Marrying for Money
a rich guy round-up by Tanya Chris
Mac, one of the two love interests in my new release, Him Improvement, is a millionaire. Not, as he points out to Hailey, a billionaire. He doesn’t have save-the-world money, but he definitely has make-your-world-a-better-place money.
By the end of the book, Mac’s money has indeed made Hailey’s world a better place, which I think is why so many of us enjoy the billionaire trope. We like to imagine someone coming along and doing for us everything we can’t afford to do ourselves.
On the other hand, marrying for money isn’t romantic. The money should be an unexpected bonus, not the primary point, and the richer partner needs to gain something from the relationship that’s worth more what he’s giving. Otherwise it’s not love.
Here are a few of my favorite examples of the billionaire trope done right.
Spellbound by Allie Therin
This magical book set in 1920s New York features one ragamuffin, one rich politician’s son, and a great cast of supporting characters as Arthur, Rory, and some psychometrics buddies use their special abilities to save New York from imminent disaster.
Arthur is a Batman/James Bond archetype—not just rich, but urbane, polished, handsome, and socially conscious. It’s hard to see what he could be missing, but what he’s missing is what romance novels are all about: that one special someone. And in the end, of course, it’s Rory, the seemingly small and helpless, who plays the crucial role in their mission.
Rule Breaker by Lily Morton
Lily Morton knows how to do comedy, and Rule Breaker has both the billionaire trope and the boss trope going for it, with a healthy dose of enemies-to-lovers thrown in on the side. We don’t worry about Dylan loving Gabe for his money because we’re too worried about Dylan killing Gabe altogether. And Gabe might deserve it.
Gabe needs someone like Dylan to bring him down to size and love him for himself, not his millions. If you want to see a hotshot executive get what’s coming to him and have some giggles in the bargain, this is the book for you.
Full Domain by Kindle Alexander
You’d be forgiven for not counting this as a billionaire book despite the hints dropped along the way, because the full truth isn’t revealed until near the end. U.S. Marshall Kreed and computer hacker Aaron (who’s way more than he seems) form a partnership that has nothing to do with money. It mostly has to do with a hate-crimes investigation and a bunch of hot sex.
The sex scenes are well done, and the plot will keep your attention, but what I really love about this book is the way Kreed offers everything he has to Aaron, not realizing that Aaron already has more than Kreed can imagine. Aaron is Kreed’s top priority. The money reveal, when it comes, means nothing.
The Masterpiece by Bonnie Dee
This My Fair Lady M/M retelling makes its roots obvious when a bet between two members of the nobility leads to one of them taking home a shoe-shine boy with the intention of making him into a gentleman. In the original play on which My Fair Lady is based, Eliza and Dr. Higgins don’t fall in love. Rather, Eliza marries an upper-class slacker named Freddie who she supports with her flower shop earnings. It’s definitely not a romance.
But Bonnie Dee has given us a romance in The Masterpiece. Arthur and Joe fall in love while Joe is being remade, and in the best billionaire-trope fashion, the aristocratic Arthur gets more out of their arrangement than Joe does. By the end of the book, they’re both living their dreams.
Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths
We know Patrick doesn’t marry Will for his money, because they get married as strangers in a blackout drunk. Besides, Patrick is a renowned surgeon. He’s not exactly hurting for money himself. But Will’s fortune does play a big role in the book, because it’s the reason they can’t get divorced.
Okay, that part of the plot is a little contrived, and like all contrived plot points, it disappears in a puff of smoke when it stops being convenient, but the book is a delight. Will and Patrick are stuck with each other while they figure out how to get divorced without losing access to the money Will uses for charitable purposes. Which makes this the longest, greatest forced-proximity book ever. Strangers become friends, then lovers, then soul mates as Will and Patrick both learn they have something to give as well as something to get.
Merge Ahead by Tanya Chris
I had to throw in a little self-love, because Merge Ahead is classic “rich guy doesn’t know what he’s missing.” Poor (rich) Adam’s life as Chief Financial Officer for a major insurance company is empty before he and Will accidentally stumble into each other. It’s clear to Adam that he’s the one getting more out of their relationship, because Will takes care of him far better than he ever took care of himself.
But Will struggles with what it means to be dating someone so much richer than he is. He loves Adam, but he doesn’t know if he can tolerate being the partner who’s “less than.” The differences in their position and wealth throw up both internal and external obstacles until Will sees for himself just how much he brings to the table.
In Him Improvement, Mac is quick to understand that he wants more than a fling with Hailey but slow to figure out how to make that work. It seems that in order to be with the Bohemian who lives in voluntary squalor, he’ll have to give up his own privilege and luxury. Does Mac find something in Hailey worth more than money? I think you know the answer.
About Him Improvement
The course of true love runs through every neighborhood….
Only one thing stands between Gregory MacPherson II and his dream revitalization project for the gritty neighborhood of Ball’s End: a rinky-dink, run-down used bookstore called Hailey’s Comic. But when master negotiator Mac shows up to make a deal with the owner, he comes face-to-face with quirky, colorful Hailey—unexpectedly good-humored about Mac’s attempted eviction and, also unexpectedly, a hot guy.
Hailey won’t give up his lease, no matter how much money Mac offers. When it comes to consummating their mutual attraction, though, he’s a lot more flexible. Soon Mac has as hard a time prying himself out of Hailey’s bed as he does prying Hailey out of the building. But Hailey doubts Mac’s plans serve Ball’s End’s best interests, and he insists Mac give him a chance to prove his case. If they’re going to build a happy ever after, one of them will have to be remade….
Available at: Amazon
An Excerpt from Him Improvement
GREGORY MacPherson II didn’t have the time or the patience to make a personal trip to a bookstore, but here he was. Alone.
No patrons roamed the narrow aisles formed by overstuffed bookshelves. No clerk waited at the vintage cash register sitting on top of a linoleum-covered counter barely capable of holding its weight. No one rushed to greet him from behind the tawdry multicolored curtain hanging at the back of the store.
From where he stood only a few feet inside the doorway, leery of allowing anything in the dusty hodgepodge to brush against his suit, he could see straight down the center aisle all the way to the back of the store. It was a thirty- foot-by-sixty-foot shoebox, longer than it was wide, one of four retail spaces on the ground floor of the six-story brick building and the only one still open. Which was why Gregory MacPherson II, commonly referred to as Mac, had personally dragged himself down here.
How the place could stay in business without any workers, never mind customers, was a mystery he didn’t intend to solve. He was there to shut the place down, not rescue it, though in the few short minutes he’d been exposed to Hailey’s Comic, he could already list a half-dozen ways to improve its profitability.
That sign out front, for instance. It was a purple whirlwind of planets, well done if you were going for an acid-trip vibe, but the name implied there’d be comics, and the sign implied there’d be comets. Or drugs. And from what he could see, there were neither. If an establishment wanted to bring in customers, it needed to make clear the services it provided and establish confidence that it would provide them well.
Then there was the matter of actually waiting on the customers you did bring in. A bell had tinkled as he’d entered, but apparently only for its own enjoyment.
“Hello?” He raised his voice to a level that couldn’t be ignored and had a brief moment to wonder if he really was completely alone before a head and a hand appeared around the edge of the curtain.
“Mercy, you scared me,” the head said. It belonged to a young man and had a mop of brown hair piled on top of it, a few shades lighter than Mac’s own reddish brown. “Sorry, I didn’t hear the bell. Give me a minute. I’m sort of in flagrante delicto.” The head disappeared.
“In flagrante delicto doesn’t mean naked, you know,” Mac told the air where the head had been. “It means you were caught doing something you shouldn’t have been. Something sexual.”
“Now, now. It’s never wrong to masturbate. There.” The head reappeared, this time attached to a body that gave Mac a startlingly clear vision of how it would look masturbating. The man was stringy, taller than Mac’s six- foot frame, but lean and underdeveloped—the body of aperson who spent a lot of time reading. Or jerking off.
“What can I help you with?” He was in his mid-twenties, so perhaps ten years younger than Mac, dressed in jeans laddered with intentional rips, each the same two inches wide, running down his thighs like claw marks. His face was clean-shaven, fresh with his youth, and Mac wondered how his skin would react to having Mac’s tightly trimmed beard rubbed all over it.
“You’re free to browse around, even if I’m not out here.”
Mac added lax security to the mental list he was pointlessly compiling. “I need to speak to the owner.”
Hailey Green, owner of Hailey’s Comic, was the only thing standing in the way of his plans to revitalize this misbegotten section of Ballhaven, which plan started with this very brick building and would ultimately lead to Ball’s End—as everyone called it; he’d have to do something about the branding—becoming the newest hot spot for millennials to eat, drink, shop, and live. Urban revitalization was Mac’s business, and Hailey Green was Mac’s problem.
“Still me,” the man said, tilting his head to the side asif to take in Mac’s appearance more carefully.
Mac hadn’t changed clothes before driving down to Ball’s End, though he could’ve guessed the place would bedirty. He’d been reading a report on the effort to clear 502 Main Street of its tenants and had made an abrupt decisionto come down and take care of ridding the building of its final holdout himself.
About Tanya Chris
Tanya Chris writes feminist-friendly romance in a variety of sub-genres and pairings–most especially M/M. Born on the West Coast and raised on the East Coast, she’s fact-based but thirsty for justice, and her books often include an examination of a current social issue, even when they’re set in the past. As a lifelong genre-hopping reader herself, she admires character-driven work with a message, regardless of the form it takes.
Tanya is an avid rock climber, a long-distance runner, and a participant in her local community theater where she has tackled most roles, including playwright, actor, director, producer, and stage manager. Her travels, both for climbing trips and for cultural exploration, have brought her to places as fascinating as Egypt and as beautiful as the Dolomites, though there’s no place like home.
Tanya is best known to readers for having written Aftercare and to writers for the quote “Writer culture is researching what degree is needed to be a paleontologist so your shapeshifting vampire dinosaur erotica will be authentic.” Her website features dozens of free stories, including the aforementioned (and highly authentic) shapeshifting vampire dinosaur erotica.
As part of this blog tour, Tanya is giving away 2 ebook copies from her backlist! To enter, just click the link below!
Please be aware that the only way to enter the giveaway is to click the Rafflecopter link above. Any comments on this post will not count towards entering the giveaway unless otherwise stated but are still welcome anyway.