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New Release Review: MARRIAGE BY DESIGN by Elley Arden (Designing Love #2)

Don’t miss author Elley Arden’s chat with character Trish DeVign here–with a giveaway!



Marriage by Design
by Elley Arden
(Designing Love #2)



Family first. That motto led Angie Corcarelli to become a carpenter and take over the family construction business when she was barely out of her teens. And now it’s leading her into battle against her best friend’s ex. Stuart Perrault and his swanky, family-run construction engineering firm have been tapped to oversee a highway project that includes demolishing a stretch of row homes. Over her dead body will it come to that. Stuart Perrault knows a thing or two about family allegiance. For the past fifteen years, he’s been working alongside his brother and father, dreaming about the day he’d be named CEO of the Perrault Group. But then came the bridge debacle in Paris. And now his dream seems a little further away. As he fights his way back to the top of the company, he isn’t about to watch another project fall apart just because his ex-girlfriend’s best friend is a loose cannon.

When Stuart’s father insists he take Angie out to dinner and neutralize things, he obliges. But has he bitten off more than he can chew? Angie isn’t at all what he expected, and his usual self-control doesn’t seem to work when he’s around her.

The more time Angie spends with Stuart, the harder it is to see him as the bad guy she’d believed him to be. But falling for each other would mean going against their respective families. Are they strong enough for that?



Marriage by Design is a sweet, satisfying read. It’s easy to feel for Angie and Stuart right away–they’re both such sympathetic characters that even though what they want appears to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, you hope they are both somehow satisfied in the end.

Which they are, because of the requisite HEA, of course. But do they end up with what they originally thought they wanted…?

If you’ve read Baby by Design, book one in the series, you know that there’s already built-in conflict–Stuart used to date Trish, Angie’s best friend, and Trish’s husband, Angie’s brother Tony, can’t stand the guy. Family is just about everything to Angie, so she’s going to have a hard time accepting and giving in to her attraction to Stuart.

Stuart’s family also creates conflict–his father has pitted Stuart and his younger brother Ethan against each other practically since birth, making the two of them compete for the family business. Stuart thinks he’s finally got the upper hand–maybe–all he has to do is obey his father and manipulate the woman he’s quickly falling for…

But no worries, because it’s just business, right?

Ms. Arden did a nice job with the enemies-to-lovers troupe here. Angie and Stuart’s early antagonism crackles off the page, as does their attraction. Their chemistry, from their earliest, most antagonistic scenes, is undeniable. The path to their mutual HEA is nicely set up, and it’s definitely satisfying when you get there. In the meantime, it’s a fun, sexy read.

Marriage doesn’t require you to have read Baby, but you see enough of the continuation of Trish and Tony’s story to make you curious about how the two of them got together. I’ll definitely be reading more from this new-to-me author in the future!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

Don’t forget to check out Elley Arden’s guest post and giveaway on the MARRIAGE BY DESIGN blog tour!

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