An Offer He Can't Refuse by Theresa Ragan
Madison Phillips needs a husband fast. Someone who can put on the performance of his life...someone tall, dark, and temporary.
According to her grandfather's trust, she must marry before she turns thirty if she wants to inherit millions of dollars. Otherwise, the money will go to her cousin, Heather.
Jackson Lang, a thirty-four-year-old self-made millionaire, lost his father when he and his little brother were toddlers. With a sickly mother who was underpaid and over worked, Jackson was left to care for his younger brother. He grew up believing that the good things in life went to those with money and power...those who took control...those who worked a little harder than the next guy.
Jackson is mourning the death of Walter Garrett, a man who took him and his brother under his wing, when Walter's widow, Heather, asks Jackson for a favor. Madison and Jackson must convince family and friends that they are in love. Not an easy feat considering they don't even like one another.
Madison knows that her time is running out--if she is going to find someone to marry for three months before she turns thirty, she needs to find them really soon. After spending several evenings in bars trying to find a likely candidate, she finally spots one--he is good looking and seems to have kind eyes. When she works up her courage to go over to him and tell him her business/marriage proposal, she is surprised when he goes along with it.
What Madison is unaware of, is that Jackson was not in the same space as her through coincidence but rather through planning. Jackson has been told that Madison is a money-hungry gambler who id planning on ripping off his friend and mentor's widow with an unfair inheritance. While Jackson would prefer to not get involved at all, his promise to his dying friend to watch out for Heather makes Jackson feel obligated to get involved in the absurd scheme. He will agree to marry Madison and then apply for an annulment before the three months are up but after it is too late for Madison to make the plan work with someone else.
It is what happens after the agreement is made that really makes this book; the two steps forward, one step back dance between Madison and Jackson. The slow peeling away of each other's layers. The hilarious misconceptions each holds about the other (especially when Madison things Jackson has something going on with his cook!)...Nothing in this book by Theresa Ragan breaks new ground, but everything in it was perfect for a morning when I just wanted to lose myself in a sold read with main characters I could root for, a screwball comedy plot, and secondary characters who truly added to the story rather than detracting (or distracting) from it. While it was an overall predictable read, ti was nonetheless enjoyable due to the great writing. Smooth with great pacing, this story flowed by in a couple of hours and left me satisfied just like the best comfort-foods do. I encourage you to give it a try.