Hiya peeps, we have Kate McMurray popping in today to show off her upcoming release The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom, we have a wonderful guest post from Kate and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! ❤ ~Pixie~
The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom
Marriage gets less convenient when love is involved.
It started simple: Ondrej Kovac marries Archie Katsaros so Ondrej can stay in the US, away from his judgmental family in eastern Europe. Archie marries Ondrej in exchange for the money to bail out his failing company. It’s a fraud neither man is convinced he can pull off.
But as Archie introduces Ondrej to New York society and Ondrej proves his skill in the office, they start to discover a connection between them. Can they overcome the rocky foundation their relationship was built on, meddling immigration agents, gossip columnists determined to out their deception, and an aggressive executive set on selling Archie’s company out from under him? Only if they can prove to each other their love is worth fighting for.
When the US Supreme Court ruled that marriage equality was the law of the land a year ago, one of the first things I saw on social media was an editor saying she was ready for all the gay green card books.
I’d actually been playing around with such a plot, loosely based on a friend of mine who lives overseas because he married a European man who couldn’t get a visa to come to the US. Under the old laws, they were essentially exiled if they wanted to stay together. I still want to write a story based on my friend, but then I started thinking about how the plot changed with a simple court ruling. My friend and his husband could move to the States if they wanted to now.
The ruling also makes other stories possible. Imagine if an American man met a sexy tourist, and they had a whirlwind romance. If they wanted, they could go to City Hall and get married before the tourist hopped the flight back home.
My contribution to Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun Desires line started with an old idea: the green card marriage. I don’t know how frequently this happens outside of books and television, but certainly same-sex marriage becoming legal means that if, say, a man wanted to emigrate to the US and had trouble doing so under other methods, he could potentially enter into a green card marriage with another man.
And so we have the set up for The Greek Tycoon’s Green Card Groom, in which the titular Greek tycoon, Archimedes Katsaros, enters into holy matrimony with Czech immigrant Ondrej Kovac. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement: Ondrej wants to move to the US and so agrees to give Archie the money he needs to shore up his business in exchange for the green card. And Archie is just high profile enough that the men have to pretend they love each other, both for Immigration and for New York Society.
To me, it’s a fun spin on an old trope. It’s a marriage of convenience set in modern-day New York. Then things get complicated when Archie and Ondrej start to fall for each other.
Ondrej nearly balked, wondering if he wasn’t signing his soul over to the devil. Certainly Archimedes Katsaros was the very picture of the devil, especially in the way his eyebrows now came to an angry point just above his nose. His neatly trimmed goatee wrapped around his chin, and his dark, curly hair hung near his eyes. A handsome devil, sure, but a devil just the same.
Still, Ondrej picked up the pen and glanced at the document on the counter before glancing back up at the clerk.
Archie Katsaros glared. “What is the hesitation, my love?”
“This is a significant moment, darling. I was merely pausing to soak it all in.” Ondrej took a deep breath and signed on the line.
The clerk beamed at them. “Congratulations, you two! I now pronounce you husband and husband.” She giggled. “Oh, I love doing that! Kiss!”
Archie raised an eyebrow and leaned forward, so Ondrej gave him a quick peck for appearances.
“That was so tame.” The clerk clucked her tongue. “Well, I can’t say this office is the most romantic place ever. I’ll bet you’ll wait to do more until you’re behind closed doors later, huh?” She gathered up the papers Ondrej and Archie had just signed. “I’ll be right back. Bask in the moment!”
“Some moment,” Ondrej muttered.
“It could be much worse.”
Ondrej looked over Archie again. He agreed that there were a lot of ways this situation could be worse. Archie could be a woman, for one thing. At least this way, Ondrej wouldn’t have to fake attraction, even if he didn’t think much of his new husband as a person.
And to think, three months ago, before Ondrej’s work visa expired, he’d been a mere intern at Katsaros Holdings, a large New York real estate firm. Ondrej had just wanted something to do for a summer that involved not getting yelled at by his mother. He was lazy, she said, and how could such a sweet boy not want to marry the Reznik girl, whose family was as wealthy as Ondrej’s? So Ondrej had fled to the US, thinking he could kill a summer with odd jobs and men without the specter of his family hovering over him. He had a strong enough business background that the people he interviewed with at Katsaros had practically fallen over themselves to offer him a low-paying position. So he had agreed to the short-term internship and planned to spend the summer learning about American business and living it up in the city before returning to Prague.
Except when the internship ended and Ondrej was out of a job, he realized he loved New York. It felt like home in a way Prague never had. He wanted to stay.
Enter Archimedes Katsaros.
The whole agreeing-to-get-married thing wasn’t a completely desperate act, but Ondrej had begun to panic after a few weeks of unemployment. With summer over, no one was hiring, or else he was competing with college kids for whom employers had to do less paperwork for the few open jobs. When he got a call from the USCIS saying if he didn’t find a job within a set amount of time, he’d have to go back to Prague, Ondrej freaked out. He had consulted the only person he could think of to help him: his former boss at Katsaros Holdings. She’d nudged him toward this somewhat unorthodox solution.
It had seemed crazy at first. Ondrej had refused the first time Archie suggested this scheme. But the more he looked at Archie Katsaros—the more his lust for the handsome devil grew—the less insane the idea seemed.
It wasn’t a one-sided agreement. Ondrej had inherited a pile of money from his grandparents, who’d owned a winery in France. Archie needed a windfall to prop up a company that had been flailing since the death of his father, as he was now teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, despite the company’s public reputation for being a solid corporation. So in exchange for marrying Archie in order to stay in the States, Ondrej promised to invest some of his money in Katsaros Holdings. And wouldn’t sharing his inheritance with a male spouse really get his mother’s goat?
Archie did have three things going for him: he was a US citizen, he was gay, and he was dead sexy. This whole proposition was the most reckless thing Ondrej had ever done, and yet it still didn’t feel like the worst idea ever.
So now here they were. Married.
The clerk returned, a wide grin on her face. “All right, Mr. Katsaros and Mr…. Kovac.” She pronounced it Ko-vack. “Um. How do you say your first name, sir?”
“Like Andre. On-dray Ko-vatch.”
“Sure. Well. Congrats again, gentlemen. Any honeymoon plans?”
“Actually, we—” Ondrej started to say.
But Archie talked over him. “I plan to whisk my new husband away to the Florida Keys. He hasn’t seen much of this country outside of New York City, and I want to show him what else is here.”
“Oh, that will be delightful. My sister went to Key Largo on her honeymoon.”
The legal bit taken care of, Ondrej figured now he only had to worry about how to break the news that he’d eloped with his former boss to his friends and family.
As they walked out of the courthouse, Ondrej asked, “We aren’t actually going to Florida, are we?”
“We can if you like. I reasoned that with your fragile immigration status, we’d probably have to stay in the States until the paperwork is done. It is customary to go on some kind of honeymoon, right?”
Ondrej sighed. The prospect of spending a week or two cooped up with a man he barely knew was daunting. “It’s… we don’t have to go anywhere. This isn’t a real marriage. And you just told me last week you don’t have time for a vacation.”
Archie frowned. “That is true.” He glanced at his watch. “In fact, I should probably get back to the office right now.” They arrived at the corner, and Archie moved as though he were about to hail a cab.
“Such a romantic,” Ondrej said. “Spending your wedding day at the office.”
“You can’t have it both ways, sweetheart,” Archie said, raising his hand to hail a cab. “We either acknowledge this fraud and go back to what we were doing yesterday or we try to make the most of it. Personally, I’ve got a meeting with an architect about a new development tomorrow, and I still have a lot of prep work.”
So clearly Archie had made a decision that this was a business transaction and nothing more. Ondrej could work with that. “I was kidding.”
“Sure.” A cab pulled up. “You coming back to the office?”
“I’ll get the subway home,” Ondrej said. “Might as well finish unpacking.”
Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers and is currently the president of the New York City chapter of RWA. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.