Billionaire’s Love is a 2016 romance novel by Brenda Pearson, from Friesen Press. First, I have to say that I love this cover. A beach at sunset, the pose, minimal detail, and lots of clear space for title and author. And this scene is implicit in events in the book. Great work from Katie Harding Photography.
This is a second chance story. Max and Megan bumped into each other (literally), and it was lust at first sight. It did not last. He dumped her, with a note stating he does not do relationships. Now they are working together, as their respective companies have a joint project. He has realized dumping her was a mistake, and wants to win her back. She’s torn between her ongoing attraction to him (and fond memories) and the memory of his betrayal.
The plot is reasonable, but I had trouble accepting the endurance of the original relationship. It was only two weeks, while both were on vacation, and three years ago. He was her first lover, which heightens the betrayal, but, for both of them, their recollection of the relationship implies something that was longer, more committed, and/or more recent.
The couple are more or less equals, which I like. She’s not a billionaire property developer like him, but moves in the same social and business circles, and she’s not struggling. After being dumped by Max, she finished her degree, got a good job at her parent’s construction company, and bought a condo with a fabulous view, which she shares with a friend – for the company. When stressed, she likes to hang out at a spa. So there’s a touch of lifestyles of the rich, if not famous, going on here.
The good news is that their relationship has no elements of financial necessity. The bad news is that when both characters are wealthy, the stakes are often lower. It’s true that Megan has to work with Max for the benefit of her family’s company, but her choice is not forced by the possible failure of the company or homelessness. Her choice is forced by her pushy brother/boss.
I appreciated the urban and Canadian setting (Montreal), though I would have liked to have seen more of it. I also appreciated that Megan has a male friend, who is close, but just a friend. Max is too aggressive at times, but this book was published a year before #metoo, and relationship creepiness is a common issue in second chance stories. We know that Megan is still attracted to him, but when Max has an opportunity to take advantage of her, he is almost a perfect gentleman (and his actions allow for a couple of touching moments and some erotic tension).
There are some rough spots in the writing. For example, a couple of descriptions seem out-of-place. However, the pacing is strong. As I was reading a paperback version, and not an ebook, it looked like the end might come too quickly and be incomplete, but instead there’s a cliffhanger ending, and the note that this is book 1 of 3. Sneaking a look at the blurb for book 2, Billionaire’s Forgiveness, (recently released) it looks like the relationship plot is complicated by a suspense/action plot, which would also raise the stakes. The blurb also notes that book 2 is the conclusion of the story. From reading Pearson’s blog, it looks like book 2 got lots of editing and review.
This was Pearson’s first book, and it’s a good start. I just purchased book 2, and I’m looking forward to find out more about Max and Megan, as well as seeing what Pearson has added and improved for this story.