Series: Billionaire Bad Boys #1
Published by Forever
Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Buy Online: Amazon ♥ Barnes & Noble ♥ Kobo
Disclaimer: I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book. All opinions stated are solely mine.
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 fake marriage-turned-real story-line is one I enjoy a lot and THE BILLIONAIRE BACHELOR checks all the right boxes for me: sweet, sexy, fun and emotional, quite unlike any billionaire romance I’ve read. What sets it apart for me is the depth of emotions the characters experience as they deal with the unexpected feelings that flare between them.
Reese Crane works as hard as he plays and enjoys the billionaire bachelor lifestyle, with the perk of having a new woman on his arm every day. While his life is tabloid fodder, with his own Twitter hashtag, the board of directors don’t think that he is a fitting successor to his father as CEO of Crane Hotels, due to his lifestyle and if Reese doesn’t get ahead of this issue, he will lose the position he has worked all his life for. The perfect solution: a temporary marriage, and who better to play the role of his bride than a woman with the right background and everything to lose.
Merina Van Heusen grew up in her family’s boutique hotel and expects to take over running it when her parents retire, but much to her shock the financial burden on her parents means the hotel has become a part of the Crane Hotel chain and the only way she can get it back is to give six months of her life to Reese Crane. A price well worth it, in her opinion.
What both Reese and Merina do not expect is the attraction between them and while their marriage is fake, the chemistry between them is anything but and as you can expect, resistance is futile.
I really enjoyed this story and think it’s a great start to the series. I love Merina’s strength and passion, how fearless she was putting herself out there with Reese, courting heartbreak by being honest about her feelings for him even knowing that he was closed off to love.
Reese is the complete package: attractive and wealthy, but broken and Merina was perfect for him because she broke through all the barriers he had up and got to the man inside. One of my favorite things about this story is the behind-the-scenes look at the Crane family and their close relationships, their losses and how they brought them even closer and I loved Reese’s relationships with his father and brother.
Your summer reading list just got longer because there is no way this book shouldn’t be on it and I can’t wait for the rest of the series.
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.