The Secret One
You should know from the start of this review that this is my first Corisi Billionaires book. The fact that I didn’t enjoy it is heavily wrapped up in being new to the series, because the book spends an enormous amount of page count on people I didn’t know and overarching plots I wasn’t invested in. If the twenty percent of the page count which focused on the main couple had been a separate novella, I would probably have given it a B, but as it was, The Secret One was a slog I do not recommend to anybody not invested in the first two books.
Christof Romero first met McKenna Decker in a bar, and some of his comments helped put her on a path to secure her dream of running a racing park. Years later, she stops to help a motorist stranded at the roadside with car trouble, and it’s Chris. The two of them re-establish their relationship. Secrets in Chris’s family are coming out, and as the even-tempered one, Chris is the man to solve them – but with the help of McKenna posing as his fake fiancée.
As you can tell, there’s not a lot of tension between McKenna and Chris. Chris is, frankly, wonderful – he admires McKenna’s business success and wants to support her. He’s a supportive, helpful listener, and single-handedly keeps this book out of the D range. My only concern about him is why Christof is considered an Italian name. Anyway, the only way to force tension into Chris and McKenna’s relationship is to give McKenna a deep-seated mistrust of men, which unfortunately the author fails to justify with more than vague ‘I dated some losers’ backstory.
The rest of the book is spent on Chris’s family drama. I’m afraid to even explain much of it because it could be a spoiler, but basically there are secrets all over this family which connects them to protagonists of previous books, and for some reason, a European dowager queen (?) is engaged as an intermediary (??) to force people to address the issues. All villains are neutered by the end, which is dull. Most problematic? People keeping secrets about other people, with the vague rationale that they (whoever the secret is about) don’t ‘seem ready’ to hear it.
Series readers may get closure from this book. Personally, I just wanted to keep it closed.