Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite (Contemporary) Marriage-of-Convenience Stories

Posted February 14, 2017 by meezcarrie in Christian, Top Ten Tuesday / 69 Comments

On this Valentine’s Day Top Ten Tuesday we are talking about our favorite romantic tropes. One of my faves is marriage-of-convenience stories and I have a plethora of favorite books that cover this so well in the historical genre. Contemporary marriage of convenience stories are rare but I think I love them even more than I do the historicals … though I’ll happily read either one.

So, instead of narrowing down my list of 40 of my faves between the two genres, I’m just going to focus on the contemporaries today. You’re welcome 😉 Some of these aren’t “true” marriage-of-convenience stories, more engagement of convenience, faking the marriage or an accidental marriage. But I decided they were close enough lol.

Dr. Kate has it all-a radio talk show, a nationally-syndicated column, and a publisher who is paying for a lavish wedding to coincide with the release of her first book, Finding Mr. Right-For-You.

But when her fiance jilts her the morning of the wedding, her life begins to crash around her. Who, after all, would want a relationship book by a counselor who can’t even hold her own engagement together?

When Lucas Wright realizes what has happened, he offers to marry Kate and save her public image. Kate’s heart-and her pride-have been deeply wounded. Are Lucas’s handsome smile and utter devotion enough to convince her that her marriage is more than she had ever expected?


A hilarious romantic comedy about a “little white lie” that grows into a very big problem.

Meghann Livingston invents a husband to soothe her dying mother. But when her mom miraculously recovers, then comes for a visit, Meghann is hard-pressed to explain her “husband’s” absence!

Before Meghann can come clean, her handsome, elusive boss, Bruce Halloway, inadvertently steps into her romantic charade … and to Meghann’s shock and horror, insists upon playing “son-in-law” to her mom. The masquerade’s success depends upon them playing their newlywed games extremely well.

But when they do, both Meghann and Bruce — even as they struggle to overcome the consequences of their deceptions — find themselves falling in love … for real!


In the quiet safety of the Bluebird Ranch, old promises resurface and unexpected love brings new hope.

Though tragedy has wrecked her life, Allie Siders holds on to the hope that her five-year-old daughter, Betsy, will speak again. But with a stalker out for revenge, all Allie can think about now is their safety. She must sever all ties and abandon life as she knows it. She heads to the peaceful Bluebird Ranch, nestled deep in Texas hill country, and to the only person who can help them.

The ranch is a sanctuary for abused horses, and also for troubled youths: the perfect place for Betsy to grow and recover. Ranch owner Elijah DeAngelo eagerly welcomes the duo. But Rick Bailey—the ranch foreman and DeAngelo’s right hand man—hasn’t decided to let his guard down . . . yet.

Promises made long ago soon force Rick and Allie to work together to escape danger. Will they discover love along the way?


For most, it’s the safest place on earth. For Gracie, it’s the last place she wants to be…and the one place she must return.

With nothing but five dollars and the wedding dress she’s wearing, Gracie Lister flees with her daughter by train to West Texas, to the town she ran away from so long ago. There they find refuge in the home of Michael Wayne–devoted single father, seasoned soldier–who gives Gracie a job caring for his two children and the hiding place she needs from her former fiancé.

Michael and Gracie aren’t looking for love, but it finds them right away. And then trouble comes to call in the form of Gracie’s ex-fiancé who is now on the FBI’s most-wanted list. Together, Michael and Gracie must find the strength they need to protect their newly forged family.


When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she’s an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can’t seem to keep her head above water–and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders’ Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart–the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn’t sure if the recent events are God’s will or just a preacher’s blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?


Becky Sawyer’s life unravels in a single day. Not only does she catch her boyfriend, the man she hoped to marry, lip-locked with another woman, she also receives the gut-wrenching news that her grandfather, the man who raised her, is dying. His last wish? To see her happily married. Heartbroken, Becky seeks inspiration in the pages of the Holy Scriptures. And finds it in the story of Isaac and Rebekah.

If love couldn’t keep his parents together, Luke Masterson wonders what will make a marriage last. He decides to steer clear of all women—especially crazy ones like Becky Sawyer, who employs a friend to find her a husband. But when he feels the dogged promptings of the Holy Spirit to move across the country and marry a complete stranger, it seems love has little to do with it anyway.

With commitment their only foundation, and love constantly thwarted, can an arranged marriage find happiness in the twenty-first century?


Widower Matt Wilmot is an excavator by trade, but with his three rambunctious young sons making trouble all over town, he may not have what it takes to dig them out on his own. The boys’ antics have earned them a riotous reputation in their small town of Cedar Mills. When Matt’s former mother-in-law, a powerful lawyer and judge, threatens to sue for custody, Matt’s sure she means it.

Enter Matt’s new neighbor, Elle Drake. She’s made a successful career for herself as an artist and potter, but after a disastrously public break-up with her millionaire ex-husband, she’s back in Cedar Mills to lick her wounds and set her roughed-up self-image to rights.

Initially adversarial, attraction grows between Matt and Elle as they get to know one another. Matt appreciates Elle’s effect on his sons, and when he gets cornered into having a Sunday breakfast with Elle and the boys, he has fun for the first time in…well, he can’t remember when.

Everything changes when Elle hears the boys’ grandmother berating Matt in public and threatening to take the boys. She defuses the situation by pretending to be Matt’s fiancée and the boys’ future stepmother. When Matt decides it’s a brilliant plan and kisses her to seal the deal, Elle knows he’s crazy. But he’s also sweet, funny, engaging, sexy and strong, which isn’t exactly a bad thing!


Will money ruin everything?

Nina Warrenton is ready for the next step in her life plan—marriage, but no one has proposed. Taking matters into her hand, she places an ad in the newspaper hoping to entice a willing stranger. But when she begins to fall for the small-town chef, she realizes how much she wants him to love her and not her money.

Dwight Williams needs fast cash to save the family restaurant. When he sees Nina’s monetary offer for a husband, he goes for it. He’s determined to save the legacy his dad left him, but can he let it go to prove his love for her?

Can Nina and Dwight find true love, once money has entered the equation?


Cannon James has a plan: Sign on as a contestant for his father’s new reality show, marry a blonde hand-picked by the producers, and walk away two million dollars richer. It’s all been arranged. Easy. Clean. No regrets. Until Ellie McAllister ruins everything by winning the viewer’s vote. Now he has to convince America that he’s head over heels in love with her. Not easy to do since she’s a walking disaster.

Ellie McAllister has her own problems. She needs money, and she needs it now. Despite her parent’s objections and her belief that marriage is sacred, she signs on to The Wedding Game…and wins. Now she’s married to a guy she can’t stand, and if she wants her hands on the money, she has six months to make voters believe she loves him. Not easy to do since he’s the most arrogant man in America.

It doesn’t take long for Ellie and Cannon to realize they’ve made a mess of things…even less time for their feelings for one another to change. But is it too late for them? More importantly, can the worst decision they’ve ever made actually become one of the best?


A marriage of convenience isn’t exactly what she had in mind.

After a rocky start, Rachel Peters finally has her life on track. Then a tragic accident takes away her sister and leaves her to raise her niece, Kendra, alone. About to lose custody of her last blood relative, Rachel is desperate to prove she can adequately care for her niece. On the verge of running away to keep Kendra, a new friend offers Rachel an opportunity she can’t refuse.

Brandon Barlow has long admired Rachel. When her world begins to fall apart, he feels led to help. A marriage of convenience would enable him to provide Rachel and Kendra with a stable place to live, proper health insurance, and a viable shot at staying together. Once Rachel gained full custody of her niece, the marriage could be annulled.

His plan provides the perfect solution, until Brandon realizes he’s fallen in love with Rachel. Through love and patience, can he help Rachel realize that, even when she experiences storms in her life, she’s never alone?


And I can’t help it… I have to at least show you some of my very fave historical marriage-of-convenience stories!

What about you? What are some of your fave contemporary marriage of convenience stories?

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69 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: My Favorite (Contemporary) Marriage-of-Convenience Stories

  1. The books by Mary Davis, Colleen Coble, and Melanie D. Snitker sound great!! And I love the other books! I may have to reread them. 🙂
    Thanks for including me in such an awesome lineup.

  2. Sylvia M.

    For contemporary marriage of convenience I would add the following stories:

    Streiker’s Bride by Robin Hardy
    The Princess by Lori Wick

  3. Such a fun trope! I love both of Colleen’s you have on this list. And I have several of these on my TBR. I must add a few, though! One more AWESOME contemporary marriage-of-convenience that is an all-time favorite of mine is The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann. <3

  4. Winnie Thomas

    Well, I’ve only read 3 of these books, so I guess my TBR pile is growing ever larger. Thanks for the fun post, Carrie!

  5. Hallie Szott

    Oh, the marriage of convenience is one of my favorite tropes, and I haven’t read any of these books yet! Thanks for making my TBR list a little longer. ?

  6. Terrill Rosado

    Carrie I love reading your top ten lists, especially when they are about your favorite reads. It never fails that I find a new book to consider that I may have missed when it was first released. In fact, after seeing “Newlywed Games” on a list some time back, I went and purchased it to read ASAP.

  7. MH

    I’ve only read Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, and Laurie Alice Eakes from your list but they were so good! Now I have to hunt down the other books on this list….

  8. Melissa Romine

    I feel pretty good since I’ve read 4 of these books! I loved More Than a Promise. I loaned it to my mom and brought it to CFRR to get it signed! I love MOC stories. Guess I have 6 to add to my TBR pile!

  9. Kim

    I have only read one – More Than a Promise – Awesome book! I have 6 on my Kindle though! Heading to Amazon to check out the ones I don’t have. Thanks Carrie for adding to my already massive TBR. I love your top 10 (or more!) lists.

  10. First things first. Carrie, I adore your cute “feature” graphic! So happy and sweet. 🙂

    Secondly, I need to read Denise’s “The Convenient Groom.” The movie was really cute, and knowing Denise’s stories like I do, I’m sure the book is equally so. I also remember having really enjoyed “Lodestar Sanctuary.” It’s one I’d like to re-read. Someday. 🙂

  11. Amanda J.

    I’ve read five of these and loved them, especially Amy Matayo’s…so I need to read the others because I love this trope. Loved this TTT!!!!

  12. Danica @ Shelves of Spines

    Wow – I have never come across this trope before. It sounds very fun. I’ll have to pick one off this list to give it a go 🙂 Thanks for all the great recommendations!

    Danica @ Shelves of Spines
    My TTT

  13. I’ve read six of these–The Convenient Groom will probably always be my favorite marriage of convenience story–and I’ve added the others to my wishlist. I just can’t get enough of this trope 🙂 And Newlywed Games? I’d totally forgotten about that book–it’s one of the first romances I ever read, way back in high school. I’ll have to see if I’ve managed to hang onto my copy!

    • Carrie

      that’s when I read mine too! Love that book and I still have my copy, though it LOOKS like I’ve had it since high school haha!

  14. I’m proud of you for keeping close to 10 😉 This is a neat genre I haven’t read much of. Will have to check some of these out 🙂

  15. Hi… I m an avid reader.. I have never heard of any authors in the above list. I will give it a try reading these books.

    I got more curious about your blog after reading this list and checked out more. Now I have a big question. I have been reading for 6 years crazily and this is the first time I heard something called ” Christan Fiction”. I tried googling it, but didn’t understand and surprisingly good reads showed more than 2500 books under this category.

    Can you explain what exactly is this?
    Fyi– i m not from a Christian religion background

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