I received this book for free from Rock Star Lit in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon
Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #1
Published by Forever on June 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Source: Rock Star Lit
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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 . . .
The Billionaire Bachelor is a great start to a new series by Jessica Lemmon. I loved Merina and Reese together from the moment she stormed into his office demanding he give up his plan to completely redesign her family’s hotel, the Van Heusen. Reese’s father recently bought it and promised her parents he wouldn’t change anything, but his retirement means Reese will be taking over, and there are already changes being made. Changes Merina is not ok with. As far as she’s concerned, the Van Heusen is an historical landmark, a special hotel that guests choose because of its historic charm. As far as Reese is concerned, the declining profits mean people are more put off by its old-fashioned amenities and outdated, potentially safety-code-violating structure. He’s not going to take it down, but he is planning on extensive renovations that will bring it up to code and make it more modern.
The obvious solution is to get married for six months. What – was that not obvious to you? It makes sense to them. When Reese’s father retires, the board will have to name a new CEO. Reese wants it to be him. The board is hesitant because they’re Pilgrims who think an unmarried man (or presumably woman, to be fair) can’t possibly helm Crane Hotels. Particularly an unmarried man who celebrates his unmarried status with a rotating bevy of dates. So, they’ll get married for six months. Long enough for the board to approve him as CEO and be comfortable with him, then they’ll quietly get divorced. In return, once the six months are up and she’s fulfilled her obligations, he’ll sign over the Van Heusen Hotel, and she can do with it what she will. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, for starters, there’s the scorching chemistry between them. Giving into that would be a disaster for both of them. And this was the only reason I didn’t go five stars instead of four. I wasn’t really clear on why giving into that chemistry would be bad for both of them. Other than just “I don’t want to be tied down” and “You’ll break my heart”. Those aren’t invalid reasons, but once it becomes clear that everyone is on board, I’m not sure why Reese and Merina wouldn’t just go with it. Reese had a previous relationship that ended badly, but that’s his only hangup. The one bad experience taught him that women aren’t trustworthy and they don’t stick around. Well, that and his mother’s death, which seems unfair. It’s not like his mother chose to leave him. But “my one ex was a jerk/cheated so all men/women are untrustworthy forever” is not my favorite attitude in a hero or heroine.
There’s a bad relationship in Merina’s past, too, and while it makes her hesitant, she’s still more open to the possibility of finding love again. Which is good, because the heat between these two is off the charts. I loved these two together. There was so much fun banter and sexy fun. Even when they were trying to convince themselves and each other that they could make it through six months without getting emotionally involved, the heat between the manifested itself as snark and snappy dialogue. It’s what Jessica Lemmon does so well. Her characters are always so real, so fully developed. Within just a few chapters I felt like I knew Merina and Reese, like I could have joined them for one of their dates and just slid right into the conversation. They did their relationship absolutely backwards, but anything else wouldn’t have worked for these two.
We also met Tag Crane, Reese’s brother and the hero of book 2 in this series. I cannot wait to read his story. There’s something about watching a playboy meet his match and fall hard that I just can’t resist. And the three Crane brothers are tumbling, one by one.