Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #1
Published by Hachette-Forever Source: Netgalley
Genres: Alpha Guy, Contemporary Romance, Fake Relationship, Love to Hate, Millionaire/Billionaire Hero, Romance
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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 . . .
I have to say, I seriously enjoyed this book. Way more than I thought I would. I really thought I was getting tired of the whole billionaire hero thing, but honestly, it works so well in this book. I also really loved the whole love to hate aspect of this book, how these people weren’t really in it for romances, but for more practical reasons.
I really adored our heroine, Merina, I mean she’s confident, and stylish, and willing to stand up and fight for what she believes in. I also loved how seriously she took her family’s legacy. You can tell she really loves her family, and she works so hard at her hotel, making sure the hotel is successful. She’s also just a really good person, she knows her employs, she’s there for her family, and when she is coerced into the whole marrying Reese thing, she genuinely cares about the people who come to be in her life because of this.
Reese, well, Reese wants to make sure that when his father retires from their company, that he is the one who is going to succeed him as CEO. However, the man’s got quite the reputation for being a playboy. The reality is he was burned once and swore off anything coming even close to romance ever again, so when he is able to secure Merina as his fake bride, he is sure this is going to be the key to getting the board on board with him being the CEO. He’s an interesting character. He has baggage to be sure. Sometimes he does things that are so out of character that you forget that most of the time he’s a jerk. Actually, I don’t think he is a jerk so much as he is one tracked, he is so focused on his job that kind of everything else falls to the side.
This book did such a great job at pulling me in. Between exes showing up and making drama, a fake relationship, real feelings, and media butting in, this book really takes you on a ride. I will say one thing, there were a couple of scenes in this book that really broke my heart, I think I may have ugly cried, and if that’s not a recommendation for a book, I don’t know what is.
Even with her nostrils flared, Merina forced a smile. There was only one way past this gatekeeper. She called up an ounce of poise—an ounce being the most she could access at the moment. “Merina Van Heusen to see Reese Crane.”
“Ms. Van Heusen,” the woman said, her tone flat, her eyes going to the doorknob in Merina’s hand. “You’re here regarding the changes to the hotel, I presume.”
“You got it,” Merina said, barely harnessing her anger. How come everyone was so damn calm about dismantling a town landmark?
“Have a seat.” Crane’s bulldog gestured one manicured hand at a group of cushy white chairs, her mouth frowning in disgust as she took in Merina’s dishevelment. “Perhaps I could fetch you a towel first.”
“I won’t be sitting.” She wasn’t about to be put in her place by Reese’s underling. Then her prayers were answered as the set of gleaming wooden doors behind the secretary’s desk parted like the Red Sea.
Merina barreled forward as the woman at the desk barked, “Excuse me!”
Merina ignored her. She wouldn’t be delayed another second…or so she thought. She stopped short when a woman in a very tight red dress, the neckline plunging into plentiful cleavage, her heels even higher and potentially more expensive than Merina’s Louboutins, swept out of the office and gave her a slow, mascaraed blink back. Then she sashayed around Merina, past the bulldog, and left behind a plume of perfume.
Reese’s latest date? An escort? If Merina believed the local tabloids, one and the same. Paying for dates certainly wasn’t above his pay grade.
Before the doors closed, she slipped into Reese’s office.
“Ms. Van Heusen!” came a bark behind her, but Reese, who stood facing the windows and looking out upon downtown, said three words that instantly shut his secretary up.
“She’s fine, Bobbie.”
Merina smirked back at the sour-faced, coal-eyed secretary as Reese’s office doors whooshed shut.
“Merina, I presume.” Reese still hadn’t turned. His posture was straight, jacket and slacks impeccably tailored to his muscular, perfectly proportioned body. Shark or not, the man could wear a suit. She’d seen the photos of him in the Trib as well as Luxury Stays, the hotel industry’s leading trade magazine, and like every other woman in Chicago, she hadn’t missed the gossip about him online. Like his more professional photos, his hands were sunk into his pant pockets, and his wavy, dark hair was styled and perfect.
Clearly the woman who had just left was here on other business…or past business. If something more clandestine was going on, Reese would appear more mussed. Then again, he probably didn’t muss his hair during sex. From what she gleaned about him via the media, Reese probably didn’t allow his hair to muss.
The snarky thought paired with a vision of him out of that suit, stalking naked and primed, golden muscles shifting with each long-legged step. Sharp, navy eyes focused only on her…
He turned to face her and she snapped out of her imaginings and blinked at the stubble covering a perfectly angled jaw. What was it about that hint of dishevelment on his otherwise perfect visage that made her breath catch?
Thick dark brows jumped slightly as his eyes zoomed in on her chest.
She sneered before venturing a glance down at her sodden silk shirt. Where she saw the perfect outline of both nipples. A tinge of heat lit her cheeks, and she crossed her arms haughtily, glaring at him as best she could while battling embarrassment.
“Seems this April morning is colder than you anticipated,” he drawled.