The Billionaire’s Bidding by Barbara Dunlop, Sil.Desire #1793, copyright 2007, 192 pages. The Billionaire’s Bidding by Dunlop was recently a #1 bestseller on eHarlequin.com so I was curious. So I bought it. And loved it. Story was excellent and a lot of fun. Here is the back blurb for your perusal:
Scrambling to save her family’s company, Emma McKinley was shocked when billionaire hotel magnate Alex Garrison tossed her a lifeline — baited with an heirloom engagement ring and a pre-nup an inch thick.� It was a textbook marriage of convenience: he calls off her creditors; she gives him half her company.
But the elaborate game of make-believe soon became more intoxicating than either of them expected.� Could a marriage built on a lie withstand the test of true passion?
This was a�fun and quick�read. I enjoyed every page, every word. I’ve never read Barbara�Dunlop before but I will be keeping up if she continues to write for whoever. Marriage of convenience stories are a favorite of mine. The author kind of tweaked the theme somewhat where by the time the couple were�married, feelings had already been established. The hero, Alex comes across at first as a cold hearted businessman but the reader soon sees another side to him. A more gentler side. Emma is smart but has low self-confidence when it comes to her looks. Compared to her sister Katie, Emma is the plain Jane.
Alex manages to see beyond the surface with Emma, see her for what she truly is: a beautiful woman. Soon he admires and respects her. I have a couple of favorite scenes. Well, more than a couple. I bookmarked quite a few. One is where Emma is allowed to see this gentler side to Alex when she visits him at his home and meets his housekeeper, the formidable Mrs. Nash, during wedding preparations. In this scene, Mrs. Nash chides Emma for giving in so quickly to Alex:
“I said no to the proposal at first.”
Mrs. Nash fussed with the ribbons on her shoulder. “But you said yes eventually.”
“And Alex got his own way again.”
Does he get his own way often?”
“He’s a billionaire. He gets his own way pretty much whenever he wants to.”
“But not with you?” Emma guessed.
Mrs. Nash gave her a sharp-eyed look. “Never with me.”
The scene goes on further, funny stuff:
“I bet he appreciates that. Somebody keeping him grounded, I mean.”
“He hates it. So did his father. But his mother wouldn’t let the man fire me.”
Emma attempted to shift the conversation to the positive. “She obviously valued your help.”
Mrs. Nash straighted. “No. She did it to spite him.”
Emma honestly didn’t know what to say to that.
This book was fun, fun, fun. I enjoyed it and was entertained and you can’t ask for more than that. You had a sound plot with a pretty reasonable conflict that crops up later that gets resolved in nice HEA kind of way. Secondary characters help move the plot along and added to�a few scenes that made them stand out. A nice subtle chemistry develops between Alex and Emma that was nice. The relationship was probable in the way the author handles the romantic relationship that started with two strangers to friends to lovers. Emma and Alex had some great witty, banter back and forth that was fun to read. I love good banter. Alas, I won’t quote more. You’ll just have to read the book. There is a conflict that threatens their new found love but the author portrays her characters as adults, who with some prodding from family, can work things out without dragging it out forever.
The only complaint was that there wasn’t enough heat. I had to look at what I was reading again: A Silhouette Desire. This is their passion line? I’d say the sensuality in here was warm. However, if you enjoy intimacy, the author gives you plenty of that which was nice. There’s a nice scene after the wedding where Alex and Emma are on a secluded beach about to open their hearts to each other but – each thinks or Emma thinks that Alex’s feelings are not real. I mean it’s a valid point considering that Alex was more concerned about his image than his feelings for Emma but lucky for her, that changes. If I had to say one thing that annoyed me it would be the constant question of feelings especially since both started out pretending with each other. Internal repetition is not a favorite of mine, but that’s part of the story, no?
In the end, I debated about the grade. An A? Or a B+? I was entertained. If there were flaws I didn’t notice them. No book is perfect, sure. This one came close. My grade, A. Ms. Dunlop you have my attention, ma’am. Keep writing like this, you’ll have a new fan.