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…
A former job-hopper, Jessica Lemmon resides in Ohio with her husband and rescue dog. She holds a degree in graphic design currently gathering dust in an impressive frame. When she’s not writing super-sexy heroes, she can be found cooking, drawing, drinking coffee (okay, wine), and eating potato chips. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want.
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.
Rating : 5 out of 5 Stars
Jessica Lemmon has an impressive way of developing her characters, until you feel you are reading about people you know. Her characters are vibrant, and they definitely are the strength of this story. They completely stole my heart!
Merina Van Heusen’s life is dedicated to her family’s hotel, the “Van Heusen”. The building is a landmark and is part of Chicago history. But the hotel has been sold to the wealthy family Crane, to avoid bankruptcy. Reese Crane is the COO of his family’s hotel company. His vision of the future of the “Van Heusen” is diametrically opposed to Merina’s point of view, resulting in a clash between two strong personalities.
Merina is a wonderful heroine. Smart, polished and confident, she is also feisty and a tough cookie who refuses to let anyone boss her around.
Reese is driven and used to be in control. He is desperate, though. The board members of Crane Hotels refuse to appoint him CEO if he doesn’t clean up his playboy reputation and become a devoted family man. Reese considers the company as his legacy and has worked hard to prove his abilities. He is convinced Merina is the best person to help him fool the board members. In exchange for accepting to marry him for a period of six months, he will sign the “Van Heusen” over to her, as a divorce settlement.
Reese and Merina intend to make a PR success of their fake engagement, but their first date is rather a public display of boredom! Their collective efforts to improve the image of their couple were laugh-out-loud funny!
As it happens, Merina and Reese were a perfect match. I loved their casual banter, their warm and cozy interactions and Merina’s loyalty. The marriage for show might become a reality. But Reese is complex and broken, he was betrayed in a past relationship and has great difficulty letting his guard down. He is vulnerable and capable of feeling deeply, even if he tries to hide it. As a result, he tends to push Merina away, until he can’t anymore. There was so much sexual tension between them, but also so much tenderness.
Reese and Merina’s journey was as emotional as it was fun and sexy. The Billionaire Bachelor was a fantastic read from start to finish, with genuine and engaging characters. I loved every minute of it! This book is the first installment in Jessica Lemmon’s new series “Billionaire Bad Boys”. I can’t wait for the next book featuring Reese’s brother Tag, and, I hope, some cameo appearances of Reese and Merina. I highly recommend this book and this talented author! 5 brilliant “Doorknob” Stars!
Thanks for visiting and happy reading!
An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.