Strategically Wed by Pamela Dalton

strategically wedTitle: Strategically Wed

Author: Pamela Dalton

Mills & Boon imprint: My copy is Romantic Suspense, but the only cover I could find online was Silhouette Intimate Moments

Year of publication: 2002

The heroine: Detective Maggie Bennington

The hero: Detective Griff Murdock

The blurb: A fake marriage between Maggie Bennington and Detective Griff Murdock to catch the thieves who were robbing wedding parties didn’t quite go as planned.

The weeks of forced seclusion, trying to figure out who wanted them dead, did nothing to alleviate the growing sexual tension between them. They found the vows to love, honour and cherish easy to obey – in bed!

Standalone or series: Standalone.

The review: I find it curious that in the blurb, it’s only mentioned that Griff is a detective, not Maggie as well. Griff and Maggie have a long history; Maggie’s late father, BJ, was Griff’s partner. Maggie has long resented Griff, because she felt starved of her father’s affection at Griff’s expense. Griff, in turn, was betrayed by his wife, who was cheating on him, and when she died in a car accident he discovered she was pregnant… but he’s not sure if he was the father. Griff has abandonment issues, because his mother dumped his as a child and he grew up in the foster system, and he resents Maggie because she left the force three years previously and her father was never the same.

Maggie is lured back to help with a case – thieves are raiding churches while wedding ceremonies are happening and stealing from the wedding party. In order to catch them, Griff and Maggie pose as newlyweds. Because they don’t know how the victims are being selected, they go through the motions of a real wedding – not even those they work with know the engagement is fake. At the ceremony, they bust the thieves, and as Griff and Maggie are leaving the church, shots ring out. Griff is rushed to hospital, and Maggie is persuaded by her godfather/father’s best friend/fellow cop Wylie to sign the marriage certificate and make the marriage legal, since they don’t know who shot at them and which one of them was the target.

Griff survives the surgery and they agree to annul the marriage when the shooter is caught. However, to continue on with the cover, they retreat to Wylie’s cabin, ostensibly to have their honeymoon, but in reality to keep them safe while Griff recovers.

Most of the book takes place at the cabin, and to be honest, it dragged a bit. They’re both attracted to each other sexually, but keep making excuses as to why they can’t have sex. They try to convince each other that the marriage being real would be a bad idea, but I never really got why. Yes, they have history, but they were obviously a good match and using her father as an excuse wore thin.

They had sex twice at the cabin, and there’s a scene where Maggie realises she wants to be pregnant with Griff’s baby, and has a thought about how the first time they had sex, she was safe because of the time of the month. Do women really still believe that you can’t fall pregnant at certain times in your cycle? Surely not. I think this line shows the book’s age. Overall, I enjoyed it, and I’m glad they stopped using excuses as to why they couldn’t be together and made the marriage real. And yes, they had a baby 🙂

I love the cover. Not sure if you can tell, but Maggie’s hair is extremely red – love it!