Mistress & a Million Dollars

Valente’s Baby

Taming Her Billionaire Boss
by Maxine Sullivan
(Silh. Desire # 2042, $4.75, PG-13) ISBN 978-0373-73055-1
If you follow category romance series, there are often several stories that involve dynasties of families and they often follow a theme: lots of kids; a manipulative parent or two and some type of codicil to a will if the kids want to inherit. The Jarrods dynasty follows this same pattern. The patriarch died, leaving his four children and one illegitimate child his large resort known as Jarrod’s Ridge in Aspen Colorado. Oldest son Blake, followed by minutes-younger twin Gavin, younger brother Trevor and sister Melissa were surprised to find out about half-sister Erica when the series began. Now that Melissa (who runs the spa) found her cowboy and Trevor and Erica are both about to be joined in wedded bliss to their respective mates, the tale turns to Blake.

Blake is mistrustful of his half-sister, certain she just wants the money. He is loving toward his family but has learned not to let his emotions rule his life. He felt abandoned when his mother died and his father turned to work. His father taught all the children, but none better than Blake that it is better to hold oneself apart, then to let emotion rule and be devastated with a loss. Blake has lived his life with that motto, moving from short-term relationship to short-term relationship - although to call any of his stints a “relationship” is stretching it.

The longest connection he has had is with his assistant, Samantha Thompson. Samantha has been his right hand person for years, first at Blake’s own resort in Las Vegas and now in Aspen, where he has moved his operations for a year, so he can inherit. The entire clan must live and work here to make that happen. He and Gavin have decided to expand using Gavin’s engineering skills on a whole new area of the resort. He needs Samantha to be ready to help. But Samantha, who has a major crush on Blake, has had enough. She has been more blatant in her attempts at flirting and Blake seems oblivious. Samantha turns in her resignation, which Blake immediately rejects and forces her to stay for the month left on her contract. Thus begins the cat and mouse games.

Samantha is looking for long-term and wants it with Blake. She knows they are a good pair in the boardroom and has convinced herself that they can be in the bedroom too. On one hand, she knows Blake’s philosophy and has seen him go from beautiful woman to beautiful woman. On the other, she is sure she can make him fall in love with her…it is scary to her but she knows that he is her one and only.

I struggled with this tale on several levels, the most important being a lack of connection to either main character. Blake was hard and cynical. He struggled with his feelings but never long enough to even acknowledge that he was struggling. His near-hate of his half sister never made full sense and his complete turnaround with Samantha was sudden and contrary to what appeared to be his nature. The way the story is written, they touch one night and the sparks just fly. I have a hard time believing they have been working together so many years and it would just happen this way.

Samantha went from a strong and talented professional woman to a woman who didn’t know her own mind and was willing to subjugate her needs just to have a short time in the sack with Blake. No, please. I would rather see her quit due to stubbornness than surrender because she just couldn’t help it. And there was really no subplot to keep the spotlight off this inner/outer tug of war of emotions.

Having read at least one other story in the series, I can’t even offer that fans may like this better. Taming Her Billionaire Boss just missed all the way around.

--Shirley Lyons

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