Series: Bachelor Auction #3
Published by Entangled: Indulgence on August 29th 2016
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Aiden Kent never expected to see Noelle Rana again. He’s determined to keep his distance from the beautiful enigma wrapped in denim and leather. He can’t trust anyone with the last name Rana. But he made a promise to his dying mother, and it isn't long before Noelle invades his personal space. He can't stop thinking about the exotic beauty's alluring curves.
He wants the daughter of his enemy, and he’s determined to have her…if only for one night.
If Noelle wants to move forward with her life, she must make a deal with the devastatingly gorgeous, broody millionaire Aiden. He made a promise years ago, and she’s come to collect—even if it means facing down the only man who ever broke her heart. And there's a really good chance he'll do it again.
There are too many shades of a Judith McNaught romance that accompanied me throughout this read: the dark, tortured hero screwed over by those he’d trusted and the virgin heroine who’d become the scourge of his existence, the simmering tension, the fraught history and the huge climax that typically involves a screw-up and massive grovelling.
But I do think Naima Simone does pull it off, in what feels like a regency romance superimposed on contemporary Boston as the whole drama between impoverished woman and self-made millionaire plays out.
We caught a glimpse of Aiden in the first Bachelor Auction book (and this starts with one yet again) and his story is almost a mirror-image of Lucas’s one, where a woman from his past comes and asks for money years after he’d cut her out of his life. It’s not quite a rags-to-riches story; neither is it one where a rich guy takes in a street urchin, but one where domestic troubles have led to the estrangement of two people who’d once been close.
Simone has a way of writing into the heart of her characters and I found myself liking Noelle in fact (a lot more than Aiden at least), whose only crime is her last name and the godawful family that she’s associated with. That Aiden continued to paint her into a corner with that paintbrush was fully on him; I liked how Noelle hadn’t manipulated her way into his life again, nor had she done anything that hadn’t already played into his suspicion with a family that had betrayed him in every way.
The share of the blame lies on Aiden’s shoulders, which is a typical ending scenario of his own doing and personally, gratifying to read especially after that sort of self-righteous behaviour he’d displayed through most of the story. My only complaint is the very quick resolution and Noelle’s even quicker forgiveness – especially for someone who’d constantly tagged her as guilty until proven innocent – which seemed to have short-changed that tumultuous relationship which I felt needed more than a simple apology, a declaration of love from Aiden and a session of body painting.