Review: Beauty and the Bachelor by Naima Simone (Bachelor Auction #1)

Note: This ARC was provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

Lucas Oliver has been plotting his revenge on the man who destroyed his family for fifteen years and his weapon of choice is none other than the man's daughter, Sydney Blake. After Sydney buys him at a charity auction, he wines and dines her, setting her up for a blackmail she never sees coming and leaving her with no other choice but to give in to his demands of breaking off her current engagement and marrying him as soon as possible. But in all his planning and scheming, Lucas never anticipates falling in love with his prey.

Beauty and the Bachelor by Naima Simone is the first novel in the Bachelor Auction series from Entangled Publishing's Indulgence imprint. Lucas Oliver waited fifteen years to put his plan of vengeance into play and using his enemy's only daughter is key to making everything work. He doesn't expect, however, to be so drawn to Sydney Blake, and he immediately senses that she's more than aware of his presence. Blackmailing her into marrying him is more than a sure way to get her to see him as her nemesis, but she does what is necessary in order to spare her father getting arrested. But there's more to Lucas than a man bent on revenge and the beast he's been gossiped to be and there's more to Sydney than the society princess and unassuming beauty she's portrayed as, making any relationship wrought with complications.

I love Naima Simone's ability to come up with characters who are both multi-layered and well-developed, making them easy to empathize with while  being aware of their faults. Lucas isn't an evil man, but he went into his plan for revenge without taking into consideration who would be run over in the process. Sydney is no simpering victim either; she's quietly steadfast and someone who has gone through her own difficulties in her past. Their becoming a couple, even under the circumstances, enabled them to bring out the best in each other, with Lucas showing Sydney that she can stand up for herself and not allow those around her to belittle or talk down to her and Sydney helping Lucas to open his heart and see that his life did not have to revolve around hatred. They were able to unload the guilt they carried with them for years.

This is my second Naima Simone read and her storytelling skills have yet to disappoint me, drawing me in with a complex story that has underlying aspects of love, hope, and redemption. There's a great deal of passion between Lucas and Sydney, whether times are surprisingly good or are filled with tension. The pacing was neither too fast nor too slow, building anticipation but not fostering frustration in me. I'm curious as to whether the next stories in the series will also be about bachelors in the same charity auction, and the door was certainly left open for one to be about Lucas's best friend. All in all, I enjoyed this book a great deal and look forward to reading the rest of the series. It also has me itching to read Naima Simone's previous releases because Beauty and the Bachelor is further proof of her gift for writing. It gets 4.5 stars! ♥

Release Date: 10 August 2015

Date Read: 09 August 2015

Learn more about Naima Simone here.

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