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The Husband Gambit

By: L.A. Witt
Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (193 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Marry me for one year. Payment: $1.2 million.  

Hayden Somerset is convinced the ad is a joke, but he responds anyway because, hello, $1.2 million. He’s broke, living in a tiny apartment with two roommates, and exhausted from praying his ancient car survives just one more week. His skyrocketing rent and crushing student loans aren’t helping either. At this point, there isn’t much Hayden wouldn’t do for that kind of cash.

The ad isn’t a joke. Jesse Ambrose is absolutely serious. His father, the charismatic patriarch of a powerful Hollywood dynasty, has his eye on politics, and he’s counting on California’s liberals and progressives to elect him. But Jesse knows what his father believes when cameras and voters aren’t around. 

As the election looms, he’ll do anything to force the man’s hand and show the public who Isaac Ambrose really is. Anything, including marrying a stranger, so his father will make good on his promise to disown Jesse if he ever takes a husband.  

Now he just has to wait for his father to take the bait...and try not to accidentally fall in love with his fake husband.

©2018 L.A. Witt (P)2019 L.A. Witt

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Likable characters, solid narrators

Don’t let the initial premise of this story put you off. Yeah OK, generally if I heard that a story was going to be about someone who answered an anonymous Internet ad for a paid husband impersonator, I would roll my eyes and put the book aside, unread. The only reason that I even gave this book a shot is because LA Witt’s Best work is creative, funny, emotionally engaging and worth re-reading more than once. Because of this, I gave The Husband Gambit a try, despite the initially uninspiring premise, and I’m glad I did. The author deals head on with the ludicrousness of anyone actually doing what Hayden does at the beginning of the book, and in typical fashion does so with humor and insight. As a result, I was able to suspend disbelief and keep reading, without getting mentally stuck on the fact that anyone who answers an Internet ad like that is really too stupid to live.

This is a slow burn romance. Witt’s books are frequently filled with smoking hot sex scenes, and while there are a few of those in this book, they occur mostly toward the end, and occupy a smaller fraction of the story than is typical for this author. The majority of the story centers around how these two characters come together emotionally, and grow as individuals. Both Hayden and Jessie are likable, thoughtful people whom you might actually want to know in real life. The story is sweet and charming more than seductive, but there is certainly enough bedroom action to keep things interesting and fun.

If you are still unsure about whether or not this book is the right fit for you, you might also wish to consider the narrators. Both Greg Boudreaux and Michael Ferraiuolo are capable of narrating a mediocre book as though it were the best thing they’ve ever read. In this case, they had a good book to start with, and blew the narration out of the water. You just can’t go wrong with these guys, as long as the material they are starting with is worth reading, and this book is. That said, there was one teeny tiny thing that made me a little nuts. One of Hayden‘s best friends in the story is a man named Luis. Michael Ferraiolo pronounces his name with a “Z“ sound at the end so it sounds like the woman’s name Louise. I’ve read another book narrated by him which includes the same mispronunciation, so at least he’s consistent, but if you know anyone bearing this name you know that the last sound is pronounced “S“ and it’s a little jarring. Other than that little hiccup, the narration for this book is fantastic.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Likes the story a lot but the narrators are the real treat

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the love story- it was sweet and funny.

But, the BEST part of this book is the stellar narration. I think I could listen to Michael Ferraiuolo read recipes and be fascinated. His inflection, accents, the way he stresses certain words... it’s really a whole other level than most narrators. I listen to A LOT of audiobooks and I truly have not heard better. Greg Boudreaux was fantastic too.

Well worth the credit!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good narration kept me listening

This plot has been done before and this version was just okay. What kept me listening was the good narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • MJ
  • Boston, MA
  • 09-02-19

Ok plot with issues, sweet, audio better than book

Strangely unbalanced in several ways. I was disappointed in the plot, because as fake marriage tropes go, this is a smart and potentially interesting set up.

Annoyed rants below, some of which may be SPOILERy.

- It took way too long for the MCs to express serious romantic interest in each other. This meant that the entire first half of the book was focused on establishing how horrific Jesse’s family is, with secondary attention to how weird this arrangement is for Hayden, and only very little on the developing relationship between Hayden and Jesse, which simply warms into friendship. The focus on the horrible evil terrible very bad father is overdone at the expense of developing everything else, for example:

- Just exactly how are Hayden and Jesse establishing their couplehood publicly? They never discuss it. Not even once. They don’t have one single conversation about PDA, or being seen in particular places, other than at Isaac’s parties. They each get emotionally tripped up by things like trying on wedding rings, but they are apparently either not even trying to present as lovers, or they have no issue at all doing so - both of which seem highly unlikely. They give all this lip service to worrying about others’ suspicions, but whose? And what are they doing to convince anyone they’re more than dudes hanging out, anyway? Which forces one to ask:

- Where on EARTH is the freaking press?! This is a book about an extremely wealthy, extremely powerful Hollywood dynasty led by one of the most controlling, compelling figures in the industry. Even the lesser-known son is going to have press at his heels at every step of this developing relationship that is supposedly blossoming into marriage to Hayden. The wedding, the honeymoon- they’d’ve been hounded for their every look, kiss, thought, moment. And they could’ve made that work for them. They SHOULD have made that work for them! Jesse’s been in Hollywood his entire life. He would have had an excellent understanding of how to use the press to accomplish his goal, which is essentially something it will do for him (with avid, maniacal joy) if he can just present the right evidence. (And where the hell are the press the night of the party? People like this don’t have parties without the press. One major point of the party IS the press. They should’ve had the press breaking their door down five minutes after they checked into that motel.) The press is mentioned exactly once, near the beginning as Hayden is figuring out how this would work. It makes so little sense that it became a huge distraction.

- Leading to another press related question: Why would Isaac want to tow the car publicly making a huge fuss?! He’s just embracing his inner homophobe now for all the world? He’s still in public damage control, despite his eagerness to get the disowning show on the road in private. This is a moment Jesse could, and should, have turned to HIS advantage- his lying dick of a father *towing his kid’s car* in punishment for marrying another man. Pretty powerful image. A genius Hollywood director and his industry-steeped son would both understand that.

Really good audio performance. Both narrators are outstanding. Not a good choice to have them alternate chapters since you get two different voices for each character including the MCs, an odd effect.

Overall, this needed help in the story department. Characters are great, and it’s potentially the best fake marriage setup I’ve ever seen; disappointing that the execution was 3/5 stars.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Cute story

Great narration and a wonderful love story to listen to. Lovable characters who make you feel what they are. Good supporting characters, too.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Oh wow!

Oh wow!!! This is so good .. extremely well written. And the story is so fun and quirky and still so serious.
And an absolutely phenomenal narration by Greg and Michael, they make an amazing teamwork and the result is a very enjoyable experience.
This one is highly recommendable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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typical story

Usually I love this author's stories, but this one fell short. Typical love story and actually struggled to finish, but because of these two fantastic narrators. I have waited years to listen to a duo with these two. These narrators are some of the best I've heard and would love to hear them again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

entertaining

Story comments: I liked that the majority of the story centres around how Hayden and Jessie come together emotionally, and grow as individuals. Both Hayden and Jessie are well written, likeable, thoughtful characters and the story is sweet and charming.

Narrator comments: Greg Boudreaux is one of my favorite narrators and there hasn't been a book i've listened to narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo that I haven't enjoyed. The narrations of their respective chapters were both excellent, each character given their own distinct personality and voice. That being said, I didn't particularly like the alternating of narrators as they each read their respective character's POV chapters. Both narrators had a slightly different take on the MC's personalities so you got two different voices for each character and I found it really distracting. For this reason alone, I probably won't listen to this one again. I would have enjoyed the book better if either one of the narrators read the book in it's entirety - two narrators was unnecessary.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent narration

The story is just above average. What makes you continue to listen is Greg B & Michael F. I don’t think I would’ve like it if I was reading it

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great performance, average story

I didn't listen to the whole narrative so take my review with a grain of salt. For all I know, the second part of the story was good enough to deserve a solid 5 and I missed out (although I highly doubt it). The repetition of how poor Hayden was and how ridiculously extravagant rich people live was very annoying. We get it already. Move on. Hayden's inability to grasp the idea of buying a tux or driving a nice car and his judgmental attitude got of my nerves although I could have understood resentment or even anger in his situation. The scenario itself and Jesse's father's contradictory actions had too many holes in it to hold up. If you can ignore that, I suppose the story might be ok (probably because of the great narrators). Anyway, I did like Jesse well enough. On a positive note, Michael Ferraiuolo and Greg Boudreaux's performance was amazing as always and it was the reason I got halfway through the audio.

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Profile Image for A. Listener
  • A. Listener
  • 09-14-19

Hard to rate this one. Would have been a 3.5

Good plot. But nothing original. That's fine, I don't mind a cliche as long as it's entertaining.
Good narration.
I appreciate the fact that it wasn't just filled with sex on every page. That the two main characters had feelings and emotions.
I hate pure smut, and I wish there was a way to filter those out.
Having said that, I didn't fall in love the two main characters. Parts of their personality irritated me. But that's acceptable, I like flawed characters.
I would have given it 3.5. But since it's either a 3 or 4, I decided to give the story 4 stars.

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  • Pixiebell
  • 08-05-19

Highly Recommended

L.A Witt is a go to author for me and this book didn’t disappoint. I throughly enjoyed the story and found both Hayden and Jesse likeable and thought they had great chemistry both in and out of the bedroom.
However, what made this book stand out for me was the dual narration comprising of Greg Boudreaux and Michael Ferraiuolo! As far as I am aware this is the first time these two narrators have worked together on an audiobook and they were awesome! I hope they get a chance to work together again in the future.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-04-19

Loved it

Loved the ebook and listening to the audiobook was even better. The two narrators Michael Ferraiuolo and Greg Boudreaux who are some of my favourite narrators brought to book to life and complimented each other excellently.