Texas Cattleman’s Club: Rags to Riches, #4
Heat Factor: Deliciously steamy and well written
Character Chemistry: He’s the only one who supports her
Plot: Soapy nonsense
Overall: I would say your enjoyment of this book is pretty dependent on your tolerance for messy protagonists.
Since Trust Fund Fiancé is part of the Harlequin Desire line (which has the most delicious covers!), I knew that meant lifestyles of the rich and famous (check!) and steam (double check!) and soaptastic, tropey goodness (triple check! With some caveats.).
Point the first: Lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Maybe I am not in the right mental place for this type of romance right now, because here’s this line: “No one wanted to do business with a company so corrupt it would place profit above their employees’ welfare.” And I laughed and laughed and laughed. And cried a little, but only on the inside.
Reagan and Ezekiel have Rich People Problems, but they also have some deep-seated emotional stuff. The short version: they are extremely messy, angsty, characters who desperately need to be in therapy, like, yesterday. The long version: Reagan has some serious boundary and control issues with her parents, doubts her self-worth, and seriously needs to get a grip on reality if she thinks that she can’t live her life unless she has access to her squillion dollar inheritance. Ezekiel is still carrying a torch for his dead fiancée and has a major savior complex which manifests itself in some pretty toxic nonsense about “providing” for Reagan.
On the other hand, both Reagan and Ezekiel do eventually grow into themselves. Reagan, in particular, has an excellent moment when she finally grows a spine. And for most of the book, Ezekiel is a pretty yummy alpha hero who genuinely supports Reagan and clearly thinks she’s awesome and strong.
Point the second: Steam.
The sex writing here is top notch. Reagan and Ezekiel do a lot of fantasizing during the pining portion of the book, and those fantasies really work to ratchet up the tension so that when we get to the full show, I was ready. Plus, they have sex on the hood of his Jaguar.
Point the third: soaptastic, tropey goodness.
I must be honest, things fell apart for me a bit here. We definitely had a lot of delicious drama, but sometimes the narrative bordered on nonsensical. The basic premise: Reagan’s dad is holding her inheritance hostage. She can’t access her squillions until she gets married to a suitable man or turns thirty (and her life will basically be over then, because she’ll be a shriveled up spinster, so obviously she can’t wait). Ezekiel, who she has known since forever, offers her a marriage of convenience so she can access her money but not have to marry a stranger. However, after some shenanigans at Ezekiel’s firm, her dad deems Ezekiel “not suitable” and declines to release the money. Solution? Let’s elope to Vegas!
So they’re in a marriage of convenience that is no longer for convenience, but are still both convinced that they’re just going to be married for a year and then get divorced. And Reagan is telling people they just got married for the money – even though the marriage won’t get her the money. Also, if you only got married for the money, but people have to believe it’s actually a real marriage to get the money, why are you telling people you only got married for the money? Get it together, Reagan! But I digress.
I did a lot of yelling “BUT WHY?” as I read. I get it. They’re lying to themselves and are actually perfect for each other. But given the external forces they are facing, their actions make absolutely no sense, and I didn’t quite buy the connection enough to think that marriage (as opposed to a hot and heavy affair) was the answer.
I love tropey / soapy books, but I want them to follow their own internal logic.
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