Published by Tantor Audio on October 22nd 2014
Narrator: Elizabeth Hart
Length: 6 hrs
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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The story begins with Ryan McKay, owner and CEO of a multi-million dollar casino, needing to get married by the end of the day because his grandfather was determined on his deathbed that Ryan needed to know about love. The grandfather, as well as the parents, ignored Ryan growing up and never showed him any kind of love. So obviously the best way to force someone to love is to make Ryan marry before the end of one year after his death, and produce a child with this new wife the old-fashioned way. If after one year, they can’t produce a child, they can get assistance from modern medicine. A year after that, if no child is produced, Ryan has to get divorced (hopefully he doesn’t love his wife) and select a new wife in order to try and make a baby with the new wife. Ryan and his bride must live together as man and wife (which helps with the baby part) for at least the one year period. This will be monitored by sleazy cousin who will inherit the casino if Ryan fails to meet the terms of the Will, and by the lawyer for the grandfather. Why this means they both needed to move in with Ryan and new wife, I don’t know. I am guessing that a baby would have been the first clue that they lived together as man and wife, and a DNA test would prove it was Ryan was the baby maker.
This story would have made a great Regency/Historical novel but as a contemporary romance, I just couldn’t swallow it.
And it gets worse! Ryan draws up a contract of his own not only outlining that his wife must fulfill the terms of his grandfather’s Will to the letter, but after they produce the necessary child and after the mandated one year period, Ryan and his bride will divorce. He will give her $5M and money to raise the child until he/she is 18 but he wants nothing to do with it ever again.
This whole scenario just screams love story!
Here’s were it starts to push me away. Ryan’s proposed bride who is supermodel gorgeous decides at the 11th hour that she doesn’t want to spoil her figure with a baby and walks away. Faith, the heroine of our story and Ryan’s trusty assistant, is left trying to keep her from leaving but doesn’t succeed. Since Ryan waited until hours before the one year deadline to have the wedding, his only viable option is standing in front of him in the form of his faithful assistant. But it was not the marry the assistant storyline that bugged me, it was the obvious caterpillar to butterfly transformation that Burton was going for that made her unbelievable.
Ryan is the CEO of a major casino. He is a no-nonsense businessman and a major player (both in the boardroom and the bedroom). Yet he hired Faith straight out of college because she graduated 2nd in her class from the University of Las Vegas. (No offense but REALLY? Las Vegas? She didn’t graduate second from Duke!) He also picked her because she also showed no signs of being more interested in his super-hotness, than doing her job. She has no job experience, let alone the type of knowledge needed to help him organize and run a multi-million dollar casino. More importantly, Faith is fearful and mousy. Her mother did a number on her self-esteem so Faith dresses in oversized, shapeless outfits. She keep her hair up in a tight bun and has big, boxy glasses. Again, what better way to make her a butterfly when she starts out as a really plain caterpillar who underneath it all is a great beauty. Oh, and did I mention she’s a virgin. Being afraid to fall in love with her boss, who she secretly has a crush on already, and knowing that he’ll be done with her as soon as possible, she throws in a caveat that they wait two months before they have sex. Ryan doesn’t have a choice at this point and of course, he agrees to that, and is kicking himself right after the I Do’s are said since he starts to realize that she is kind of pretty underneath the dumpy clothes and big glasses.
Now, I might have accepted Faith easier if she was, let’s just say, his head accountant. Make her all about numbers, but not great with social interaction. Then you can accept her geeky, shy demeanor. As the assistant of a casino CEO in Las Vegas, I would imagine that image is important. Ryan’s assistant should have dressed well and should have been, not glamorous, but a reflection of him and his casino. She should have also been strong enough to stop someone from barging into his office. Faith was everything you wouldn’t look for in the assistant to a big CEO.
Ryan tries to get Faith to give up her two month waiting period. He wasn’t forceful but tried it by simply getting real close, suggestive whispers and little touches. Faith responded to him, but then her fears would come back into play and she would remind him to wait. Ryan then went from sweet, seducer to petulant child who couldn’t play with the toy he wanted.
As far as the audiobook version, the narrator Elizabeth Hart has a very young, sweet sounding voice and it just added to the overall picture of Faith’s lack of self-esteem and shyness. Normally, that would be great. It truly brought Faith to life. But her character already didn’t fit into this story and the narrator just enhanced this flaw.
When I found myself turning off the story and listening the music for the remainder of my commute for the last three days, I knew I was done with this story.
I have looked at several Jaci Burton books to add to my list and this was the first one I tried. She gets great reviews so I don’t believe I will cross her off my list just yet, but I will be more selective of the plot next time.
Received a review audiobook from Tantor in exchange for an honest review.