The Highest Bidder
After The Highest Bidder, there will be only two more books in Silhouette Desire’s Dynasties: The Ashtons miniseries. Roxanne St. Claire gives us a love story, re-caps who’s who in the Aston family and sets up the next book. That’s quite a lot to ask for a book that’s only 192 pages long.
Paige Ashton is Spencer Ashton’s daughter by his third wife, Lilah the social climber. Paige is the event planner for her family’s estate and as the book opens, she is in the middle of a bachelorette auction. When one of the bachelorettes takes off, Paige goes on stage to tell the auctioneer and finds herself being bid on. The winner is Matt Camberlaine, a billionare software developer and all around ladies man. Paige can’t believe that he’d be attracted to her, but Matt plans a first date with seduction on his mind. But very soon, the tables are turned on both of them.
In many, many romances the characters change over the course of the book. She often changes from a shy, quiet woman who thinks herself ugly to one who is confident and pretty. He most often changes from a man who lives to pursue casual sex to one who realizes the value of committment . That’s the case in this book. Paige goes from shy, brainy good girl to seductress in the turn of a page, and Matt goes from “casual sex is all I want”, to committed lover in the turn of another page.
Given that this is such a short book with quite a bit of back story to get through, Paige and Matt’s change of heart is abrupt enough to be jarring. If this had been a full length contemporary romance, this would not have been a problem. I’ve read several of Roxanne St. Claire’s full length romances and enjoyed them very much. I have no doubt that she could have made this a darn good story, given enough room to stretch out, but in this book everything happens way too fast.
Matt grew up poor and fatherless, and graduated from Berkeley on an ROTC scholarship. He loved music, was talented with computers, and combined his two interests into developing software for musicians. Badly hurt in a marriage to a woman who married him for his money then cheated on him, Matt now has trust issues and only pursues casual relationships. But he goes from contemporary Duke of Slut to man in love so fast it made my neck snap. If only this had been a longer book!
Paige is the typical brainy good girl. She graduated college early and got an MBA. Everyone thinks of her as the quiet, intelligent one who gets things done and doesn’t stand out. Paige loved her father, but didn’t make excuses for him. She loves her family, but is clear-eyed about their problems. She’s intelligent, hard working, and pretty much a paragon. That’s about all I can say for her – if only this had been a longer book!
There’s only two more books in this miniseries, and just two more Ashtons to marry off. I know that we’ll get the truth as to who killed Spencer Ashton, but I can’t say I’m very interested. This has been a ho-hum and lackluster series all around, and I don’t think I’ll be reading another one straight through any time soon.