Shira Anthony on First Comes Marriage ~ Excerpt, Guest Blog, Rafflecopter Giveaway

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Shira Anthony for stopping by today.


Title: First Comes Marriage
Author: Shira Anthony
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Genre: M/M Romance


Their marriage was supposed to be all business….
When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!
Jesse’s in a pinch. To keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal: in exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million-dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?

Can’t Buy Me Love by Shira Anthony

Thank you, Brandilyn and Prism, for hosting the First Comes Marriage book tour! For those readers who may not already know, First Comes Marriage is the second book in the brand new Dreamspun Desires line of gay category romances from Dreamspinner Press. Be sure to read to the bottom of the post for an excerpt from the book, as well as the Rafflecopter giveaway. You could win a dozen red roses for your sweetheart or yourself!

What’s a “category” romance? I didn’t know the term myself until a few years ago, but I knew the books! These were the Harlequin, Silhouette, Boon & Mills books many of our mothers read. You remember, the ones that came four to a box and were shipped every month? The covers all looked the same, and many were numbered sequentially, like magazines. They were called category romances because they were all from the same category of feel-good stories, all of a certain length (shorter novel), and were very formulaic or, what I might call tropey.

One of my romance favorite tropes? Rich man, unhappy man. Both men have had their share of heartache, but it’s usually the rich man who shoulders the heavier weight. There’s just something about a rich man who hasn’t figured out how to be happy that romance readers (and writers) like me love. I’ve written this trope in a less Harlequinesque way in Prelude, one of the Blue Notes Series books. Both David Somers from Prelude and Jesse Donovan from First Comes Marriage, share another thing in common: both were raised by their grandfathers. But that’s where the similarities end, because Jesse’s grandfather was a loving and kind man, whereas David’s was, to put it mildly, a tyrant.

The similarities and differences between these two books show just how many different ways a trope can be spun. Although both books are about healing through the power of love, the Dreamspun Desires line is much less about angst and more about romance. So the tried and true trope (Oy! Say that 5 times in a row!) plays out differently in First Comes Marriage. Unlike David, who doesn’t believe himself deserving of love, Jesse was raised with plenty of it. So when struggling writer Chris comes into the picture and he and Jesse become good friends, Jesse knows far sooner that he’s falling for Chris. And he’s open to the possibilities, where David shuts himself off from Alex.

Ultimately, a rich man can’t really buy love. But in the case of Jesse and Chris, the million dollars Jesse offers Chris to enter into a marriage of convenience is what smoothes the way for a real relationship built on love and, eventually, trust.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from the scene where Jesse first “proposes” to a stunned Chris. I hope you enjoy it! By the way, if you haven’t yet read Prelude, it’s 25% off a Dreamspinner Press until January 22nd. –Shira


Excerpt from Chapter Three of First Comes Marriage:

“I… I have a business proposition for you.” A slight hesitation. Not quite a stutter, but Jesse definitely looked nervous.

“Business? Thinking of buying a publishing company to add to your collection?” Chris joked.

Jesse laughed and pushed his glasses up with his forefinger. “N-no. But you might think this is a lot stranger.”

“Try me.”

“I need to get married,” Jesse said, as if this explained everything.

“Good for you. I hope you’ll both be happy.” Chris shoved the image of Jesse with one of the women from the gossip pages from his mind. He hoped Jesse wasn’t going to ask him to write their vows.

“Sorry,” Jesse said, clearly frustrated. “I know it’s a strange topic. Let me rephrase that.” He inhaled an audible breath and said, “I… I want you to marry me.”

Chris was sure he’d misheard. “You… what?”

“I want to marry you.” No hesitation this time, and Jesse’s eyes shone with a look of keen determination. As if he’d shifted from geek to overdrive.

“Good one!” Chris laughed and shook his head. “Next you’re going to tell me I’ve been nominated for a Pulitzer.”

Jesse blanched where Chris had expected a good-natured laugh in response. “I’m not joking.” He set his glasses on the table and leaned in, giving Chris the impression that he’d unwittingly stumbled into a business negotiation and Jesse was running the show.

Chris swallowed hard. “Jesse, you’ve totally lost me here. We’ve known each other a whopping two weeks, you’re straight, and you tell me you want to marry me. I mean… are you fucking nuts?”

“I deserve that.” Jesse pressed his lips together in a tight line. “And maybe I am crazy. But I’m not joking.”

“Okay. So why don’t you tell me what’s going on here.”

“It’s… complicated.” Jesse raised his chin and sat straighter in his chair, as if willing his confident persona not to hightail it out of the coffee shop. Damn, the man was sexy even when he looked completely lost.

Chris chuckled. “I get that, seeing as you’ve lost me.”

Jesse rallied, infused once again with what Chris had begun to think of as his Wall Street confidence. “I have to get married or I’ll lose my inheritance,” he explained.


First Comes Marriage on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks
Barnes & Noble


a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Shira Anthony is a complete sucker for a happily-ever-after, and rarely reads or writes a story without one. Never a fan of instalove, Shira likes to write stories about real men with real issues making real relationships work.

In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. Her Blue Notes Series is loosely based upon her own experiences as a professional musician.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Interested in hearing Shira sing? Here’s a link to a live performance of Shira singing an aria from Puccini’s “Tosca”:…

You can subscribe to Shira’s monthly newsletter for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests here:


Where you can find Shira

Twitter: @WriterShira

See below add image 1 for blog tour


Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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