The Bargain by Desiree Holt
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
Length: Full Length (196 pages)
Other: M/F, anal sex
Rating: 4.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Carnation
Lara McKee's life came to a crashing halt the night her husband was killed in a carjacking and she lost their unborn child. Now she channels all her energy into her job as assistant to Cole Cassidy, sexy CEO of Alamo Construction. Cole's own life is a mess. A shotgun marriage based on a lie and the fiery death of his wife on the highway have left him with a child to raise that's a constant reminder of his first wife's lies and deceit. Both of them have written marriage out of their future.
But Cole desperately needs someone to mother the child and take charge of his personal life. When he proposes a marriage of convenience to Lara, who still yearns for motherhood, she shocks herself by accepting. And so these two people, carrying a van load of emotional baggage, begin to build a life together under almost impossible circumstances. Conflict builds over the child, whom Lara falls in love with at once and Cole ignores.
Beneath the daily conflict, love unexpectedly begins to grow. But at the moment they dare to explore their feelings, anger over the child erupts and the night turns into a disaster that nearly destroys the marriage. Slowly, bit by bit, they begin to re build their relationship, carefully nurturing these new feelings. But it takes another near-tragedy before they can finally get past the hurdles to complete happiness and truly become a family.
Tara McKee's life is about to be changed beyond anything she could possibly imagine. The gorgeous, lonely-but-finished-with-love widow; a competent secretary in a hugely successful construction company is about to get an offer that this childless, isolated woman cannot refuse from her boss, Cole Cassidy. The bargain: a marriage of convenience which will make her the surrogate mother to an adorable baby and assure permanent financial security for her and her parents.
Cole, who lost his wife months before, hasn't been able to look at the baby left in his care ever since. The reasons for his attitude are a mystery that he firmly guards at all costs. Lost in the agony of his grief, he wants someone who will bring order to his life and a mother to his child. His rules include a 'no intimacy' clause.
When Tara sees the beautiful baby girl so neglected and alone, she agrees to his bargain and moves into his sprawling home immediately. What she doesn't bargain for is the intense attraction and strong emotions she has for the black eyed, ruggedly handsome, lean and muscular six-foot-four-sexy-man that she marries within a week. The desire the two have for each other leads them through a minefield of erotic fantasies and carefully guarded feelings of growing passion as they dutifully stand by their bargain of a sexless marriage on into many months.
The secret star of the story is baby Molly. I love the way Ms. Holt made her the sweet key to the complicated problem the two lovers managed to construct. This is a tender, emotionally inspiring story of the creative and healing powers of love. Especially the love for a child. The sensitive way Ms. Holt brought about the opening of Cole's wounded heart over time was beautiful and inspired hope. While this isn't a new tale in romantic literature, Ms. Holt made it fresh and appealing with her irresistible story telling and realistically modern scenarios.
This lovely and absorbing tale is both a vividly erotic steaming-hot read and a sentimental tear jerker. Ms. Holt writes sex scenes that scorch the ink off the pages. The only reason I didn't rate this story higher were the editing errors in the book. While it didn't distract from my enjoyment of the story, I feel that it did reflect negatively on the publisher. While I'm saddened that such a wonderful story wasn't given the editorial 'respect' that it deserved, I still do not hesitate to heartily recommend, The Bargain to all romance readers. This endearing story covers all the bases with a sweetly sophisticated and uplifting clarity and openness. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.