Monday, July 13, 2015

Bound to the Bachelor (Sarah Mayberry)

Bound to the Bachelor
(The Bachelor Auction series, Book 1)
Sarah Mayberry
Tule Publishing
Fiction, Romance
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: Since Lily arrived in Marietta, Montana, she's fought rumors about her checkered past as a stripper and a mutual dislike with ex-Marine Beau. Despite him being the brother of her best friend and former across-the-hall neighbor Andie, she'd just as soon never be in the same room with the cocky security expert. But she needs one more man for her bachelor auction, a fundraiser for her recently-crippled godson, and a man with Beau's good looks ought to rake in some serious dough even in conservative Marietta.
Beau wanted to say no when Lily turned up at his office. Sure, the woman helped Andie through a rough period and helped her find the love of her life, but something about Lily just makes him uncomfortable. Lily's nothing if not persistent, and she has a way of hitting his buttons. Though he's sworn off the idea of a serious relationship, focusing on his growing private security business, one silly little date won't hurt him. It's for a good cause, after all. And it's not like Lily herself would bid on him.
When Lily receives an inheritance from her late abusive stepfather the day of the auction, she wants nothing to do with his money. On an impulse, she throws it away on a bachelor... on Beau. It wasn't supposed to be a for-real date; she just wanted to give the money to her godson and his mother, and she knew they wouldn't take the ten grand if she handed it to them directly. But Beau insists on following through on his end of the bargain. It isn't long before they realize that their mutual dislike isn't hate at all, but something much more dangerous...

REVIEW: I needed a palate-cleanser after the last book I read, so a nice straightforward romance fit the bill. This one ticks off the standard genre checklist: an ex-stripper with a heart of gold and traumatic past, a hunky lone wolf bachelor who never lost his heart before, sizzling sexual tension from the first page, and a crisis to bind them together. Lily makes a spunky heroine who finds a good match in Beau, whose protective instincts come in handy more than once... though he ultimately does more to empower her than physically protect her. As with most romances I've read, there's some sexist luggage lurking in the story: Lily's basically a secretary, after all, and Beau's past and job are about as alpha male as one can get without actually being a wolf. Despite that, the story moves nicely and the writing's smooth, with a decent heat level and some lively, zinger-filled dialog. If the overall story arc's a bit predictable, well, it is a romance, after all. In a lousier mood, I might have clipped a half star for the sexism and a little predictability, but I wanted a straightforward book that delivered on its promises, and Bound to the Bachelor does that.

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