Author: Jessica Clare

Dirty Bastard by Jessica Clare

Dirty Bastard by Jessica ClareDirty Bastard by Jessica Clare
Series: Roughneck Billionaires, #3
Published by Intermix on May 15th 2018
Pages: 203
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Knox Price has always fallen short in comparison to his brothers. Boone is the ambitious one. Clay is the nice one. Gage is the handsome one. And Knox? Well, he's the cynical one. The odd man out in the ultra-wealthy but rather unique Price family. It's not that Knox hates people--it's that humanity always disappoints him. When you become an oil-rich, Texan billionaire overnight, people treat you a certain way. Just once he'd like to meet someone that isn't dazzled by his wallet.

Then, he meets struggling yoga teacher Lexi Brandon. She's weird. She's unpredictable and tends to say strange things. She lurks in the bushes and dresses in all black. She loves when people cross the street to get away from her. Lexi's definitely not his type, but she's also the first one to ever truly see him and not just another rich, dirty Price.

And that's...fascinating. But how do you catch the interest of a woman who goes out of her way to be odd? When an unexpected surprise throws them both for a loop, Knox decides it's time to get down and dirty, abandon the rules, and be who he truly is--a bastard.

I’m a little unsure about my own feelings when it comes to Jessica Clare’s roughneck billionaires. Yes, these Price brothers from different mothers are similar in their crude, blunt ways and as they’re the opposite of smooth and sleek and schmoozy, they’re refreshingly different from the suit-clad businessmen with their ability to get everything they want. But these brothers are also sometimes unavoidably simplistic and they do in some ways, remind me of Alexa Riley’s heroes who fall hard and instantly with the burning need to claim women they see at first glance as theirs.

Knox equating a one-night stand with the notion of forever does seem somewhat excessive, but the instalove that Knox feels isn’t really out of character for these Price brothers however. ‘Dirty Bastard’ does however, take a direction I didn’t expect or like nonetheless. I should have been expecting this considering the sheer stupidity of Lexi going into an affair with Knox for the express and calculated purpose of avoiding her stalker. From the start, Lexi runs away and keeps running away when this night (again due to her own recklessness) results in unintended though not unexpected consequences, then using her own issues as ammunition to petulantly refuse everything Knox offers made her thoroughly unlikeable. Acting like a spoilt teen makes their 5-year-age-gap (older woman, younger man) of no consequence as a result, as Lexi seems to regress into someone who sits on a raised chair while waiting for Knox to climb the uphill battle on his own to get into her ‘good’ graces.

From here onwards, I struggled hard to continue the book, not just because of the storytelling and characterisation that at times, made both Knox/Lexi seem like high-school figures rather than the adults they are, but also because of the way Lexi sat high and mighty while poor Knox had to bend backwards for her. As Lexi used Knox’s age as an excuse to get out of commitment by saying *he* was the one who wanted to play the field when all he did was want the opposite made me throw in the towel in the end. Not being able to get behind this pairing was almost a guarantee when there was an annoying protagonist whom I felt just didn’t deserve the title of ‘heroine’ at all, nor of Knox.


Dirty Scoundrel by Jessica Clare

Dirty Scoundrel by Jessica ClareDirty Scoundrel by Jessica Clare
Series: Roughneck Billionaires #2
on November 21st 2017
Pages: 200
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Clay Price has everything he’s ever wanted, except the one thing money can’t buy—Natalie Weston. Years ago, Clay and Natalie were in love…until she turned down his marriage proposal. Now Clay and his brothers are oil-rich billionaires, and they can have whatever they want. And what Clay wants is Natalie in his bed, no matter what it takes. If it means being ruthless, he’ll do it.  

Natalie gave up on true love years ago when the realities of the world destroyed her fairy-tale hopes. Giving up Clay is her biggest regret in life, and she’s excited to see him return…until she finds out why. Clay’s got one hell of a proposal for her: he’ll save her father’s business and bail Natalie out of debt if she’ll agree to become his very personal assistant. It’s clear that he wants more from her than just typing. 

It’s also clear that Natalie has no choice. This scoundrel’s bet could destroy any hope they had of reconciliation—or it could bring them together once and for all…

Millionaire/Billionaire books aren’t exactly the sort of reads I go after, simply because their implausibility severely impedes my ability to suspend disbelief for this sub-genre in romance. But Jessica Clare’s Roughneck Billionaires who start out dirt poor and had their fortunes skyrocketing because of oil are a bunch of men who defy my expectations of fictional corporate raiders. They’re crude, somewhat unkempt, sometimes brutally uncouth, filterless and madly alpha, which can be a refreshing contrast to the slick, suited men who manage more than swimmingly in both boardroom and bedroom.

‘Dirty Soundrel’ is Clay Price’s book and is pretty much a second-chance romance that picks up 7 years after an acrimonious breakup thanks to a meddling father who thinks the world of himself and less of his daughter and her boyfriend. An idiotic act of revenge however, doesn’t go according to plan and in rather predictable fashion, merely covers emotions that have never quite gone away, though it takes a while for both protagonists to face up to that fact.

Clay and Natalie did have a history together, which made them more believable as a couple. That they’d only had eyes for each other, even all these years later, did convince me that they did want and love each other, though that had gotten lost for a while. I did however, feel for Clay more than I did Nat (whom I thought needed to grow a bit more of a spine) who seemed to embody straight-shooting talk and practical sense in way that I couldn’t help but like him for it. Despite the blunt crudeness and his inability to deal with the opposite sex, Clay’s bumbling honesty and perception actually won me over—again, in contrast to Nat’s loyal blind spot to her father which seemed to suggest that advanced age and failing health are not only perfect reasons to excuse abominable behaviour but that it could be rewarded in the end.

‘Dirty Scoundrel’ is nonetheless, a low-angst read that focused more on the pairing than anything else, sometimes to the exclusion of what I felt were major events that could have been teased out more thoroughly when they happened later in the book. These twists were glossed over a little too easily, as was Nat’s interfering, manipulative (and sick) father’s own ‘happy ending’, so not having proper closure or comeuppance was exactly what my little black heart demanding but didn’t get. Wrapped up with a rushed HEA and an even more abrupt conclusion, ‘Dirty Scoundrel’ unfortunately fell a tad bit short of a great read.


Dirty Money by Jessica Clare

Dirty Money by Jessica ClareDirty Money by Jessica Clare
Series: Roughneck Billionaires, #1
Published by Intermix on January 17th 2017
Pages: 146
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Boone Price and his brothers know oil; at least, the dirty, backbreaking side of working an oil rig. But when their scrubby, worthless hunting land turns out to be sitting on top of one of the biggest oil wells in North America, they go from the rig to the boardroom and end up billionaires practically overnight.
Now with enough money to do whatever he wants, Boone is developing a taste for fine things. And the finest thing he's ever seen is Ivy Smithfield, local realtor. Boone's determined to buy her affection and show the world that he's more than just a dirty fool with a bit of money. Ivy's classy and beautiful - she'll make the perfect trophy wife. The fact that she's sexy and funny is just a bonus.
There's one tiny problem - Ivy's as dirt poor as Boone is. Her carefully crafted veneer of luxury? All an act to promote her business. What's Boone going to do when he finds out the woman he's falling for is, well, in his league?

A newly-minted billionaire with a chip on his shoulder because he feels that he hasn’t been treated right sets off to find a classy woman to marry. He decides based almost on a whim, after seeing a woman on a real estate brochure that she is the one for him and somehow manages to fall in instant-love with her, even if she’s carrying off a certain kind of deception of her own.

I couldn’t quite decide if I was more disturbed by the idea (that sounded pretty much like a mail-order bride) or stunned by the audacity of Boone Price’s all-out, single-minded attitude that went straight for what he perceived Ivy to be. But roughneck or not, he grew on me for the realness and his refusal to be who he always was, which isn’t what I could say of Ivy, whose vehement denial of her socioeconomic status in life formed the bulk of the conflict. In fact, the more she pushed him away, the more annoying she became with her own refusal to say a word for fear of losing face.

Both characters played at what they weren’t for a while – this continued on Ivy’s side for most of the book – and I can’t honestly say that this pairing appealed mainly because of Ivy’s stupidity. Yet aside from several plain ridiculous moments, such as Boone torching every place that has snubbed him or Ivy, the concept of having these roughneck billionaires nevertheless a refreshing one (eat your tie, Christian Grey) and I’m cautiously optimistic to see where this series goes.