At the Billionaire’s Beck and Call?

Ryder Bramson has a plan–he needs to get control of his business conglomerate away from his two illegitimate brothers. To do that, he needs to buy control of a company that has holdings in the conglomerate…and to do that–the owner insists that Richard marry his daughter, Macy Ashley, herself a talented CEO candidate!

Macy has no idea of this plot when she is tapped to head up the exploration of opening a new division of Ryder’s fine-chocolates empire in Australia. She sees it as the chance of a lifetime–do a good job on this, and she could be the CEO of the Australian operation. So, naturally, she does her best! When the boss shows up to review the work, he’s uninterested in reading the reports. “I haven’t crossed the Pacific to look at graphs and reports that I could have studied from the comfort of my own office,” he says, and so she just tells him. Then feeds him samples of the variant recipes they have tested on the Aussie market.

Then goes out to dinner with him…

Then they kiss…

Surprising me, it got no further than that, the first night.  I’ll admit to a little bit of…oh, I don’t know…disbelief, maybe, at the notion of someone that high-up actually considering a personal relationship with the boss. At that high a level, it can cause trouble, I would imagine. But Macy’s doubts about the workability of this idea are only compounded when the paparazzi descend on them. Ryder adds security, without telling her, which irks her somewhat.

It isn’t until much later that he gets around to telling Macy why he is courting her, and, predictably, she’s outraged, but she doesn’t handle it in typical romance-heroine fashion, by storming out of his life then waiting and being lonely. No, she takes a little breather to sort things out in her head, then jumps right in, because she is strong enough to admit to herself, if not to Ryder, that she is in love with him. But the media attention on them, plus the mess that Ryder’s family is in over the death of his father, then one of his half-brothers, throws their plans into disarray, and he returns to the States alone.

I enjoyed this story, in a lot of ways.  It’s set in Australia, though (other than Sydney Harbour) it could be just about anywhere; we’re not given a whole lot of detail. Ryder Bramson is, as you might suspect from the name, a bit of an archetype of Sir Richard Branson–diverse businesses, enthusiastic go-getter who knows what he wants and is used to getting it. Macy is a bit unusual for this genre, in that she is also at the top of her game; she’s top-flight CEO material, a seriously competent manager, not someone down in the secretarial pool that the boss wants to elevate to his personal assistant or some such. There are enough details about the backstory of both our protagonists to make them well-rounded individuals, and the tale of what Macy is actually doing for Bramson in Australia is plausibly well-presented.  There is a small, somewhat minimalist supporting cast; few are described well enough to be a distraction.

The chemistry–and the sex–is intense.  These are two people very confident in their own skin, who mesh very well both in and out of bed. The chemistry builds from a smolder early, and never lets up at all. Typical of the line, the progression is fast, but more believable than I’m used to seeing.

Is this a gushy love story you can fall in love with? No, not really.  Do you have here two adorable characters whose shoes you can see yourself in? Again, no, and those are what keep this from being an absolutely outstanding book. But it’s a great read, steamy and fun, and a nice change of pace from the usual.

My ratings:

Story Quality:
Character Chemistry: