Review: The Marriage Merger by Jennifer Probst
The Marriage Merger (Marriage to a Billionaire #4)
by: Jennifer Probst
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 400 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
I remember reading and loving the first book in the Marriage to a Billionaire series, The Marriage Bargain. Naturally, when I saw this pop up on NG, I knew I had to read it! While I enjoyed The Marriage Merger, I felt that it was a bit longer than it needed to be. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and I feel that Probst did a good job of really showing us the many facets of Julietta and Sawyer. This is told in dual POV, which is always a plus, but even more so here because Sawyer is really a very complex character. I felt by seeing his POV, I was able to connect and empathize with him even more so than if Julietta were the sole storyteller. I was also bothered by the fact that I couldn't help but notice some similarities between this book and Fifty Shades of Grey. Jennifer definitely added her own twists to this book, but Sawyer really reminded me too much of Christian and that did bother me a bit.
Let's start with Sawyer. He is in the luxury hotel business and has become very successful and very wealthy. He is a strong, dominant male in all aspects of his life. He comes from a rough childhood, having endured living in an abusive foster family situation and bears the scars (both physically and mentally) to prove it. He is not the looking for love kind of guy, as he doesn't believe he could ever actually provide love and a family to someone else. When he first meets Julietta, they are instantly attracted to one another. Their chemistry is off the charts. However, he is unsure if it is wise to mix business with pleasure. He doesn't dwell on it long before making his decision.
"Yet something pulled him to her. Twisted his insides with a raw need to strip her surface bare and make her face who she really was. The way she responded to his demand that she say his name spoke volumes. She had natural submissive tendencies, which intrigued his dominant side. What would she be like in bed? Her mind was so bent on constant control, he bet she had a hard time focusing on the pleasures of her body. He could teach her." (e-ARC 27)
Julietta, as you read from the quote above, craves control and stability. She is not like her younger sister, Carina, who has been hounding her to try out the love spell that has worked in the past for her and her sister-in-law and friend. Julietta thinks it's silly and wonders why her sister won't let up on the fact that she can be just as happy as a single, independent woman. Julietta has a very strong personality and is a complete work-a-holic. She also doesn't bother with sex, believing it to be overrated. She has never been able to completely give herself over and form that kind of intimate connection with a man, thus never experiencing what it is to have an orgasm. When Sawyer strolls into her life, oozing sexiness and confidence, she is tripped up. She starts out strong, telling him that they are simply business associates and nothing more. She's not looking for friendship other anything else with him. However, Sawyer Wells is nothing but persistent. He is constantly pushing Julietta, making her uncomfortable with her desire, but what she doesn't realize is that he's slowly drawing her out of her tightly wound world and showing her that she's a beautiful woman that deserves to be pleasured.
What was supposed to be one night of unbridled passion turns into something much more. Both Julietta and Sawyer are left reeling at the emotions and raw desire they have for one another. However, where Julietta finds herself falling in love with Sawyer, he has made it clear that he doesn't fall in love. Julietta definitely shakes his world up and he starts to question himself and the feelings he's kept locked up for so long.
One of my other favorite characters in the story is Wolfe. Sawyer took Wolfe in and gave him a job after he tried stealing from him. Sawyer was able to recognize a hurting soul and gave him what no on else would: a chance. Wolfe has a past also and is very reluctant to trust and let other people in. People are also wary of trusting him, but Julietta pays no attention to this and gives him a chance after the rest of the Board basically scoffed at his presence. Wolfe can act as blasé as he wants when it comes to emotions and opening up, but he really looks up to Sawyer as a role model and Sawyer can act as blasé as HE wants about Wolfe's presence: Wolfe means a hell of a lot more to him than he would let anyone believe.
And then there's Mama Conte. More like Mama Matchmaker! She rocked my socks off! She met Sawyer back when he was younger and offered advice when he needed it most. She is the embodiment of a true Italian mother. She's meddlesome, but really want her daughter to be taken care of and most of all- happily married. Sawyer has been in her debt for a long time and finally she calls it in, telling him she wants him to marry Julietta.
She welcomes both Sawyer and Wolfe into the family with no hesitation and shows them how a true family operates. I also loved seeing the whole Conte family come together towards the end of the book: Julietta's brother Michael and his wife Maggie, her sister Carina and her husband Max, and Alexa and Nick (from The Marriage Bargain) all show up and I loved those scenes with them all together.
Overall, despite some of the book's lag and the similarities of Sawyer to Christian Grey, I enjoyed this one. There is such a strong message of family, love, and hope and I really liked seeing Julietta and Sawyer's relationship grow and evolve into something more.