Summer-themed reading was my goal in picking up a batch of books to try and this was one of them. I know the cover doesn’t exactly shout this, but it does count even if the beach and island resort portion was only the first portion of the book. The story is a modern fairy-tale style between a working class renaissance girl and a wealthy workaholic. It had many enjoyable aspects, but ended up being just an okay read for me. Although, yes, gotta go on notice here! A trapped elevator scene…love those.
The story opens with Bronte Dawson, winner of a radio contest trip to the Bahamas, being miserable because the hotel is not exactly what she expected in its shabby rundown appearance, the rain hasn’t stopped and the co-worker she brought along for companion complains the whole time after pushing Bronte into bringing her along. Its the first vacation in two years and she would just love to have one day in the sun at the beach. But miserable goes to dangerous when a hurricane blows up and the hotel is evacuated. Only Bronte and a cranky stranger she assumes to be the manager are trapped in an elevator and everyone leaves without them.
Logan Hawkings, founder and leader of the Billionaire Boys Club, has poured himself into his businesses since the one woman he thought loved him turned out to be a gold-digger. His fellow members and friends tell him he needs to take a break and to sweeten it he combines business with pleasure as he is looking over an island resort to renovate and get producing a profit. He ends up stuck in an elevator with a sweet, philosopher-quoting, woman who doesn’t know who he is so he gets to see her honest opinion without worry that she’s playing him for his money. They are stranded together and he plans to make the most of it.
Bronte’s miserable vacation has taken a turn for the better. She and Logan work to make sure basic needs are met until rescue, but they also give in to their attraction. She is getting her no-strings vacation tryst. She enjoys the strong, confidant man, but it is when rescue comes and the truth is revealed that she realizes that it was all a lie. This really complicates things and she has to figure out if she can be with a man like Logan and he has to work out whether he can open himself to trust again.
The basic plot was engaging for me. I like these fairy-tale style stories when the common person just being real gets a chance with a person out of their league, but also that the person of rank learns there is more to life than what they have. The scenario of being trapped on the island together was a nice touch too. I liked the band of brothers aspect with club members of wealthy guys and friends. It was fun having the setting shift to NYC to set the tone for the second half of the book when Logan’s secret is out.
It was an interesting romance dynamic too. Not sure I entirely bought it and not because Logan has an obscene amount of money and Bronte doesn’t. Its tough to explain, but in trying to make Bronte as opposite in situation to Logan as there can be, she becomes out of his league more than just the money. She gets this degree in philosophy and can quote ancient philosophers, but she is content to work a minimum wage waitressing job with no future dreams or goals. She gets prickly and gets some reverse snobbery going on when really there’s not a whole lot to defend there since she’s boxing at shadows. I’m not dissing those who work hard in low-paying jobs, but it was her attitude and assumptions about it more than Logan’s that was the problem. He does challenge her because he sees more in her than she sees in herself, but he’s not ashamed of her like she constantly assumes and blames him for. She puts a lot on Logan to carry the relationship and I just struggled with the romance because of it.
I felt like the story stalled out about seventy percent in. Everything is galloping forward including their relationship. Logan does something stupid and Bronte runs (this is becoming a pattern since she did this before too). This is understandable, but then Logan gets his act together and tries to make amends only for Bronte to start playing coy for several pages. I had a twitchy hand that just wanted to smack her for going all whiny and hand-wringing (you love him, he loves you, so get over yourself and stop punishing the guy for your insecurities). Fortunately, she does eventually do that with the help of straight shooter Gretchen planting her boot up Bronte’s butt. I wasn’t impressed that it took someone else fighting for her relationship before she did anything about it.
From Logan’s side of things, he is an arch-type of exactly what one would expect from a guy born to money, but he has a tender side that is willing to hold out for a real relationship. He totally redeems the romance because of this. I loved seeing him tentatively reach out and push past his trust issues to see the gem that is Bronte. He doesn’t care that she is a waitress; he cares that she really likes him as a person and wants to be with him. He loves her warmth, laughter and smiles and wants that in his life. He is willing to go out on a limb and bring someone with her background into his world. He wants to lavish her with things to show his appreciation and not to change her. He does tend to be controlling and possessive particularly with Bronte because he knows a good thing and doesn’t want to lose it, but he doesn’t quite know how to balance the feelings to actions that won’t smother her. She really brings out the best in him.
Now, while I found a lot to like, this one didn’t carry me away. The story didn’t dig deep enough for that. It’s a light weight read and I have nothing wrong with that save the fact that some connections needed to be made that weren’t. For instance, Bronte’s thing with the lies and the lavish gifts makes sense to the reader because the reader knows about her dad lying and cheating on his family, but Logan never gets the memo so all he knows is that he sets her off and sends her running. Even afterwards, when he makes amends she never gives him the underlying explanation of her issue. She wants trust, but she doesn’t give it. My last issue is going to sound weird and picky, but this book truly overuses the word ‘billionaire’. Honestly, I started laughing when I would see the word come up every few sentences. Definitely a case where less is more.
So I enjoyed, but wasn’t wowed by this story. The set up for Hunter and Gretchen’s story in the next book has me very interested so I definitely plan to forge ahead with the series. I think what I struggled with in this story was the heroine and another heroine will make all the difference in the world since I liked the plot and the author’s writing. Contemporary Romance lovers looking for a hot yet light weight summer read should try this one.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read the book in exchange for my honest review.
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