Paper Marriage Proposition
by Red Garnier
(Silh. Desire #2064, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-73077-3
Revenge is never a good motivation for romance for me and this tale is filled with revenge seeking people. I could never get past the first view of both of the main characters; a view that did not show either in a good light. By the time the author wanted the reader to rejoice in their HEA, I just couldn't buy it.

Bethany Lewis is divorced from Hector Halifax. Hector is not a saint and, in fact, may be the devil. He is involved in many unsavory practices, especially given that he is a medical doctor. Those practices involve drugging a woman he was having an affair with and then luring her into driving, whereby she was involved in an accident that killed her and her child. He is also doing some money laundering. Bethany finally got up the nerve to leave him, but he took their six year old son and has full custody. In the custody trial, he fabricated stories and pictures, painting Beth as an unfit mother. She is determined to get her son.

Beth approaches Hector's main enemy - Landon Gage. Gage happens to be the husband and father of the two people killed. He hates Hector and has vowed to get revenge. Beth offers to marry Landon, thus giving her respectability to get her son back. In exchange, she will share a book with Landon that has data that will prove all of Hector's crimes. They both get what they want. Landon is crude and very angry. He is nasty. Beth is clinging and acts like she is going to have a nervous breakdown. But they both agree to the plan and are bent on ruining Hector and getting back Beth's son.

We have a marriage of convenience which, of course, involves two people who are often filled with lust just by the sight of each other. I really struggled with this. Neither is a particularly nice person, both are filled with hate and anger. Landon's family is thrilled that Beth is now in Landon's life, swearing that she is a good influence on him and brings him peace. It is good that the author kept telling us this because it is not something seen in their interactions. Beth goes from cowering abused wife to feisty angry woman at the drop of a hat. Landon too seems to have multiple personalities and I am not sure I liked either of them.

The story line deteriorates when Landon misinterprets one of Beth's actions: just when it looked like they might really have a relationship, they are back to hating and mistrusting each other all the time. The ending is speedy and the turn-around so quick it is too good to be true.

Garnier has an interesting style of writing. Despite my dislike, the book moves quickly and the sexual tension is well written. Readers see glimpses of a nice family when Beth's son is there and the family get-togethers with Landon and his family show that her style is very readable. I actually enjoyed those parts of the story.

Paper Marriage Proposition is one of those tales that either resonates with the reader or it doesn't. It did not with me, and I have to warn you away. But if you like the plot line, the book has its moments and you may find more of them than I did.

--Shirley Lyons

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