Title: For the Sake of His Heir
Series: The McNeill Magnates #6
Author: Joanne Rock
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Release Date: February 1, 2018
When a marriage of convenience is the only answer…things get inconvenient.
Gabe McNeill is done being manipulated. By everyone from his ex-wife who abandoned him and their baby to the grandfather forcing him to remarry. Now the only way Gabe can ensure his son’s inheritance is if Brianne Hanson agrees to be his bride. They’ve always kept things strictly business and this is no different…until she falls into his bed and all bets are off!
The curtain of hazy snow and steam around them gave the sense that they were all alone in the world, a veil of cold mist separating them from everything but one another.
Or maybe the wine was going to her head. She felt a sweet happiness all over to be with Gabe. It was dangerous, perhaps, to feel that way. But she’d never been with a man like him, someone strong and noble, kind and warm hearted.
And so very sexy.
Her eyes dipped to the top of his chest above the water as he drained his glass and set it aside, his triceps flexing in a way that made her want to take a bite.
“I certainly didn’t expect a wedding gift.”
He shook his head, a wry smile kicking up one side of his mouth. “We’ll have to make our own rules for this marriage since the regular conventions aren’t going to apply.”
“Like tonight, for example.” She hadn’t meant to say it out loud, but there it was, floating on the cold breeze before she could take it back. Drawing a steadying breath, she explained herself. “I don’t need to worry about your expectations because—”
“Because there are none.” He cupped her shoulders with his hands, a warm weight that anchored her in the swirling water. “I thought we deserved this time together to get to know each other as more than friends, but I will be glad just to talk to you tonight. To learn how to make you happy.”
“I know that.” She wanted to close her eyes and concentrate on how his hands felt on her. To soak up all the sensations of being with him. “You never made me feel like you brought me here for more than that, but still…it’s a wedding night. I can’t deny I’ve been thinking about the possibilities of what that means.”
His thumbs skated a slow circle over the tops of her shoulders, a subtle touch that set the rest of her on fire.
“I’ve been doing plenty of thinking of my own,” he admitted. “But that doesn’t mean we have to act on it.”
If he kept touching her, though, the possibility of her launching across the hot tub to kiss him was very real.
“When I said I wasn’t all that experienced, I didn’t mean to suggest I’ve never been with a guy. Of course I have.” Though she had kept her virginity longer than any of her friends, haunted by her stepmother’s taunts long after they should have lost their power to hurt her.
“I just don’t feel like I ever got high marks. You know?”
“Sex shouldn’t be a graded assignment.” He said it with one-hundred-percent seriousness.
But she laughed anyway, because it was a strange conversation for a wedding night. “Right. I get that.” She flipped a damp piece of hair out of her eyes as she warmed to the discussion. “But when I decided to lose my virginity, I think I was probably…too determined. I did some research and felt well-prepared, but in the end—epic fail.” She shook her head, remembering the expression on her boyfriend’s face afterward. It hadn’t been blissful pleasure. More like being shell-shocked, maybe.
“The thought of you researching to the point of being over prepared is going to animate some very good dreams for me.”
He never stopped touching her. His thumbs trailed down the satin straps of her bra in the back. Then in the front. Over and over. “It’s my turn to be intrigued.”
“I think I was studying techniques that were too advanced for a beginner.” She shrugged, the water around her splashing with the movement. “But I don’t like looking foolish, and I’d waited so long to give sex a try that I put a lot of pressure on myself not to make it obvious that I was a first-timer.”
“What about afterward?” Gabe’s knee grazed hers under the water and she didn’t skitter away because it felt too good. “Didn’t things get better once the first time was out of the way?”
“I wasn’t keen to repeat the experiment at the time.” She retrieved her wineglass and took another small sip. “But now, I think maybe I’d like to.”
Guys! That scene above. I don’t think I’ve EVER read a heroine tell the hero about the lack of her experience and not feel bad about it. Brianne was very upfront and honest with Gabe and his reaction to it was spot on. He didn’t mock her, make her feel bad but did try to understand. Of course, I’m not going to tell you what happens next. *wink*
This is the “last” of the Liam McNeill’s sons and I’m sad. I’ve grown to love each and every one of them but I will have to say that besides Cam, Gabe is right up there with him. I like a man that can actually work with his hands and look sexy in a suit. My husband comes to mind. Gabe is a bit more blue collar than the rest of them but he knew what he had to do to ensure that his son was protected from his mother. Don’t get me started on Gabe’s ex. She’s a piece of work and she does make an appearance but bless the “other” cousins, Scarlett and Maisie they are right there for Brianne when she needed it. Speaking of which, I can’t wait to meet the Wyoming cousins.
Back to the love that I have for this book. Essentially this is a friends to lovers story with the hero fighting for his son and his place in the family. Gabe never really bad talked his ex but he made it clear that she would not use their son as a prop and when it was convenient. Brianne got that but of course, Gabe made a mess of things. Another thing that was so wonderful about Gabe and Brianne is that they actually talked to each other. Sure the black moment was there but in the end, they always communicated well with each other. Every relationship has some form of communication problems and Ms. Rock handles it well. Her characters are adults and act as such.
The secondary characters are wonderful as usual. Rose is a complete trip and to find out that she and Malcolm shared a history and then to see them have a relationship via social media. I was giggling. I can’t wait to see if their relationship is explored in future books. They were a trip. I have always liked Malcolm. While is methods aren’t conventional, his heart is in the right place.
Again, I am sad that this part of the series is over. Gabe is such a sweetheart and Brianne is perfect for him. I’m glad that they both realized that in the end. Partnerships and love are built on friendships and they had part of their relationship in spades.
Please, do yourself a favor and pick up this series. You can start anywhere and be fine. I, of course, read them in order and while I missed some of the cousins in this one, I was happy to meet the new ones. Plus, a hot tub while it was snowing. Central Park in the snow. And a blue box with an engagement ring. *swoon*
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for.
A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann.
When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.