Dec 16 2015 2:00pm

Marriage of Convenience Business: Marriage Contracts as Business Contracts in Romance Novels

The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert

Heroes and Heartbreakers is thrilled to welcome Katee Robert to the site today. Katee's latest release, The Marriage Contract, will come out in paperback on December 22. While friends-to-lovers might be the genre's sweetheart, we have our own soft spot for marriage of convenience. The Marriage Contract features a mob twist on a marriage of convenience, and she's here today to talk about marriages that were more political or business maneuvers than acts of love. Thanks, Katee!

The marriage of convenience trope is one of my favorites. What’s not to love? You have two people who probably aren’t that interested in each other—at least on the surface—forced into walking down the aisle and the intimacy of living together. Bonus points if they sorta maybe hate each other, but are forced into marriage circumstances beyond their control into the relationship. It’s romanceland gold.

We see them a lot in historical romances—a marriage to cement an alliance, to save a lady’s reputation, to cover up a surprise pregnancy. With contemporary romances, the initial reason for the marriage tends to be a little less straightforward. Is there some note in a will of a relative that requires a CEO to be married to claim his extended fortune? Or maybe a business deal with potential partners who would be comforted if they saw the playboy billionaire settle down with a nice woman?

Maybe it’s a heroine on the run and needing to marry into the hero’s family to force them to protect her. Or maybe it’s the hero and heroine marrying in order to align their criminal families and secure the power base. Or a marriage made for appearance’s sake to make a candidate more attractive for a particular position.

This subgenre—the marriage for power and/or safety—brings together both the old world and the new, combining the best parts of historicals and contemporaries. These stories tend to feature heroes who are closer to kings than CEOs—motorcycle gangs, mobsters, multi-generational political families. They all rely on a power structure that is more dictator than democracy, and most of these stories happen in worlds where people aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.

A marriage of convenience spawned because of a desire for protection or power brings forward an element of danger that only ups the sexiness factor as far as I’m concerned. He and his MC brothers have to protect her from her father? Man, he better keep a really intense eye on her body. To keep her safe, you know. Two political families clearing a path to presidency? I can’t wait to watch their icy distance melt in the face of their white-hot chemistry. Rival mob families securing their power base by pushing two of their members down the aisle? They’ve been trained to be enemies from birth, but that wariness makes for some breathtakingly sexy encounters of the oh-my-God-we-shouldn’t variety.

Some of my favorites include:

Reaper’s Property by Joanna Wylde (not technically a marriage of convenience, but all the required elements are there)

His Ring is Not Enough by Maisey Yates

Bound by Duty by Cora Reilly

Knocked Up by the Bad Boy by Vanessa Waltz

And, of course, my very own The Marriage Contract.

If you haven’t picked up one of these types of books, I cannot recommend them enough. They are my catnip. You get high stakes and high tension, all wrapped up in a sexy package. To me, that makes for one unputdownable book.


Learn more about or order a copy of The Marriage Contract by Katee Robert, out now: 

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Katee Robert learned to tell stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her favorites then were the rather epic adventures of The Three Bears, but at age twelve she discovered romance novels and never looked back.

Though she dabbled in writing, life got in the way—as it often does—and she spent a few years traveling, living in both Philadelphia and Germany. In between traveling and raising her two wee ones, she had the crazy idea that she’d like to write a book and try to get published.

Her first novel was an epic fantasy that, God willing, will never see the light of day. From there, she dabbled in YA and horror, before finally finding speculative romance. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to write entire books about the smoking-hot relationships between two people?

She now spends her time—when not lost in Far Reach worlds—playing imaginary games with her wee ones, writing, ogling men, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.



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Jennifer Proffitt
1. JenniferProffitt
I LOVE Marriage of Convenience! And I actually haven't read a lot of these so I can't wait to get started!
2. LindsayAarons
Hi Katee! Good luck with your release to paperback!

I love this trope too, although if the intimacy (emotional, not physical) doesn't come early enough I tend to get impatient and then not believe it when it finally happens. I also find some of the contemporary circumstances a little outlandish sometimes, but I'm pretty good at suspending disbelief. :)

Some other options for those who love this trope:
- The Cinderella Deal, by Jennifer Crusie
- The Perfect Match, by Kristan Higgins
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