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The Reluctant Bride by Monica Murphy


Everyone’s for sale, including me. One moment I’m the forgotten daughter of one of the most wealthy families in the country, and the next I’m the blushing bride in an arranged marriage. My fate is sealed in my wedded union with a complete stranger.

In public, Perry Constantine is the life of the party. Easygoing. Adored. In private, he’s brooding. Dark. Angry. But so am I. It’s a contest of wills to see who will break in the bedroom first, and while I try to remain strong, I find myself craving the very man I swore to hate.

My husband.


I’m always up for an arranged marriage trope so I picked my first Monica Murphy book and was blown away with her exquisite character development and her breathtaking slow build of intrigue and attraction.

Perry Constantine is fun and charismatic. A rebel in his serious and ruthless family. His mother’s favorite. And now he’s a lamb led to an arranged marriage. It’s a business deal between two powerful families and he has no say in the matter. Then he meets his future wife, the mysterious and beautiful Charlotte Lancaster. Perry is in a hell of a predicament. He’s too young to marry and have a family, but he wants this frustrating and vulnerable woman. Is it enough to change his future forever?

Charlotte feels alone and unloved in her prestigious family, but she owes them for the scandal she created a year ago. Being forced to marry a stranger is the last thing she expected and when she meets her handsome, easy-going, and angry husband-to-be she is intrigued. He is the first person to actually pay attention to her and he protects her from her father’s wrath. Her heart has been broken in the past. She cannot afford to have that happen again.

I love the slow intrigue and seduction of Charlotte and Perry.  From the first time they meet under impossible circumstances, the chemistry is there. There is animosity at first, but the longer they are in each other’s company, they cannot deny the attraction. Learning about Charlotte’s sad life with her heartless family is painful. Her father and brothers are so nasty and uncaring and her mother is extremely selfish and artificial. All she wants is to be free of her gilded cage, be loved, and to have someone fight for her. Perry is her knight in shining armor. When he learns of her vile father’s treatment of her he agrees to get her out of her father’s awful house to live together before the marriage. Perry is a kind and lonely man who is manipulated by his controlling mother and it is good to see him finally step away from her and stand up for himself.  I love Perry’s attentiveness and compassion for Charlotte. His thoughtful gift to her at the wedding rehearsal is so endearing. He certainly grows throughout the story as he becomes more invested in the idea of their marriage and grows some backbone. Charlotte is young and sheltered, but she finds her voice and becomes more outspoken and confident about what she wants in her own life. Ending in a frustrating cliffhanger the questions remain, why was the marriage arranged and why so quickly? In addition, an unlikable person from Charlotte’s past shows up and drops a bomb.

The Constantines and Lancasters are not typical loving families. Using their children’s lives as a business transaction is par for the course. Money and prestige are more important. The only sibling who seemed genuine is Tinsley who welcomed Charlotte with open arms. 

I loved this slow-burn, opposites-attract, emotional romance with memorable characters and a surprising twist that has this reader eager to read the next book in the series.

Thank you to Ms. Murphy for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


The Reluctant Bride

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Monica Murphy is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both a traditionally published author and an independently published author. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance. She is also USA Today bestselling romance author Karen Erickson.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives with her family in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere, along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through many angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

Follow Monica on her website, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bookbub, Goodreads, Apple Books, and Amazon.



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