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Contract for Marriage by Barbara DeLeo
Property tycoon Christo Mantazis wants the one thing his riches can’t buy—the villa where his mother has lived and worked as housekeeper for forty years. That it’s the same house he was banished from after being caught making love to the owner’s irresistible daughter stirs up old memories, and now he wants her more than ever. Magazine editor Ruby Fleming’s not about to give up her home to Christo, the man who broke her heart—until she ...
Contract for Marriage by Barbara DeLeo
Property tycoon Christo Mantazis wants the one thing his riches can’t buy—the villa where his mother has lived and worked as housekeeper for forty years. That it’s the same house he was banished from after being caught making love to the owner’s irresistible daughter stirs up old memories, and now he wants her more than ever. Magazine editor Ruby Fleming’s not about to give up her home to Christo, the man who broke her heart—until she discovers her mother left half of the estate to him, and she realizes she’s trapped. When Christo offers a marriage of convenience, Ruby knows it’s the only way for them to get what they want. Ruby needs a link to her past, and Christo needs his mother to retain her home. But it’s another need—to have Christo again—that Ruby must resist at all costs.
Posted September 26, 2012
Christo is the son of an immigrant who built himself a successful business from the ground up. He is truly a good man with his primary goal of making his sweet mother happy. He will stop at nothing to make that happen. Christo wants to own the home in which his mother worked for many years taking care of Ruby and her family. Unfortunately owning the home means he has to reach an agreement with Ruby Fleming, a woman he once shared a teenage romance with.
Thrust into a calculating situation by Ruby’s deceased mother, Ruby and Christo must work together for a means to an end – an agreement on the home Ruby grew up in. Each of them has inherited half of the home and each wants all of it for themselves. Ruby feels it is her birth right to inherit the home. Little does Christo know how much Ruby wants and needs to retain the home for her unborn baby.
After finding out that Ruby is pregnant with her deceased lover’s child Christo see’s an opportunity to get everything he wants. He offers to marry Ruby so they can share the home while he will get to be a father to the baby he could never have and a provider to Ruby. His mother would even get to live in the home with them where she wants to be and have a grandchild too. Everyone would benefit from the contract.
At first Ruby is against the marriage contract. After debating with Christo she reluctantly agrees with his logic, it would be good for everyone. She would have a provider, a home and a father for her baby. But marriage is more than just a logical solution for Ruby, it has to do with her heart and emotions too.
What I liked:
Even though I do not view marriage as a means to an end or some sort of contractual agreement, Christo honored it. He promised fidelity and devotion and that is what he gave.
Christo and Ruby are good together; they handle each other and compliment each other. A seemingly perfect combination if they could only trust each other after the painful past they have suffered.
I liked that Christo was full of surprises and in his own way has been there for Ruby for the many years they were separated. He is able to offer closure and knowledge on her painful family past and is truly a modern day knight in shining armor.
I like that Ruby stood firm in her convictions and challenged Christo.
What I didn’t like:
I felt like Christo and Ruby, as strong willed, passionate and determined individuals, would have had at least one volatile moment. After years of regret, anger and mourning some spark of ignitable passion and starvation for their lovers touch would have caused an argument. Instead they were polite. Yes there were heated conversations but I wanted more and I myself felt restrained while reading these moments. Don’t get me wrong there was plenty of physical response that left no question on the attraction between the two – but the emotional connection is what I wanted.
I suppose it’s the mark of a good author to leave me wanting more of the characters they brilliantly create. But I really felt Contract for Marriage could have been longer.
I wanted more of Christo and Ruby just being them, talking and getting to know each other again.
Would I buy this book? Yes, even though I wanted more, Contract for Marriage satisfied, entertained and moved me.
Who do I recommend this book to? Lovers of contemporary romance and fans of an unlikely knight in shining armor would enjoy this book.
3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2013
## Okay, I really liked this book and the chemistry the two leads had. Is it original? Heck no. But so what? It was still a good read. I liked Ruby a lot. I loved that she was strong and didn't do every single thing that Christo wanted her to. The hero was the obligatory stern, uncompromising, heart hardened, unforgiving, "you will do what I say" jerk. Of course he eventually came around only after the heroine took drastic measures (this was my favorite part). Finally, not some weak heroine who won't stand up for herself. I do wish they had worked out their past better. The one incident that caused all the bitterness. They talked about it several times but neither really revealed everything. But nonetheless a terrific book.
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Posted October 9, 2012
Posted May 25, 2013
Reviewed by: Maria
Book provided by: Publisher
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
An arranged marriage is a great idea, right? Both parties have their eyes wide open about what they’re getting into. Their brains aren’t clouded by unnecessary emotions. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. They know they’ll enjoy great sex because they had a hot affair together as teenagers (well this couple did, anyway). That’s always a bonus. Each has something the other wants. She gets a father and family security for the baby she’s carrying. She also gets to live in the house she grew up in, providing her baby with a family heritage and a connection with its roots. And him? He gets a daughter-in-law for his mother and a child for himself which a childhood illness has left him unable to get for himself. As Christo says himself., ‘everyone is a winner.’
But are they? Ruby has her doubts. Very serious doubts.Yes, Christo is the ideal man to give her everything she needs. The problem is that there has to be something more, just a little bit more, to turn a marriage from a cold contract into something special. And, unfortunately for Ruby, it’s just not there. Christo has come along way from being the son of the family servant which he once was, but the trouble is, he now thinks that his money can buy everything. And Ruby is here to tell him that it takes more than money and a neat arrangement to win her, her heart and her child. That’s the message which this story delivers.
It’s also Ruby’s story of discovery, the discovery of what her family was really like, how her father wasn’t the ideal which she had him made out to be. How her mother suffered and how she’d misjudged her. Many people unnecessarily idolize (or maybe idealize?) their families, especially their parents, when they reminisce about the golden days of their childhood. That’s because we tend to hide the harsh realities from our children if we love them, wanting to spare them pain. But revisiting the scenes of our childhood and reliving our childhood can be like a wake up call to the harsh realities of our existence. Especially about the sacrifices which our parents may have made for our sake. Once the veil is removed from our eyes, we begin to see things in a very different way. A saintly father and a wicked mother can become a deceptive father and a misunderstood mother if the lighting is changed and the insight is different. Ruby, on the brink of motherhood herself, starts to see her parents in their true colors albeit in hindsight. It is a learning process which changes her outlook significantly. It is now too late to meet her recently deceased mother, but still, in meeting her mother’s relatives and being with the woman who served her mother in her last days, she feels connected to the memory of her mother and finds peace through that. The desire to bring her child into this world and to bring up this child in her mother’s house becomes stronger as a result of this. The need to live her life on her own terms and not to live with regrets becomes stronger and deeper than ever.
This story is set in Auckland, New Zealand. The connection with the United States is through Ruby’s having lived in New York for a decade, working in the publishing industry. There are absolutely no scenes in the United States, we don’t even get a glimpse of it when Ruby returns there for a few days to settle her affairs before coming to settle in New Zealand. The entire story is concentrated in Auckland. Likewise, Ruby never seems to spare a thought for her late boyfriend, the man who made her pregnant. There is simply a reference to him as being a short term partner who was killed in a sudden accident before Ruby’s pregnancy was even confirmed. He is a necessary shadow in the story, but never referred to beyond his role as the father of the child. His death doesn’t seem to have affected Ruby in a negative way at all. I must confess, I found this a little strange. The loss which affects Ruby primarily is the loss of the parents, in particular, her mother. One wonders also, why she never returned to New Zealand after the death of her father. She returned when her widowed mother was ill, but returned in time to bury her Her mother’s death and father’s death seem quite unconnected and were not accidental.
The relationship between Ruby and Christo is given the main prominence. There is back story which is revealed as the story unfolds. It is a reunion story, and like many, the shoe is on the other foot at reunion time. Ruby, despite her English background on her father’s side, is the daughter of an Italian mother. Christo was the son of Stella, the Greek housekeeper. Ruby’s family was gentry. Christo, the son of a separated immigrant mother came nowhere near their social status. Ruby’s father’s discovery of their affair and Christo’s subsequent banishment from the house acts as the catalyst which changes the lives of both Ruby and Christo. Ruby buys into her father’s lie that Christo was using their relationship to advance socially and claims that she used Christo to annoy her father. She subsequently leaves home. Christo comes across as an amazing man, a prodigy almost. Being the son of a penniless immigrant woman, he grows up without a father, comes out winning from a bout of childhood cancer and his banishment from Ruby’s house causes him to work hard and make something of himself. He becomes the richest man in New Zealand.
Although this story is a romance in the traditional sense, with the promise of the happy ever after, you find yourself turning the pages to see if that HEA will happen. Or how the author makes it happen. Will Ruby be able to show Christo that in fact money can not buy everything, love included? Will he learn his lesson on time? Ruby is a woman who doesn’t just settle for things. She wants it all. The perfect solution and the love as well. She’s perfectly right.
I liked this author and look forward to her subsequent work.
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Posted May 18, 2013
Posted October 26, 2012
Posted February 27, 2013
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Posted April 1, 2013
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