When small-town girl Emma LaRue won a vacation to an exclusive tropical island, a last minute cancellation meant she would be going by herself. Shy and studious, she never had time to fall in love, and often wondered if she was just meant to be alone. However, that all changed when a handsome stranger literally walked into her life while on the beach and sparks began to fly.
New York's most eligible billionaire bachelor Jack Saunders thought this vacation would be the perfect escape, one last hurrah, before taking full control of his father's company. When an innocent Emma didn't recognize him, he figured that he might get a chance to have a vacation from being rich. He didn't tell her about the cars, the yacht, or the penthouse. All he did was let her fall in love with him.
Soon, Jack found that he was the one falling in love with Emma. When they enjoy a fantasy marriage ceremony on the beach, they thought it was a bit of harmless fun before returning to their normal lives. A bittersweet goodbye was supposed to be the end of their perfect vacation romance, but when photos of the ceremony were leaked to the press, everything changed.
Feeling lied to and thrust into a world of wealth and privilege, Emma must choose between following her dreams or following her heart. Will she be content at being nothing more than the billionaire's wife, or will she return to her normal life with only memories of saltwater kisses?
Billionaire love stories are "in" right now and so it is sort of a smorgasbord out there as to which one will catch your attention. Of course, I always look for the free ones so of course I found this one on Amazon. I have to say that I was somewhat astonished at all the low ratings by a number of reviewers--I have to really hate a novel in order to give it a "1" rating. So after reading some of those reviews I have to admit that I read this book with something of a jaundiced eye.
Well, let me tell you, I found the novel to be absolutely charming. It was indeed a story about a woman who had won a vacation on a tropical island and who ended up going alone when her sister got sick at the last minute. It was indeed the setting for a fling with a really hot hunk who happened to be walking on the beach when she gave CPR to a near drowning victim and it was indeed the setting in which Emma and Jack found that their attraction turned into a hot and heavy vacation fling. The difference? They decided to have some fun and go through a mock wedding ceremony, never dreaming that the whole thing had been photographed by Jack's spurned lover who then promptly sold the photos to a gossip rag magazine.
I found Jack and Emma's story to be compelling because there were some surprises and some twists and turns to the story that I found unexpected. One of those was the fact that they got caught up in real life with the media promoting their "marriage" as if it were the real thing. That they still burned for one another was never in question. But now there was a whole new set of challenges that they never intended to face. They fully expected to never encounter one another after leaving their vacation haven. In fact, Emma was totally astonished to find out that her "no name" lover was indeed a billionaire who had just taken over as CEO of an international oil and gas consortium. High society intrudes which isn't unexpected, but then it was interesting when Jack's parents intruded. It was as if Emma was a visitor from another planet. Yet their story kept on and it was to the author's credit that it all came out in the wast, although I found the ending to be far different than I thought it would be.
This isn't the greatest romance novel I have ever read, but I found it to be well written, the story flowed well, I thought the characters were interesting and while I thought Jack's personality a bit grating as he seemed almost to be two different people, yet that just added another dimension to the story and certainly a bit of mystery as to how Emma was going to navigate within this slice of human experience that was so foreign to her. After all, what's a nice girl from Iowa doing in the CEO's office and especially when she felt as if she were masquerading as a billionaire's wife?
So I happily give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5 as it was completely enjoyable and one that I found fully worthy of the time it took to read. The book was released in mid-2013 and I am looking forward to the next book in this series.