Title: The Husband Gambit
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 489 Pages
At a Glance: Overall, this is an entertaining romance, and I definitely recommend it.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: 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.
Review: This new romance by LA Witt is a friends-to-lovers, fake relationship/marriage trope story that is, overall, a pleasure to read. Honestly, most authors cannot pull off the whole ‘marriage as a contract agreement’ storyline, but Witt sets us up beautifully for it, and gives you an entirely plausible foundation so that you can sink into this romance and enjoy it. While I didn’t exactly buy into the reason that the MC wanted to buy a husband, I did buy into the characters themselves—I just didn’t agree with the motive. I don’t believe that the end justifies the means. Ever. But Witt anticipated that and as the story unfolds, it is pointed out that oftentimes even noble intentions have real life consequences that can hurt more than they heal.
“The super condensed Cliff’s notes version is that my father is planning to run for governor next year. On a liberal progressive platform.”
Jesse Ambrose is painfully aware of what it takes to grow up in an environment where nothing is as it seems. Everything about his life has been perfectly constructed by his manipulating and overbearing homophobic father, who is also part of the great Hollywood elite and knows how to hide his true colors well. Wealth, power, influence, his father has them all and if Jesse knows what is good for him, he will fall in line or risk losing all he has. His family, his house, his car, all paid for by the man he calls father—so that said man can keep him under his control always. But Jesse is ready to break free. And coming up with a scheme to expose his father for the homophobic bigot that he is, and make sure that the man can never gain political office, is Jesse’s only goal. What I didn’t expect was that Jesse would be such a likable kinda guy. You sympathize with him, and you find empathy for his situation and the fact that he is just a normal guy who has been pushed to an extreme by a family and a father who are unbelievably dominating. In Jesse’s opinion, paying someone $1.2 million dollars to help expose his father is a small price to pay for the greater good. The thing is, Jesse can be a little naïve and as his deceptions start piling up on him, his conscience kicks. What he never expected was to have someone like Hayden in his life, and feelings are getting involved, and Jesse has to evaluate whether what he is doing to his father is worth what he is doing to Hayden.
When Hayden answers the ad to be some guy’s husband for a year, he does so with the mindset that it will not only pay off his student loans but help his roommates out of their financial funk also. Between the three of them, they have more degrees than wall space to hang them on, but so far the job market hasn’t been kind and all three are struggling. Marry some guy or continue to eat Ramen for every meal? Hmmm, yeah, I’ll take the guy. When Jesse outlines his plan, Hayden understands the motivations behind it and steps on board a hundred percent. Things get complicated pretty fast between the two, and lines start to get blurry: what’s real and what’s fake? At this point Hayden takes a step back and while he continues to play the dutiful fiancé, behind closed doors he and Jesse are just friends. It’s a line in the sand that Hayden cannot cross until he feels he can experience Jesse away from his family and this paradigm that they have created. After all, what will Jesse be like after he has destroyed his only family and has nothing left—no home, no money, no car. When he’s left with nothing but Hayden, will Jesse still love him for helping him destroy it all?
I totally loved Jesse and Hayden together. I did not appreciate the politics, not because I didn’t agree or whatever, I just don’t prefer them to be in my romances. However, happily the story doesn’t dwell on that aspect too much. I thought the MCs made adult decisions and learned to take responsibility for their own actions within the plot device. But I thought it lagged in the middle and was a tad repetitious with a circling of the storyline around the same narrative one too many times. I really liked that we got the perspective from both Hayden and Jesse. Getting to see the story and experience the emotions of both men helped to keep my interest and move the story forward.
There are moments of lightness to the whole story; Hayden especially has a real sense of humor, and his quips will make you laugh out loud. And these two guys really make a connection; as they work toward this common goal, they learn the little things about each other that really cement their relationship outside of the charade. Overall, this is an entertaining romance, and I definitely recommend it.
“The truth is, most of the time when I’m with you, I forget all about our deal because it really does feel like a real relationship. Like…” He swallowed hard. “Like the closest thing I’ve ever known to a real, loving, healthy relationship. And it’s been killing me that the best thing I’ve ever had with someone wasn’t real. He touched my face. “Except maybe it was.”
You can buy The Husband Gambit here:
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07K2ZDZDZ?d” style=”blue” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon/Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]