A lie turns to love in the latest novel from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Taming of the Billionaire.
Billionaire Sebastian Cabral loves his family, he just doesn’t love their reality TV show, The Cabral Empire. So when his ex-girlfriend tries to rekindle their relationship on camera, Sebastian decides that drastic measures are in order.
By day, Chelsea Hall is a happy-go-lucky, rough and tumble roller derby skater. By night, she’s still living in fear of her past. Most of all, she just doesn’t want to be alone. And she really, really doesn’t want to date.
So when their mutual friends’ upcoming wedding turns Chelsea and Sebastian into fast friends, they realize they can solve both of their problems with one life-changing lie: a quick trip down the aisle.
But with one kiss, Chelsea and Sebastian suddenly realize that their pretend relationship is more real than either of them expected…
Source: ARC from the author
Oh, Sebastian. Rarely have I come across a hero as sweetly lovely as this one. He definitely won’t appeal to everyone as he’s very beta and pretty sensitive, but the way he treats Chelsea is wonderful. He might be a billionaire, but this is no dominant, alpha male. His money is inherited and his life is pretty aimless. He wants to be an artist, but his family has always scoffed so hard at him for it that he’s taken to hiding his talent. Instead he works out and broods in his mansion, while avoiding his family and the insanity that is their reality TV show.
The current story lines are why he makes his deal with Chelsea. An ex-girlfriend desperate for fame is making a play for him as part of the show, which he has no intention of going along with. Luckily the bridesmaid he’s being paired up with at a friend’s wedding is not only gorgeous, but she’s only interested in a safety date – someone to hang out with at all the events to hold off unwanted attention. He gladly agrees to it, and goes one step further, suggesting they get married for two years to really put everyone else off.
It sounds like a daft idea, and it is, but there are deeper, darker issues at play here, perhaps a little more series than one might expect from the sexy, fun, froth tales that Jessica Clare usually serves up. Because Chelsea is a survivor, but the scars mean she’s afraid of the dark, hates being alone and can’t handle male attention. However, Sebastian makes her feel safe. I absolutely loved that about their relationship, that Chelsea always feels safe with Sebastian, because he’s not pushy or demanding and he listens to her. Even when he admits to his attraction, he still makes her feel safe enough to snuggle when she’s not capable of more.
Chelsea is a complicated character, with her gutsy roller derby persona that’s so at odds with the bubbly girl she presents to most of the world, which again is totally different to her more frightened moments. She’s strong and determined to move on, but she’s also not afraid to lean on people for help, even if she worries that sometimes she’s leaning too much. There’s no quick fix for her, either, which I really appreciated, especially as there’s also hope – and with a guy like Sebastian how could there not be?
Because of all this, this book is a little more serious at times than I’d normally expect from this author and the romance is of a different flavour, but I still really enjoyed it. There’s still lots of fun, a loads of flirting and plenty of heat once certain boundaries have been established. The romance is more tricky because for a long time Chelsea just doesn’t feel attracted to Sebastian – though he feels plenty – so instead of a lusty tale, this is more of a strong relationship that roots deep, then blossoms beautifully through support, friendship and finally attraction and heat – don’t worry Clare fans, there’s still plenty of sex. It’s all more complicated and takes a little longer to develop than usual, but I think it’s every bit as enjoyable as others in this series. (Then again, I absolute adore Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter by Clare’s alter-ego Jessica Sims, which also features a beta hero and a survivor heroine, so I guess this style of romance works for me.)
A little different than the rest of the series, this is still a great addition to the Billionaires, especially if you like beta heroes and complicated heroes. There’s also plenty of Gretchen/Hunter glimpses for fans too, which is always good fun. You might need a little more patience with this tale than normal, but it’s worth the effort. I can’t wait to see which couple is up next.
The Billionaire Takes A Bride is Out Now!
Visit Jessica Clare for more details.