The Magnate's Marriage Demand
by Robyn Grady
(Silh. Desire #1842, 4.75, PG-13) ISBN 0373-76842-7
The Magnate's Marriage Demand is full of demanding men and women who are not quite as independent as they want to be. Warped by their childhoods, these two main characters acted like their parents, despite vowing they would never be like them. I found the extremes too incongruent and could never really enjoy the flow of the story. Others, especially those who like strong alpha males and weak women, may like this more.

Things are not going so well for Tamara Kendle. She is pregnant with her best friend's baby (conceived during a one night mistake), she has lost her house and business because of her lack of business acumen and now that friend, Marc Earle De Luca, who is the only one to know about their impending parenthood, has died. Close to being filled with despair, Tamara knows that she needs to finish her business degree and re-start her business. But how is she going to live in the meantime?

Armand De Luca is Marc's brother, who has only recently been involved in his brother's life. When they were just children, Marc went to live with his mother and was disowned by his father. Armand remained with tyrant Dante De Luca who taught him that business is all-important and love and emotions are for losers. Armand hated his father at times, but especially now when he discovers he can't inherit the large corporation he had been running without a wife and a child. Time is running out.

Armand approaches Tamara at Marc's funeral and offers her a deal. Marry him, let the world think the child is his and she will be taken care of for the rest of her life. After much cajoling, Tamara agrees. The story follows their marriage, their many misunderstandings, a threat from the Board of Directors and their respective battles over their pasts.

Armand is forceful. I think what detracted from his character the most was the calculating way he tries to maneuver Tamara. He consciously says things about love and thinks things that clearly show he is doing it to bend her to his will. Meanwhile, Tamara is naively interpreting his actions as the emotions she wants to see, and is easily persuaded otherwise when she starts having doubts. The sexual activities are dynamic, but the emotional impact is low due to these dueling feelings. I never saw what Tamara saw in Armand and I didnít see how Armand could respect Tamara when she was so easily played.

There are few secondary characters and these folks are sketchily drawn so there is no real understanding of the motives behind the takeover attempt by a man whom Armand felt was like an uncle. Tamara's relationship with her mother is equally hastily drawn, so it is hard to understand the impact of their reconciliation.

The Magnate's Marriage Demand is set in Australia but there isnít much sense of Down Under, nor were the two main characters endearing to this reader. Others may like this type of relationship better. For me, because I didn't like them, it was hard to believe that the power of love helped change them into people who could have a real relationship and who could become the type of characters that readers would find appealing.

--Shirley Lyons

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