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.
My high school best friend lived overseas for three years between undergrad and law school. He’d done a summer program in Europe between junior and senior year and fell in love with the city he’d lived in. When he went back for his three-year stint as an ex-pat, he fell in love with a man.
Shortly after he moved to New York for law school, we had coffee and he explained that his boyfriend was having trouble getting a visa to stay in the U.S., so they were rendezvousing in England, somewhere they could both meet without risk of deportation, every other month. My friend had gotten a job against the rules of his program, which forbid first-year law students from working because it distracted from studying, so that he could afford to fly to England a few times a semester.
That was unsustainable; my friend wound up finishing law school in London. He and his now husband set up a life there. It sounds grand and romantic, but it’s complicated by the fact that my friend had been accepted at one of the best law schools in the country, located close to his family and friends, but the love of his life was on the other side of the ocean. If the Defense of Marriage Act had not still been the law of the land, the story might have played out differently. When the U.S. Supreme Court finally did make marriage equality a reality for every American, my friend already had a life and a home in Europe.
But he was very much on my mind when the law changed. And he was on my mind when I started writing a book about a gay green card marriage.
Because that’s a thing you can have now.
It’s one of those tropes you see on TV or in books that plays out in predictable ways: two people enter into a marriage of convenience so that one of them can stay in the U.S., despite risking getting caught by Immigration. And there’s always a scene where Immigration does a home visit and nearly catches the lie.
I researched it, and it turns out that there are too many green card marriages for Immigration to actually check up on all of them, so the reality is that, although marriage fraud is illegal, a lot of people who enter into such arrangements are probably not caught. But large sums of money being exchanged do tend to catch the attention of Immigration.
Anyway, there’s some reality in those old silly tropes, and I tried to be conscious of it as I wrote. Hopefully the book is mostly just fun, though.
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.