Why We Love Marriages of Convenience
The Marriage of Convenience (MOC) is an enduring trope in romance. We really can’t get enough of this story line. I started out reading historical romances, where it’s much easier to believe in arranged marriages and forced marriages. After all, history is rife with real-life MOCs, from matches made to unite kingdoms and clans, to mail-order brides.
But I love contemporary MOC stories, too! This despite the fact that, at least here in the western world, most people don’t make arranged marriages, agree to marry to fulfill the terms of a will, or to save the family reputation. For modern, independent women, the idea of “having” to marry can seem a little silly.
So what is it that we love so much about MOC stories? I think we love the idea of forced intimacy — two people who have to be together and stay together, at least for a little while. It also plays into the idea of love at first sight, and the concept that two people can be fated to be together. What could be more romantic?
Let’s face it — it can be tough to find “the one” in modern life. Dating is hard and sometimes the pool of potential mates seems painfully small. The fantasy that fate might take all the frustration out of our hands and force us into a union with the guy who turns out to be Mr. Right can be pretty powerful.
The trick to writing a modern MOC is to find a set-up that readers can accept — if they were put in the same situation, they’d probably act the same way (even if the situation is a little fantastical.) For The Wedding Gamble my set-up was a Vegas wedding. My hero, David, is an undercover FBI agent on the run from the mob. In order not to blow his cover — and to keep from getting killed — he must convince the mob that he’s in Vegas for a reason other than to spy on them. He hits on the idea of a Vegas wedding and persuades the heroine, Laura, to marry him in a cheesy wedding chapel. She’s having a bad reaction to headache medication and is a little out of it, but something about this handsome, desperate man touches her and she says yes. When she realizes the real danger he’s in, she insists on continuing the charade of being married, in order to protect him. Laura is the type of person who makes sacrifices to help others, plus she’s attracted to the excitement and danger that are so different from her ordinary life.
So, how do you feel about MOC stories in contemporary romance? Do you have a favorite set-up? What storylines don’t work for you?
Preschool teacher Laura Nichols is celebrating her birthday and sister’s bachelorette party in Vegas. Being in Sin City is thrilling and she intends on tapping in to her wild side. Laura can’t resist the added excitement that comes with saying yes when a hunky man off the street proposes…
FBI agent David Abruzzo has been working undercover as a thug to bring down the Zacolli crime family, but his cover depends on convincing the mob he came to Vegas for a quickie wedding. If they catch on to his plan, his cover’s blown, and he’s as good as dead.
Over the course of 48 hours, David and Laura use rollercoasters, glowing condoms, and exotic male dancers to stay alive and bring the crime family down. But it will take more than Lady Luck, one night of passion, and a little Vegas magic to turn their fake marriage into something real.
I write romance and women’s fiction – an eclectic mix of subject matter that appeals to me. Whether I’m working on a relationship novel, a romantic comedy, or a really sexy read, all my books have one thing in common: I care about the characters I write about. People matter in my books. My readers matter, too. Naturally, I think they’re some of the most intelligent people in the world <G>.