. She made a mistake and got involved with an opportunistic artist, who made a risque naked video of her without her permission, and exhibited it for everyone to see. Her family sends her to Paris while the scandal dies down, where she paints gargoyles and studies art, working in her friend's art gallery, and determined to stay free of men for a while. Lucas Ryder is a Texan who is following in the footsteps of Hemingway, and is determined to be more than a friend to her. When Lucas' mother finds out about this unsuitable woman, she sends Adam to investigate her and possibly pay her off.
Adam sees a seductive and beautiful woman who gives him a show in her window. There is an instant, powerful connection that he can't ignore. He has to be with her, even knowing that she's his brother's girlfriend (at least in Lucas' mind). They share a meal, and end up sleeping together. The next morning, Josie finds out who he is and feels terribly betrayed, and sends him on his way. He's just another man who looks down on her, and is out to use her.
Josie finds out she's pregnant a couple of months later, and her friend tells Adam. Adam goes back to Paris and gets Josie to agree to marry him for a long as she's pregnant, so he can take care of her and make sure that his baby has his family's name. They are both determined to see this as a marriage of convenience, although they are both in love with each other. Josie's insecurity complicates things, because she's afraid to admit to her feelings and constantly pushes Adam away. Adam made some mistakes in his past after his older brother died to save him. He had lived a circumspect life in the present, avoiding 'wild women' like Josie. He doesn't want to be in love, although Josie draws him like no other woman.
I felt for Josie, for how she'd suffered, and how she believed she was unworthy of love. Having been abandoned by her real family for many years, and when she's finally brought home, she was treated as though she was inadequate because of having run wild in the swamps for those years. She stumbled into inappropriate relationships in which she got hurt. When she meets Adam, she felt drawn to him, not knowing who he was. But, when she finds out that he's from a prominent Texas family, she doesn't feel like she can be the wife that he would want. I liked Josie. She was a sweet, kind woman, looking for love, but afraid that she was not worthy of being loved. I liked Adam too. He was deluded about himself, thinking he couldn't fall in love because he didn't deserve it after his brother died for him. He is bewildered by the fact that he fell in love with Josie, who seems so different from his longtime girlfriend, who fits into his structured life.
I liked the emotions in this book, and the strong bond between Adam and Josie. The powerful attraction between them that they had to sort out into feelings that could give them a lasting, loving marriage. I read this book quickly, eager to see this couple get their happy ending. This one was definitely a winner for me.
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