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The marriage is fake. But for a sassy chef and an arrogant billionaire, the sparks are real…
Jackson “The Beast” Boudreaux is rich, gorgeous, and unbelievably rude to the staff at Chef Bianca Hardwick’s New Orleans restaurant. Bianca would sooner douse herself in hot sauce than cook for Jackson again, but when he asks her to cater his fund-raiser, Bianca can’t refuse, knowing the cash will help pay her mother’s medical bills. Then Jackson makes another outrageous request: Marry me. The unconventional offer includes an enormous sum—money Bianca desperately needs, even if it does come with a contract—and a stunning ring.
The heir to a family bourbon dynasty, Jackson knows the rumors swirling around him. The truth is even darker. Still, he needs a wife to secure his inheritance, and free-spirited, sassy Bianca would play the part beautifully. Soon, though, their simple business deal evolves into an emotional intimacy he’s built walls to avoid.
As the passion heats up between them, Bianca and Jackson struggle to define which feelings are real and which are for show. Is falling for your fake fiancé the best happy ending…or a recipe for disaster?
I’m a sucker for stories of marriage of convenience, which is what attracted me to this book (after Nick told me I should read it, of course). I had added it to my TBR and was planning to read it eventually, but when I found out that this was available on audiobook AND narrated by my favorite, Sebastian York, it moved waaaay up on my TBR list. I wasn’t too sure what to expect because I have a bad habit of either not reading book summaries, or forgetting about them by the time I actually read the book. I actually didn’t even catch the Beauty and the Beast similarities until I had finished the book, which only made me like it more.
Although this probably wouldn’t be the case in real life, there’s something about stories with that grumpy asshole that I just can’t help but like. There’s just something about seeing that icy exterior melt away and seeing the real person buried underneath all that surliness. The relationship between Bianca and Jackson does not start off on good terms, and that’s putting it mildly. When Jackson walks into Bianca’s restaurant and is rude to her staff, Bianca wants nothing to do with him. Only one problem, she’s hoping to be able to serve his family’s Bourbon at her restaurant and telling him off probably isn’t the best way to achieve that. Unfortunately, sometimes Jackson deserves to be told off because man, can he be grumpy and rude!
Fortunately for Bianca, Jackson likes her spirit and that she isn’t afraid to call him out on his shit. When he offers her a job opportunity to cater an event, she plans on refusing, but when her mother becomes ill, she accepts since the money from the job would help tremendously with her medical care. This isn’t enough for Jackson as he offers her even more money to marry him for a few years in order to secure his inheritance and as much as this sounds like a bad idea, Bianca agrees.
I was a little bit thrown off that the fake marriage doesn’t even come up until much later in the book, but the timing was great because it gave the book that perfect slow burn build up and let us see their progress from hating each other to friends to more and I loved seeing them both fall for each other. The book was really, really steamy! Like, there were times were it sometimes made me uncomfortable how steamy it was, but maybe that was because a) I was listening to the audiobook so I was actually hearing people say these steamy things and because b) I usually listen to audiobooks while I’m at work. But, it never did cross the line to ‘too much’ or over the top, or cheesy. The audiobook was fan-freaking-tastic! Sebastian York is a long time favorite narrator of mine and his deep voice fit perfectly with Jackson’s surly character and although Diana Luke was a new to me narrator, she did a really good job capturing Bianca’s personality. I see the is the first in the series and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the rest of the books.
Listen to an audiobook sample:
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