Title: Marriage Most Convenient
Author Name & Publisher: Amberly Smith (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 26, 2015 – 116 pgs
No bank is going to give a nomadic thrill seeker a loan, even if Tom Flynn wants to develop and run a retreat for disabled kids. Good thing he’s finally old enough to pull from his trust fund. However, it would mean settling down—because accessing the money requires him to be married—so he asks his best friend, Luke, to marry him.
Luke Marten’s goal is simple: don’t go on one more crazy adventure with Tom. Knowing how successful he has been in the past, Luke has a backup plan: don’t fall in love. He’s a goner when Tom not only proposes but confesses to one seriously hot kink.
For their friendship to survive this marriage, they’ll need to face DOMA, conservative judges, and long-held beliefs about each other. Talk about getting caught by the short hairs.
Wealthy, free spirited Tom can’t inherit his fortune until he gets married. Needing the money urgently, he convinces his best friend to marry him. But before the American marriage laws changed, this isn’t a simple task.
This is a short story that feels like a morality lesson rather than a romance at times. Bad laws, bad courts and bad judges prevent a gay man from purchasing the land he needs to start a camp for disadvantaged kids. Because gay people are altruistic and American society is homophobic. Am I allowed to yawn?
The romance is a little dubious. Tom has spent his life travelling. When he wants to settle down, he looks to his best friend Luke. And then we find out that this free-spirited gay rights advocate has never told his best friend he’s gay? And we’re supposed to believe they’re actually soul mates? There needs to be a whole lot of romance to compensate for the “I’ll pay you $750,000 to marry me” plotline. And I just didn’t feel it here. I got the friendship. I understood Luke’s unrequited love. The sex was pretty hot, but I couldn’t understand why these two had never gotten together before.
I’m also not sure why Tom kept his inheritance secret from his best friend. And the story of Bob and Ashley didn’t entirely work. I’m still not completely sure how the whole situation resolved. Or if it even did.
If the point of this was to champion marriage equality, writing about a sham marriage for money probably wasn’t the best way to do it. If the point of this was to write about an unexpected love story, it is lacking the emotional resonance needed to make readers really fall for Tom and Luke.
Amberly Smith read her mom’s romance novels, pausing every other page to have her mom read a unknown word to her, so she could memorize it. Back then, authors were mythical creatures and like unicorns, only existed in people’s imaginations. It never occurred to her that she could be a writer.
Amberly lives in the Northwest with her husband, two children, mother-in-law, and a cat named Cat. Their home has become a PC graveyard where games and gadgets are discarded for the latest shiny. She likes to read in bed, write in coffee shops, and cuddle while watching Netflix or Hulu. Amberly acknowledges that she has issues with being too succinct. Feel free to ask her questions about herself. She’s not shy, just clueless what anyone would find particularly interesting about her life.
After many years and a lot of hard work, Amberly is an author. Now, to find that unicorn. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.