The Marriage Auction: Season One, Volume Four by Audrey Carlan
The Marriage Auction
by Audrey Carlan
Published by Blue Box Press
Season One, Volume Four
What would you do for three million dollars?
Four young women enter into a clandestine auction to be married to the highest bidders. For no less than a million dollars a year, for three years, each woman will do what it takes to secure her future. Entangled in a high-stakes game of money, lust, power, and the hope for absolution, this group of women becomes a sisterhood unlike any other.
Once chosen by a man she’s never met and agrees to marry sight unseen…there is no going back. Hidden secrets, wicked desires, fiery couplings and intense family drama are all part of the deal when you willingly enter into The Marriage Auction.
You may now kiss the bride…
Content Warnings: Intended for mature audiences only. Explicit content. Please check the author's website for detailed content warnings.
It's the end! Volume four was a lot of action, lots of romance and steam, and good conclusions to the featured couples. As I have with the other reviews, I will be going couple by couple. Any spoilers will be hidden between arrows (highlight to read them).
Dakota and Sutton: To be honest, their story ended a while ago. They were in love back in book two, and planning their future. The pregnancy just lengthened it, and it was a bit boring. It would have been much more interesting for Dakota and Sutton to dig further in the past, and uncover that her father actually murdered her mother instead of her committing suicide. Honestly, it would have been better to no have chapters on them at all, and just have them in Savannah and Erik's story as side characters. It wasn't bad. It just was boring to read. And as a mother of twins, please know that a twin pregnancy doesn't equal worse symptoms. I was actually rarely sick with my twins, but with my singleton, was sick 24/7 my whole pregnancy. My. Whole. Pregnancy. I feel your pain Dakota. *shivers*
Noah and Opal: Again, anti-climatic. We don't get any relationship building at all. They bicker, they come to an agreement to marry for convenience, and the most exciting thing is Nile and Ruby finding out. I needed more for this couple. Nice that that are happy, but I don't get why.
Ruby and Nile: Same as Noah and Opal. They do get more moments where you can see them getting closer, and building a trust and bond, but otherwise, it wasn't enough for me. I will say, I do love how he reacted to article about her past job. Class act.
Erik and Savannah: This is the couple that I was the most invested in this series, and while I love their relationship, and how she helps Erik finish his bucket list, and holds his hand through his biggest fear, I wasn't in love with the storyline with the ex. ------------> Savannah is a smart girl. I don't think she could miss the fact that her fiancé, the love of her life, was crazy pants. It just seemed so out of left field. I almost think it would have been better to have a story where, yes, he is brokenhearted, but that's it. That's life. I didn't need a reason to hate the guy to root for Erik and Savannah. It just made things a little too easy for her to move on. <---------------- While I am not a fan of their arc in this last volume, I think they are still my favorite couple.
Faith and Joel: I came around to their story in the end. It was tied up in a nice, neat little now. The action had me rushing to get to their next chapters though. Predictable - yes - but also interesting.
I know it seems like I've been a bit harsh on some of the couples here, but take a look at my rating. Four stars is nothing to scoff at. Despite some of the couples not having the storyline they deserved, the other couples arcs were entertaining, their chemistry was bleeding through the page, and the romance and sex was chefs kiss. I will definitely be looking forward to the next season.
Savannah: "Sutton is elated you are having his child. Ever since this morning, the man has been so puffed up with pride it’s oozing out his fingertips. He’s a peacock, full fan of feathers stretched wide for everyone to see.”
I chuckled at the visual she presented and wiped away the tears.
Dakota: “You’re right. He’s acting like he battled a wild animal and came out the victor.”
Savannah grinned wide.
Savannah: “I mean, if it walks like a duck…”
I narrowed my eyes.
Dakota: “You calling me a wild animal?”
She lifted her shoulders toward her ears.
Savannah: “You are a little wild.” Noah: “Bollocks!”
he swore, and then set the champagne down, grabbed a towel, and put it over the mess. I chuckled as I approached.
Noah: “Opal, by God, you are perfectly effervescent this evening,”
he gushed, his features showing true awe. My cheeks heated as I smiled under his overt praise.
Opal: “Thank you. And thank you for the clothing. Everything is beautiful.”
Noah: “Not more so than my bride-to-be.”
He lifted a hand and gestured to my look while I beamed with satisfaction.
Noah: "Turn around, my darling. I’d like to see the entire dress.”
I slowly spun, glancing over my shoulder as I heard him making a groaning sound.
Noah: “Christ on high, poppet!”
He cursed again, lifted his hand, and bit into his knuckles.
Noah: “You should warn a man before showing that much skin,”
he said and then knocked back an entire glass of champagne as though he desperately needed a drink.
Opal: “You like?”
I teased, knowing he did by his response.
Noah: “Like isn’t the word I’d use.”
His gaze was intense as he stared into my eyes.
Noah: “Frankly, Opal, I want to tug at those teasing ribbons of fabric at your spine with my teeth before hiking the dress up at the back, bending you over that table, and having my wicked way with you before we leave.” Erik: “Jeg elsker deg,”
he said in his native tongue.
Savannah: “What does that mean?”
I remembered him saying that to me while we made love.
Erik: “It means I love you, but in my country, it is not as simple. It means far more than love. It means you are my life. You are my reason for existing.” P.S. Last night was only a taste, poppet. The things I plan to do to you as your husband would make a priest blush… Opal: “Kiss me, husband,”
Opal murmured and smiled softly. I cupped her cheek, brushed her nose with my own, and whispered against her succulent lips,
Noah: “With pleasure, wife.”
I kissed her soft. I kissed her slow. I kissed her with my whole heart. And I kissed her with my soul. Ms. Bancroft: “Your elbows never belong on a dining table, dearest,”
she chastised, but then her eyes widened at the same time mine did.
I reiterated, my mouth falling open in shock. Was that a term of endearment coming from the stodgy, prim, and proper governess?
Ms. Bancroft: “I misspoke, Ms. Dawson.”
She tried to change her tone and lifted her head and her chin in her normal stuffy position.
Ruby: “You like me!”
Ruby: “You really like me. You do! Admit it,”
I taunted playfully.
Ms. Bancroft: “Don’t be absurd. You are to be a member of my family. And if Nile chose you, he did so for a reason. That means you have redeeming qualities. I have found your eagerness and flexibility as it pertains to the wedding planning a welcome surprise. Also, I will admit to finding it endearing how much you aim to please my boy,”
she admitted. I grinned widely.
Ruby: “Mmm-hmm which means…you like me!”
Ms. Bancroft: “You can go wherever you please, Ms. Dawson. You live here and are soon to become the lady of the house.”
My eyes widened at the thought that based on what she was saying, the governess herself would technically answer to me when Nile and I married. I grinned wickedly.
Ruby: “I’ll bet that freaks you way out,”
Ms. Bancroft: “You have no idea,”
she stated flatly, but there was a tiny curve to her lips as though she was purposely preventing a smile. Nile: “You have nothing to apologize for.”
I eased back and stared directly into her stunning clear blue eyes.
Nile: “Your past does not define you, my love. Sometimes we do things because we have to, not because we want to.” Sutton: “Fuck me!”
Sutton roared, arching his head and neck back.
Dakota: “That’s exactly what I plan to do, cowboy.”
I reached for his hands at my hips and held them there.
Dakota: “Now lie back and enjoy the ride.” Dakota: “I’d really like that banana and peanut butter,”
I said, dead serious. He snuck another kiss.
Sutton: “I got you, baby.”
Dakota: “Don’t call me baby,”
I warned and narrowed my eyes.
Sutton: “Don’t be cute and I won’t call you baby,”
he rumbled and sucked on my bottom lip, then smacked my ass. Dakota: “Well, we know why I’m sick as the dickens,”
she growled and glared at her husband. I glanced at Sutton, who was standing tall, the brightest and biggest smile on his face. He positively glowed with pride and joy.
Savannah: “What’s going on? Why are you so sick? Is the baby okay?”
I asked. Sutton nodded and grinned like a loon. Dakota shook her head and crossed her arms, while she stared her husband down.
Dakota: “It’s your fault!”
she griped. He chuckled.
Sutton: “If you say so. And it’s awesome,”
he breathed as though nothing in the world could be better or funnier.
Savannah: “Um, hello! Two healing people over here being left out of the punch line,”
I reminded them. Erik gripped my hand as we waited. Dakota turned back around, shoved a hand through her hair, and shifted the wild strands.
Savannah: “What’s wrong?”
I stared to worry the longer she stared, spitting mad.
Dakota: “The bastard knocked me up with twins!”
she bitched, pointing at her stomach. Sutton burst into laughter so hard he bent over, clutching his stomach.
Dakota: “One surprise pregnancy wasn’t enough. Oh no. Not for big man Sutton Goodall. He had to go and knock me up with not one, but two babies!”
My mouth fell open in shock. Erik squeezed my hand and chuckled.
I whispered in awe. Dakota nodded her head and tapped her foot.
Dakota: “Now what the hell am I going to do with two babies at one time! I can barely believe we’re having one child.”
Dakota: “Don’t call me baby, you punk! You’ve already done enough in that department now, haven’t you?”
Then her face contorted into a mess of emotions and the waterworks started.
Her voice broke.
Dakota: “Two is going to be so hard.”
I stood up, opened my good arm, and she slowly walked straight into my chest, her face tucking to my neck, her tears wetting my skin. I embraced her the best I could and leaned against Erik’s bed for support.
Savannah: “You’re going to be fine. You have help,”
Dakota: “But you’re leaving.”
She sobbed even harder, her small frame shaking and trembling.
Savannah: “We’ll be here when the babies come. Right, honey?”
I glanced over my shoulder, planning to give Erik a silent nudge with my expression if needed.
Erik: “Absolutely. Whatever you desire,”
he agreed without me having to make any effort. My goodness, how I’d come to love that man. Every minute seemed to add to our connection. I held onto my sister, whispering platitudes to her the same way she’d done for me when I was at my worst over the years. She clung to me as she sniffled and calmed herself.
Erik: “It can’t be Sutton’s fault.”
Erik’s brows pinched together.
Erik: “I thought twins happened when the mother released two eggs or the mother’s egg split into two after the fact, creating identical twins?”
Erik asked unhelpfully. Sutton slapped his knees, laughing his ass off even harder. Dakota stiffened, slowly pulled back, and looked me dead in the face, tears still tracking down her cheeks.
Dakota: “You sure you want to marry that man?”
she asked, wicked sarcasm flowing to the surface through her tears.
Savannah: "Yes. Yes I do." Opal: "It’s the one true thing I have in life. Ruby’s love.”
Noah: “And me. You have me, Opal.”
His gaze locked to mine.
Noah: “You have me,”
he repeated it, sounding more like a vow than a statement. Dakota: “If there are two cribs fully put together in there, I am going to fall to my knees and suck you off so good you will see stars,”
she vowed on a weighty breath. I burst into laughter but also started to get hard at the visual.
Sutton: “Open the door, Dakota.”
I lifted my chin toward it. She sucked her bottom lip between her teeth.
Dakota: “Okay. Just sayin’… Good things come to those who buy cribs…” Dakota: “Good! Now let’s get you in Mom’s pearls and Irene’s hair comb, and you’ll be set to wed a Viking.”
Savannah: “Oh my God. He’s not a Viking!”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the continued comparison my poor Erik received.
Dakota: “If it walks like a Viking. Talks like a Viking. Has hair like a Viking. Looks like a Viking. He’s a dang Viking!” Sutton: “How you doin’, darlin’?”
Sutton cooed in that cowboy way that would make any cowgirl take notice.
Dakota: “Wishing I could partake of the champagne too,”
Sutton: “You know, we could do a big shindig wedding if you’d like? After the babies come,”
he offered sweetly. She made a gagging sound.
Dakota: “You think I want to go through marrying you again?”
Sutton: “Well, yeah?”
he answered, a boyish smile taking over his expression.
Dakota: “You’re delusional,”
Sutton: “And you’re beautiful.”
He leaned forward and kissed her.
Sutton: “Think about it.”
Dakota: “Okay, I thought about it. No freakin’ way. Dakota: “I swear on all things holy, Sutton, if you breathe on me one more time, I’m going to punch you right in the face,”
I threatened. His coffee breath was making me gag as another intense contraction rolled through me.
Sutton: “Woman, shut your kisser and push already. Quit your bitchin’ and bring my girls into this world!”
he fired back, his arm holding my thigh all the way back to my armpit.
#alpha #beta #rich #cowboy #girlnextdoor #loveatfirstsight #marriageofconvenience #lovetriangle #slowburn #squad #pregnancy