The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon
Publisher: Forever (imprint of Hachette Book Group)
Length: Full Length (255 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
Manwhore. That’s what the board of directors-and the tabloids-thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn’t care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing-and no one-will keep him from his life’s legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that’s exactly what he’ll give them.
Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents’ funky boutique hotel back-even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It’s a simple business contract-six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband . . .
If readers enjoy the marriage of convenience theme then this is the romance for you. I like the fact that Merina and Reese were actually very well matched. Perceptions, assumptions, laser focused goals and passionate explosions of dialogue were effective walls between the two, but it was the passionate speech with the door knob that set the stage for knocking down all those walls. What follows allows readers and each protagonist to get to know one another. The results, though shocking, disconcerting and surprisingly sexy to Merina and Reese, were pure entertainment for me. The Billionaire Bachelor is a fun spin on a well-loved theme.
This novel is quite the see-saw. Reese is broken, Merina isn’t, sort of. Then Merina gets really broken and Reese has to step up and take the scariest risk of his life. How it all comes about, from learning what broke the hero, to what makes a confident Merina into a woman uncertain of her womanhood, to forging a bond that takes both hero and heroine by surprise and actually makes them better people, is why this story is so compelling. I didn’t find any slow paced scenes in the book; the author kept this character driven romance rolling right along. Reese is complicated, with pride and shame coloring his stubbornness. Merina is loving, mostly open and the first one willing to take a chance on making this marriage deception into something real and forever. As with any good romance, the conflict makes that a bum decision, at first. I like how the author resolved it.
I enjoyed meeting the secondary characters that populated the novel in support of Reese and Merina. I found that Reese’s dad and brother were more developed as characters than Merina’s parents or her best friend. I have an idea that it was a planned decision since Tag’s character, Reese’s brother, seems like a likely potential hero. Who is going to make this seemingly happy go lucky man turn serious about love? That’s a good question I hope someday to see answered. I just have to wait for what will seem like forever for the next book. And, I found Penelope to be quite the dragon, even though well intentioned and doing what she was hired to do. I would love to see her as a main character someday. She’d be fun to fluster because in this book she seemed much too perfect at her job.
Another reason that I enjoyed the novel was because of Merina. I loved the way she was written regarding her openness and joy of life. She knew that she could get hurt along the way, but her nature would not allow her to shy away from grabbing every moment of bliss that she found in Reese’s arms. The way she melted for him was so romantic. And the tie thing she had going on? How the author used Merina’s fascination with Reese’s ties was incredibly sultry and sexy. Of all the imagery the author used, those scenes were some of the best.
Ms. Lemmon’s The Billionaire Bachelor is not only entertaining but well written. There’s a lot of emotion, heart, love and optimism written into its pages so when the happy ever after finally came about it was satisfying and left me feeling quite cheerful. When a book leaves me in an upbeat mood in the end, for sure I’ll be recommending it to other romance readers. After all, one can never get too much of the ‘happy’ in a happy ever after.