Author: Katy Evans
Series: Million Dollar #2
If someone had bet Nell a million dollars that she would be saying “I do” to a complete stranger on national television, she’d have called them crazy, but with her crushing student loan payments sending her deep into the red, she’s out of options. This should be nothing more than a business transaction—until she sets eyes on her groom, and everything changes.
The game is on the instant Luke spots Penelope “Nell” Carpenter. He’s out for the money, yes, but getting a little dirty with Nell doesn’t sound too bad either. Everyone knows he’s not the marrying kind, so it’s a good thing it’s just for show. God knows he’s the worst guy his pretty wife should pick for real.
They have nothing in common, but if they want the grand prize, they’ll have to beat out eight other couples. Proving that total opposites attract should be easy enough…as long as they don’t fall in love in the process.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I’m so glad that the first book of this saga had such a handsome guy in the cover. The blurb didn’t catch my attention that badly, but the hottie… *blush* I say I’m glad, because otherwise I would have missed a really great couple of books or they would have been on my TBR list for years before reading them. The first one was good, with a style I greatly enjoyed, but this second one… is a blast!!
This time we leave the so-called glamour of the fashion world to traverse that minefield called reality TV. Million Dollar Marriage is a brand new and super secret show with one million dollar as the final prize. Penelope Carpenter (Nell for shorts) is a brilliant doctor who is drowned in student loans. She is an introvert and, for some reason, thinks that taking part in the reality show is a great idea. Luke Cross is the owner of a watering hole that has seen better days and it is about to be picked apart by the banks. So, a reality show sounds like fast money for him and he is in it for the big prize. Luke is a social machine and everyone falls in love with him. Except Nell, who is playing hard to get. Thankfully, they are paired together in the show… as husband and wife!
I am like Nell when it comes to reality shows. I don’t watch them, I don’t like them and I am incapable of understanding their appealing. So, I wasn’t at all convincend about reading a romance blooming in one of those shows. After finishing the book, I can say that my fears were totally absurd, because it has been one of the most enjoyable books I have read this year. The pace is incredible fast, with crazy challeneges for the participants that make the reading original and keeps you engaged page after page. I swear that I was cheering on them to show my support and practically insulting Ace when he and Marta had the advantage. I was so invested in the show that I felt sad when the end of it was announced. I have discovered that a reality show is much more enjoyable when you read it than when you watch it. I feel like I have been converted into a religion or something.
It helps volumes Katy’s style. This is the second book by her I have read, but I’m already in love with her care towards the main characters, the easy flow of the stories, the sense of humor (love when it gets caustic!!), thr sweetness, the naughty scenes, the romance… She has all the ingredients and adds them with perfect precision in just the proper amount. Yes, I’m very impressed. It is not easy to impress me in the Romance genre, but these two books have left me with a pleasant aftertaste that I won’t forget easily.
Obviously, I also fell in love with Luke… who could resist? He is the bad boy premium package: big musclse, tattoos, flirtatious, extrovert and so good between the sheets (with plenty and regular experience… ask for the list of references). He is naughty, naughty… but when he falls in love, Luke shows that he can also be a really sweet guy. Very patient and loyal, making sure that Nell is in the same page and letting her decide when, where, how much and for how long. His story about overcoming his past is moving and really a great example to show that there is always hope, no matter how dreadful the current situation may look. He would be a perfect book boyfriend except for a objectively small detail (subjectively it is huge): he is a smoker!! Boooo!! Luckily, that annoying fact is barely mentioned and I was able to ignore it in order not to make the reading less pleasurable. But is enough reason to remove him from my list of book boyfriends (it’s getting crowded, anyway). Sorry, pal, you can’t always win!!
On the other corner of the ring we have Nell. She is not like any other female character that I have met before. She is brilliant, but has an alarming allergy to everything social (my alma mater!!). No problem with that, except she considers herself better than the rest of her fellow mortals and has zero problem of saying so. Somehow, that doesn’t make her a bad character or one that you wouldn’t support. It makes the story more interesting, because it is obvious that is going to be a much harder shell to brake. Which means Luke has to use his top game and that is something I could read everyday for the rest of my life. By the end of the book, we can tell Penelope is a much better character; but it saddens me a little that it is not clearly said that her essence is intact. There wasn’t anything wrong with her and her hobbies… she just needed a little tuning.
Is everything perfect? Nope. There are a couple of things I do not like (apart from the smoking thing). Not a big deal actually, but they are a bit unrealistic. One of them is during the key challenge. The couples had to find the correct key for their room among hundreds of them. Luke and Nell are incredibly unlucky with this one, but the rest are annoyingly lucky… Most of them needed few attempts to get the right key… If that were a real show, I would think that the task was rigged somehow. And the other one is when they have to choose who gets their hair cut or who does a training circuit for marines. Surprisingily, Nell wants to do the physical challenge even though she has stayed away of anything sportish her whole life. And… she nails it? A circuit with obstacles meant to train marines? It felt too easy… Maybe she is a natural ans didn’t know about it… Anyway, nothing really important for the story, so it shouldn’t stop you from picking it.
As a whole, this book is better than the previous one. The story has less gaps and the pace is even better. I have no idea if there will be more, but I wouldn’t mind reading a book for Ace (yes, that guy). In the meantime, I will need to check what other books by this author I will add to my list.