Note: This ARC was provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.
I read Jessica Lemmon's Second Chance series which featured four hot bad boys finding love, and now she starts her new series that has bad boys who just happen to be brothers and billionaires with The Billionaire Bachelor, novel number one in Billionaire Bad Boys. Reese Crane likes to keep women at arm's length emotionally, staying detached and not vaguely interested in any sort of committed relationship. He takes what he needs and wants, whether in the bedroom and boardroom, and goes on with his life, a life focused on continuing the legacy his father started with Crane Hotels. Unfortunately, it appears that the majority of the board of directors don't see him as CEO material, and a lot of that has to do with his reputation as a wealthy playboy. Reese is ready and willing to do whatever it takes to take over the role of chief executive officer when his father retires in half a year's time, even if it requires an image makeover.
The Van Heusen is a boutique hotel, and one that Merina Van Heusen has always considered hers. It carries their family legacy and she does her best to manage it to the best of her abilities. Unfortunately, her best isn't enough to stop her parents from selling their hotel to Crane Hotels, a decision which blindsides Merina, made even worse when realizes just how much debt her parents have been in and for how long. She's angry that the hotel they've given a personal touch to is going to a conglomerate and that changes being made are going to end up making it nothing more than a cold carbon copy of other Crane establishments. She is, however, presented with an extraordinary and unexpected opportunity to re-claim the Van Heusen. All it requires is for her to become engaged to and marry Reese Crane. She doesn't even like the man, but she'll do what it takes to get her hotel back. What she didn't count on was falling in love...
Ah, Jessica Lemmon so knows how to give her readers a bad boy who may start off as someone you'd like to smack upside the head and end up becoming someone you'd like to smack lips with. Reese Crane was not a nice guy for a good portion of the story. He was a jerk. No, I take that back. He was an ass, and a major one at that. The fact that he used a recently purchased hotel to strike a deal with Merina Van Heusen simply to cement his worthiness of becoming the kind of CEO his board approved of--or at the very least, a CEO with a reputation they didn't look their noses down on. Yes, not everyone finds the whole manwhore thing appealing, I guess, especially in the business world, no matter how much your net worth may be. As the story goes on though, you discover the different facets behind Reese's image, and just like Merina, you realize that he isn't quite the jackass of a billionaire you pegged the guy to be in the beginning.
It was fun reading the development of both Reese and Merina as main characters and their non-relationship that becomes a fake engagement and then a fake marriage, and then it feels not so fake any longer. The story is a familiar one, especially with someone like me who reads as many books as I do, but Jessica Lemmon never fails to entice me with characters that I end up growing rather fond of, characters who have their fair share of imperfections and failings but at the very core, are good people. The book also includes a number of good supporting characters with Tag Crane, the youngest among the Crane boys, who is the more laid-back version of his oldest brother and whose story is up next. I am most curious, though, about Eli Crane, the Marine who is still overseas, but his story won't come out till 2017. I can't wait to read both books and it's all thanks to a really good start with The Billionaire Bachelor. Four stars! ♥
Date Read: 01 July 2016
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