The Tycoon's Temptation
When I have to make a conscious effort to keep reading a book, I can tell it’s not working for me, and that’s what happened here. The Tycoon’s Temptation is a strictly-by-the-numbers exercise in series romance, with a hollow theme at its core: can a lowly working-class girl teach an obscenely wealthy man that there is such a thing as love? Flat, clichéd characters and an uninspired storyline left me dissatisfied once I finally managed to finish the book.
Uber-rich, use-’em-and-leave-’em hotelier Preston Dexter is in New Orleans to oversee the opening of his latest property, when his eye is caught by the luscious legs of decorator Lily Stone. When she proves to be as sassy as she is gorgeous, Preston knows he’s just got to sleep with her. Wait a minute, though – Lily’s a virgin, and while she finds Preston impossibly attractive, she’s only going to give herself to the man she loves, and Preston flat-out tells her he doesn’t believe in love. Lily bets him that she can prove to him it exists; Preston reasons that he’ll do just about anything to get in her panties, so he takes her up on the bet. Will Lily succumb too soon to the overwhelming desire that she feels for Preston, or will she be able to convince him that love is real?
Neither of these characters came to life for me. I did not care that Preston came from a materially rich but emotionally poor environment. I did not care that Lily’s background was the polar opposite. This is one of those books in which the hero spends the majority of the story in a constant, and surely painful, state of arousal, mentally lusting after the heroine: “He had to bond with her. Had to mate with her, Had to make her his…” Meanwhile, the heroine passes the time wringing her hands in a state of should-I-or-shouldn’t-I agonizing: “Oh, God, she thought. I can’t do this.” Well, neither could I – barely. After putting the book down and picking it up numerous times, I finally ended it in a state of annoyance and disappointment.
About the only thing I found appealing was the author’s use of New Orleans as a setting. She conveyed some of the charm of the city, even if some passages did read like a guidebook. While I realize that there are certain conventions in series romance, and that the short length forces the author to compress elements of the story, I don’t think it should happen at the expense of sympathetic characters with some emotional depth. There was nothing about this tycoon, or his story, that I found tempting in the least.