Hired Bride is a book by American author, Jackie Merritt, in the Fortunes of Texas series. Gwen Hutton, widowed mother of three, is just managing to keep her head above water with her little services company, Help-Mate. When Zane Fortune comes home unexpectedly as she is washing his dog, he hits upon the idea of paying her to attend a family wedding: Gwen’s very attractive, and it will keep the Fortune women off his back about settling down if they think he’s in a relationship. Gwen reluctantly agrees: she needs the extra cash, but she stipulates “no funny business”. Zane is rich and gorgeous, way out of her league; she’s not interested in an affair, anyway, and he is a confirmed bachelor. But then he kisses her.
Sexy romance is what Merritt does well, and this book, despite being a little longer than her usual romances, it an excellent example of the genre.as part of the Fortunes of Texas series, the background story continues: in this instalment, a kidnapped baby is finally returned to his parents, someone ends up in a mental ward and a hitherto unknown Fortune turns up. An enjoyable romance.