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The Billionaire Who Bought Christmas
by Barbara Dunlop
(Silh. Desire # 1836, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76836-2
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Take an aspiring fashion designer who convinces an aging playboy to give her a chance with his design team and said playboy’s grandson who is convinced she is nothing but a gold digger and you have the set up for some fireworks. Even though the title has really nothing to do with the story, take a chance and enjoy this romantic tale.

Jack Osland is CEO of the family business and he is sick of the fact that Grandfather Cleveland Osland keeps marrying young women and then has to spend family money to get rid of them. The family gets wind that prospective trophy wife number three is an aspiring fashion designer who has an appointment (courtesy of Cleveland) with the design team for the family’s fashion line, “Sierra Sanchez.” Jack and his cousin Hunter have the family Lear jet and have agreed to bring her to LA from NY with them. Jack particularly is determined to do something to get her to play her hand and prove she is a gold digger before they get to LA. As it happens, the plane has trouble over Las Vegas; they are forced to land and he now has time.

Kristy Mahoney was raised by working class parents and is thrilled to get the chance to show her designs. She met Cleveland Osland by accident and he offered her the chance to sell her designs to the highly rated Sierra Sanchez team for consideration as their entry in the prestigious London show of up and coming designers. Kristy is oblivious to the “facts” that his grandsons have and is rather overwhelmed by the fact she is in a private Lear jet with two rich men. When the plane starts having trouble, she is scared and pleased that one of the men, Jack, seems concerned for her comfort. When he suggests they stay over in Vegas for one night while the plane is repaired, she is charmed into agreeing. Things being what they are in the romance world, Jack and Kristy end up married due to their passion. Now they have to deal with the aftermath.

To prove a point and also get her revenge, Kristy shows up at Jack’s mansion at Cleveland’s behest to prep her work for the show. Cleveland thinks it a hoot that Jack is forced to see his “wife” while knowing that he can’t have her and Kristy gets to pursue her dream. In the end, though, true love prevails.

Despite the misunderstandings and on-again-off-again interludes, Dunlop has written a fun, energetic and delightful romance. Kristy is solid and grounded, yet is romantic enough to realize that her passionate side comes out with Jack. She even uses that in her designs. Jack, meanwhile, fights his romantic side and tries to be the macho, pragmatic businessman he knows he is. But Kristy’s vibrant love of life shows him he has a different side too. They were great together and that alone made the tale believable. Hunter and Sinclair, Kristy’s sister, help push them together and their story is nicely set up. Cleveland is your traditional elderly patriarch who is far wiser than any of his progeny gives him credit for.

The Billionaire Who Bought Christmas is easy to read and is a rewarding way to enjoy an afternoon.

--Shirley Lyons


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