Series: Billionaire Bad Boys, #3
Published by Forever on February 28th 1970
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Beauty and the Beastly Billionaire . . . Eli Crane is one tough bastard. After an explosion left him injured and honorably discharged from the Marines, all he wants is to be left alone. Yet his brothers insist he take a greater role in the family business. They've hired him ten personal assistants-and Eli sent each one packing as fast as possible. But when beautiful number eleven walks through the door, Eli will do anything to make her stay. Isabella Sawyer's employment agency can't afford to lose Eli Crane's business. Her plan: to personally take on the role of his PA, and secure her reputation with the wealthy elite in Chicago. But this beauty and her hot billionaire bad boy soon find themselves mixing business with pleasure in the most delicious ways. And passionate, stubborn Isabella won't rest until she tames this wicked beast . . .
Eli Crane has run off way too many personal assistants, wearing his grouchy self as armour and badge as he refuses to get back into the family business despite his family’s interference. Finally meeting his match In Isabella Sawyer, a take-no-nonsense type of woman who whips him into shape, it isn’t long before he starts thinking about life beyond his disability and rediscovering the man he used to be.
The plot itself isn’t entirely unexpected, with the prerequisite build-up, some pushing and pulling before the dramatic (but perhaps unnecessary) conflict before the resolution. But I think what really stayed with me was how well Jessica Lemmon writes, without purple prose and without falling into the end where the story becomes too simplistic, particularly so when it comes to the subject of PTSD, survivor guilt and the aftermath of vets who return from war. There isn’t the obscene showing of wealth as I’ve come to expect from the cliched billionaire-type books and it felt as though Eli/Isabella could have worked out as typical, middle-class individuals who didn’t have inflated bank accounts.
Both Eli and Isabella are generally likeable though not without their faults, yet I think I appreciated how Lemmon didn’t shy away from the difficulty that Eli faced and how upfront Isabella was – mostly, up until the ending episode when she did something stupid – with him. Overall, it’s a decent read, but I find myself really getting into the author’s personal writing style more than anything else.