4.5 “Wounded Vet Finds His Perfect Assistant at Love” Stars for the story and narration!
Lovers of military hero romances will not want to miss The Bastard Billionaire. I must admit that with a title like that, I almost didn’t give this one a try. But please don’t let the title scare you away. This is not a FSOG styled romance. Read the blurb or this review and you’ll see. This romance is equal parts complex character development and fun, fiery interactions between the hero and heroine. What I loved the most, however, was that Ms. Lemmon proved that wounded vets can learn to live and find love again, even when they must learn to deal with a whole new reality of their battle scars (in this case a below the knee one-leg amputation). Additionally, Sasha Dunbrooke delivers a solid narration making this a good title to experience in audio format.
Eli Crane has given up his will to live. After his Marine career was cut short when his two friends gave their lives to stifle an explosion that also left him an amputee, he wishes it was he who had sacrificed his life instead. Afterall, he has no wife or kids, so why did they give up their lives for his? Eli’s family, however, is equally determined to see him healed and back involved in the family’s business as its Chief Operating Officer. The problem is Eli has no desire to let them in to his life again or play any role in the company. So when his family insists on hiring him personal assistants to help in this endeavor, he conveniently finds a way to scare them away. Ten personal assistants later, he’s definitely winning this battle.
What Eli, however, did not count on was Isabella Sawyer. Isabella has her own fair share of family strife. To her parent’s and her former boyfriend’s great dismay, she refuses to take a role in her family business. Instead what inspires her is her own business venture which she started from scratch: an employment agency. But given that her agency depends on word of mouth and reputation, she can not afford to have a prominent family/business like the Crane’s unhappy. And with Eli’s track record, her business is bound to end up that way unless she takes drastic measures. So to save her business, she decides to take on the clandestine role of Eli’s next assistant.
Of course this leads to a cosmic battle of wills, as Eli tries everything possible to convince Isabella to quit while Isabella in turn digs in her heals and refuses to leave. Even more dangerous is their undeniable attraction–one that neither can afford to indulge in, but also can’t seem to stop. Can their possibly be a HEA under the circumstances?
Sasha Dunbrooke does a splendid job with the narration. Ms. Dunbrooke handles the basics with ease. For example, she produces clearly distinguishable and genuine gender sounding voices for each of Eli and Isabella. She also does this for a number of the secondary characters, though I must admit that Eli’s brothers were a tad bit difficult to distinguish based solely on their voice. That said, as these parts were few and far between, it really didn’t have much of an effect on my enjoyment of the audiobook.
Perhaps what I loved the best about Ms. Dunbrooke’s narration, however, was her ability to perfectly time her delivery of the witty and funny dialogues between Eli and Isabella. Particularly in the beginning, when tempers flared hot and their encounters were inevitably explosive, Ms. Dunbrooke always delivered the lines with perfect timing causing me to chuckle as I was listening to the story.
All in all, I enjoyed The Bastard Billionaire a lot more than I had been expecting. Moreover, my heart really went out to Eli, an athletic and strong hero, who due to his injuries had to learn how to do everything again (from the physical tasks such as walking up stairs and even being with a woman) to the emotional ones of allowing his heart to be open to friends and a significant other again. Moreover, Ms. Dunbrooke’s narration really brought the whole story to life for me.
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.