BEAUTY AND THE BILLIONAIRE: THE WEDDING Jessica Clare
A Billionaire Boys Club Novella

Penguin Group's Intermix
ISBN-13:  978-1-101-98923-4
November 2016
Contemporary Romance

New York City, New York Present Day

Gretchen is just days away from her wedding to her fiancé Hunter.  She is at his real estate office bringing in what Gretchen calls a mountain of doughnuts.  Gretchen is a chef, and she is determined to make all the food for the wedding reception of 200 people.  Oh, she'd fired the caterer, because who could trust someone who didn't know how to make a religieuse a l'ancienne?  The past year has made her a nervous wreck, with everything going wrong that can.  While waiting to see Hunter after a meeting, another woman barges in his office as soon as he opens the door, and then quickly closes it behind her.  It's her fiancé, so Gretchen listens at the door and hears something about pictures and paying money.  Is Hunter being blackmailed?  No matter what it is, she loves Hunter and will stick by him forever.

Since Hunter sometimes works from his large house, well, maybe it is a mansion, he wanted to do something great for Gretchen, so he is installing a kitchen next to the office he uses that is identical to Chef Ina Garten's (Barefoot Contessa).  Plus, he bought Gretchen an island with a house, and also had that kitchen made into Ina Garten's.  He didn't know the designer would show up at his office with pictures of the work being done.  He told Gretchen there had been a water leak at the house, and that's why there was building going on, and it was supposed to be done the day before the wedding.

Daphne, Gretchen's sister, is a singer, and four months ago she got out of rehab and was assigned Wesley, a nutritionist, bodyguard, trainer and constant companion.  The exercises he puts her through exhaust her, and don't even mention the food.  No soda or liquor, just green tea.  Also an alcoholic, Daphne has pretty much alienated her sister Gretchen, not to mention her twin sister Audrey, who she hears has a baby and is pregnant again.  Wesley suggests she go and talk to Gretchen, and try to open up family ties again.

This is a cute and sweet story of Gretchen, driving herself crazy for her wedding, and Daphne, trying to overcome her dependencies.  Told from their points of view, Gretchen loves Hunter fiercely, and now realizes she should have just married him a year ago and not gone through all this turmoil.  Daphne knows she is stronger and sober, but is it Wesley, or is she brave enough to avoid temptation herself? And why does Wesley seem to be able to read her mind and give her a feeling she hasn't felt in a long time, of acceptance?

Secondary characters are all of Gretchen's friends, Wesley, and Audrey, Daphne's twin sister, who is trying to get over the years of untrue promises and turmoil her sister has brought into her life.  Dare she try and connect again?

BEAUTY AND THE BILLIONAIRE:  THE WEDDING is a short novella but still packed with heat.  Daphne and Wesley have to decide if theirs is a relationship or just a job for him, and Gretchen must try to find out from Hunter what the blackmail is about.  Hint...Ina Garten's kitchen is FABULOUS!

Carolyn Crisher