BEAUTY AND THE BILLIONAIRE – Jessica Clare
Billionaire Boys Club , Book 2
New York City – Present Day
Gretchen Petty ekes out a living by ghost writing for others; currently she is slogging through Astronaut Bill and the Space Vixens of Dark Planet. It might sound stupid but it is a popular book with a large following. Gretchen could care less; she's always late turning in her work, and her agent Kat is constantly asking her how the book is coming, even though Gretchen considers it the ‘greatest torture known to mankind' to work on it each day. Just when she's thinking up a new excuse why her last two weeks haven't shown any progress, Kat tells her about an outlandish offer. Gretchen can receive three hundred thousand dollars to write for a new publisher with weird working terms. She is to sort through old, romantic letters found in an attic at a famous mansion, but she also has to work on site at Buchanan Manor in Hyde Park, and not take the letters away. At this time beggars can't be choosers, and she agrees to the project; unfortunately Kat is still waiting on Astronaut Bill's story, too. Drats!
Hunter Buchanan overhears two women as they pick up some books he's donating when one of them says she is more interested in what is inside a man than this physical appearance. He learns her name is Gretchen, and the other is Bronte, his friend Logan's girlfriend. This is especially poignant as the left half of Hunter's face has jagged scars, along with his chest and arm, and he's also missing a finger. A kidnapping at ten years old led him to jump off a boat and get cut up by the propeller, leaving him hiding from the world most of the time. His father forced him to go to college, and there he met a group of friends who started a Billionaire Boys Club to help each other gain wealth, and they are his only friends. His friend Logan Hawkins knows the women, so Hunter asks questions about the redhead and finds out all he can. When he finds out about her writing, he comes up with an idea to get to spend time with her and find out if her actions will match her words about caring for more about the inside of a man than his looks. Starting up a publishing company and buying some old letters could be one way to get to know her away from the eyes of the world.
Hunter has never touched a woman romantically, and along with his prickly personality, Gretchen has a tough row to hoe to find out what is really inside him. She can tell he wants her, but he seems unable to do anything about it. Hunter is skittish about everything, but his secret love is his greenhouse and the roses he lovingly takes care of. Will Gretchen be able to break Hunter's shell and get close to this mysterious man?
Jessica Clare is venturing deeper than a light romantic tale with BEAUTY AND THE BILLIONAIRE. Gretchen is brash and outgoing, and why she is writing things she can't stand is making her more depressed all the time; oh, maybe it's for the money to pay rent every month? Her sister Audrey seems put together and cool and assured, unlike Gretchen who will admit to staying all day in her pajamas if she can. But Hunter is something totally different, dark and disturbed, constantly aware of his scars, it's a wonder his depression hasn't taken over his life. While he makes his money in his home office and has a group of friends from college, they are the only people he feels can stand to look at him or even joke with him. Hunter needs Gretchen more than he knows; it's a question whether he will realize how great she is for him before he totally destroys everything between them.
Secondary characters include Eldon, Hunter's butler; it's hard to decide if he is working for or against Hunter. Gretchen's sister Audrey works for Logan Hawkins, one of Hunter's friends, and he is engaged to Bronte, Gretchen's friend. Another sister, Daphne, almost destroys Gretchen and Hunter's tentative relationship. Kat is the evil literary agent, always asking if the project is done.
BEAUTY AND THE BILLIONAIRE brings to mind all the people who hide themselves from the world because of some physical abnormality. The loneliness and yearning for just one person to really see inside them and get to know them and be their friend is what everyone longs for. Fortunately, Hunter found Gretchen, a woman who takes no guff and leaves him feeling steamrollered once in a while. Their romance is full of trouble and misunderstanding, but Hunter knows a good thing when he sees it, and despite setbacks, finally realizes that Gretchen could be the one woman who can bring him out of his shell. The first book in The Billionaire Boys Club is STRANDED WITH A BILLIONAIRE (April 2013) and featured Logan Hawkins. Next is THE WRONG BILLIONAIRE'S BED (October 2013) and features Gretchen's sister Audrey and Hunter's friend Reese Durham. ONCE UPON A BILLIONAIRE (April 2014) features Griffin Verdi, another member of the Billionaire's club. These stories all came out originally in digital form and are now coming out in paperback. Enjoy an unusual romance and try BEAUTY AND THE BILLIONAIRE this month.