Temporary Wife Temptation
There’s nothing wrong with the plot of Temporary Wife Temptation, which is probably why it’s been used by a lot of other authors in a lot of similar books.
Almost-CEO Garrett Song needs to win the approval of the board of Hansol, Inc – including, most importantly, his grandmother – to get that final promotion. But his grandmother wants him to make a corporate and family alliance by marrying the daughter of a major Korean chaebol family (it’s spelled “jae-bul” in this book, but it’s usually written chaebol, and it means “multifarious mega-corporation.” Compare Garrett’s intended to a Walton of the Wal-Mart Waltons, if Wal-Mart also owned apartment buildings and shipping lines). But Garrett has no intention of making a marriage that never lets him off the clock. If Garrett has to marry to win the job, he’s going to do it on his own terms – and he picks Hansol HR executive Natalie Sobol.
After losing her sister and brother-in-law to a car accident, Natalie is battling her niece’s grandparents to win custody of the baby. She knows a settled, married family will look better to the court than a single businesswoman. So she agrees to a temporary marriage with Garrett: they’ll stay together for the year it should take for him to win his promotion and her to win custody.
I have heard but not personally confirmed that this is Harlequin’s first contemp with two Asian leads (Garrett is Korean-American; Natalie is half-Korean), which is… about time. It’s fun to read a wedding scene that includes Korean traditions, like wearing hanbok and catching jujubes in the bride’s skirt. Garrett being Korean adds a dimension to the arranged marriage plot, since families are at the core of chaebols in a way they aren’t in the vast majority of Western corporations.
At the same time, though, the rest of the story breaks no new ground. Garrett has the standard betrayal-by-past-fiancée trust issues, which culminate in the same oh-no-Natalie-betrayed-me-too plot point. Garrett and Natalie take to parenting like ducks to water, and have no trouble balancing two high-pressure careers with childcare. Natalie has a clucky older-lady neighbor, and even if the neighbor is Korean, it’s same old, same old.
Who should read this book? If you like Harlequin billionaire books, if the familiar rhythms of those plots suit you or are a comfort read for you, this will be exactly what you like. If you are as excited as I was to see a Korean couple on the cover of a Harlequin (especially looking THAT GOOD), you should buy this book. Just don’t expect the inside to be as original as the cover.