There is something about a growly alpha hero who convinces a likable heroine to enter into a marriage of convenience that just does it for me. Suzanne Wright’s The Favor does this trope extremely well. Vienna is a spunky, smart survivor who works as a highly competent executive assistant for her boss, Dane. Dane needs a wife to claim an inheritance and convinces Vienna to be his wife.
In this scene, someone is trying to sour the relationship between Dane and Vienna by sending some misleading evidence that the hero might be seeing someone on the side. There is no cheating in this book (it’s all a trick), and this scene takes place the morning after the two main characters resolve their issues:
He carefully shackled my left wrist and lifted my hand. He looked at the rings, his eyes glinting with something I couldn’t quite name. “You see these as props. They might not have the same meaning to us that they have to other married couples, but they’re not meaningless. In a sense, they represent the agreement we made that night in your old apartment. If I’d thought you’d betrayed my trust like you thought I’d betrayed yours, I’d have been just as pissed as you were—if not more.”
His eyes darkened as he tightened his grip on my wrist. “And if I’d thought you’d let another man fuck you, I wouldn’t have been anywhere near as calm as you were last night,” he said, his voice pitched low and deep. “I wouldn’t have been in the mood to talk and ask questions. All I’d have wanted to do is hunt the bastard down and beat the living shit out of him. He’d have been pissing blood for a fucking week. For as long as you wear these rings, you’re mine; no other man has the right to touch you. I’d never fucking allow it.”
I swallowed, downright blown away by the possession blazing in his eyes. “And the ring on your finger?”
“Says I’m off-limits just the same. There’s no gray area here—no other man touches you; no other woman touches me. So bear all this in mind if someday soon you think you’ve met the man who’ll make the perfect husband. I wouldn’t let you wriggle out of our deal. I wouldn’t let him have you. And I wouldn’t feel in the least bit remorseful about holding you to me. Does that make me a selfish asshole? Yes, without a doubt. But you already knew that about me.” He nipped the heel of my palm and then released my hand.
If you like possessive, billionaire heroes, I highly recommend this read.