Release Date: August 11, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Billionaire Lucas Oliver is hell bent on revenge. And his plan begins when Sydney Blake—the stunning daughter of his enemy—is tricked into bidding on Lucas at a bachelor auction. Then he serves up a little blackmail…followed by a marriage proposal Sydney has no choice but to accept.
Sydney has been controlled by her family her whole life. When Lucas threatens to reveal her father’s shady business, she is once again forced to do her duty for her family. But worse—oh so much worse—is the rush of lust that Lucas ignites in her blood.
Lucas is determined to make Sydney suffer, but it’s tough when he can’t keep from touching her–or thinking about touching her–all the time. She’s not fairing much better since she’s engaged to a darkly handsome beast intent on destroying her entire family…along with her heart.
“Regrets already, Sydney?” Lucas asked, the question a low ripple in the silent room.
“No.” Once more Sydney studied him. The piercing green-blue eyes that had blazed with scorching heat less than an hour ago but were now shuddered, impassive. The almost lush, sensual curve of his mouth that contrasted with the sharply hewn planes of his face. The hard, strong line of his jaw. The harsh imperfection of the scar that was perfect on him.
Confusion commingled, mated with the blush of arousal. Questions and concerns—she had dozens of those. But regret? No.
“Does it bother you?” He plucked up a slice of chicken and popped it into his mouth. God, it wasn’t fair that he made eating with his fingers sexy, too.
She blinked, refocusing on their conversation. But couldn’t follow. He’d lost her.
She frowned. “That we had sex?”
“No. The scar. You were staring at it. Does it bother you?” No emotion or inflection in the question, just a flat monotone that he could’ve used to ask the time of day.
Like the first time he’d asked that question three weeks ago—God, had it only been three weeks since he’d exploded into her life?—the quick “Not at all” rose to her tongue, hovered there. But at the last instant, she didn’t utter the three words. Because they would be a lie.
“Yes,” she murmured. Something flared in his gaze—something old and dark before it became as opaque as before.
“But not for the reasons you probably think.” She turned more fully toward him, tucking her foot under her thigh.
“When I first met you, of course I noticed the scar. But I wasn’t repulsed. I ached for you. For the pain you must’ve endured. It bothered me that you suffered.” A scowl started to crease his brow, and she shot up her hand, palm out.
“I don’t pity you. No one who looks at you could ever feel sorry for you. You’re too…dangerous for that.” She huffed out a short bark of laughter. “I remember thinking you resembled a panther. Dark. Stunning. But predatory. The mark isn’t a sign of your weakness but your strength. Your power to fight and survive. I find it…” She paused, weighed the judgment of revealing this particular truth.
He watched her like the animal she’d mentioned, his scrutiny steady, unblinking, as if searching her for any hint of a lie. Sighing, she rose from the bed, careful not to jostle the tray. She approached him, moved between his legs, and cupped his face.
“I find it beautiful,” she whispered. Then laid a gentle kiss to the ridged flesh beneath his right eye before placing another on the twin scar that bisected his eyebrow. “I find you beautiful,” she confessed against his skin.
His hands clutched her waist. Other than the tiny flexing of his fingers, he remained as still as a statue. No, that wasn’t true. His eyes blazed with a fire that burned her.
Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Brown and Linda Howard many years ago. Well not that many. She is only eighteen…ish. Though her first attempt at a romance novel starring Ralph Tresvant from New Edition never saw the light of day, her love of romance, reading and writing has endured. Published since 2009, she spends her days—and nights— creating stories of unique men and women who experience the first bites of desire, the dizzying heights of passion, and the tender, healing heat of love.
She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.
Naima Simone is a new author to me but oh my, I am now a huge fan. The concept of her book is straight forward but it turns out to be an extraordinary story of two people finding love and learning to trust. I absolutely could not stop reading Naima’s Beauty and the Bachelor – I freaking loved it. Her characters, Lucas and Sydney were enchanting and their plot was incredibly fun. It’s a great read.
Lucas wants revenge and is willing to do anything to achieve it. His father’s premature death left him angry – bitter and he holds Jason Blake responsible for the demise of his family. For fifteen years, Lucas has waited and planned his retaliation again him. He planned for every known variable. His figured his scheme was infallible.
Except karma is a fickle lady because no matter how much you plan, some times fate steps in and gives you everything you never knew you wanted or needed. In Lucas’s case, he found Sydney.
Sydney Blake has spent her entire life trying to be everything that is expected of her – the perfect daughter, socialite, philanthropist and eventually wife. Except to do this, she needed to hide who she truly is and accept that she will never fit into the mold her family and acquaintances believe she should. Her world seems like a sad and lonely existence and it’s amazing to see her transformation as Lucas enters her life.
Their connection initially is only physical but it’s intense. The passion and lust that they feel for one another leaps of the page and you realize it is what unites the two as a couple as their real bond forms. The emotional ties develop as they discover one another’s personalities and you kind of forget why they are together. You’re quickly rooting for them to move forward away from their pasts – hopeful that they find a blissful and happy future together.
I stayed up very late to reach their happily ever after moment and then could not sleep because I was sad it was over. I definitely recommend this romance – it’s a sweet and entertaining story. Don’t miss out Beauty and the Bachelor!