Title: The Magnate’s Indecent Proposal
Author: Ally Blake
Copyright: 2008 (Harlequin); 185 pgs.
Series: Harlequin Presents #2762
Who: Chelsea London and Damien Halliburton
From the back: When Chelsea realized she’d accidentally swapped cell phones with someone, she knew how it would play out: she’d trek back into town, swap phones with some middle-aged man with a paunch and be on her way. Only, seriously sexy Damien ‘Rich-list’ Halliburton was way out of her league. She’d sworn off men long ago, but with a guy this gorgeous, how could she refuse his wicked, seductive and very indecent proposal?
Comments: First off, the book is not really as, er, debauched as the title makes it sound. Yes, Damien is wealthy — though, I’m no expert on what level of wealth makes him a ‘magnate’ — but his interest in Chelsea, at first, is ‘I would like to continue seeing you, but I can’t promise you a long-term, committed relationship.’ It’s not like he sets her up to be his mistress and she schmoozes his rich friends for backing of her pet grooming business. Or something.
Chelsea London, if fact, does own a pet grooming salon. It’s been doing well enough for her to plan on opening a second salon. She has an appointment with a loan officer, and to celebrate the occasion, she meets her sister Kensington at a trendy restaurant for breakfast. The restaurant has a policy: no cell phones in the dining area. Chelsea, who is very attached to hers, has no choice to surrender it at the door. She literally bumps into Damien, which results in the mix up of their claim tickets, though neither realize this. The fact that they have the same type of phone prevents either of them from figuring it out when they go to claim their phones.
Later, after both have realized that there’s been a mix up, they make plans to meet for dinner. Damien is stunned when he learns that the beauty who fell into his arms at breakfast is the same person who now has his phone. It’s only been a month since his break up with his previous girlfriend, and during that time, it’s been easy for him to swear off woman. Until Chelsea. He hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her all day.
Though they are both attracted to each other, both also have issues to overcome. Chelsea has a hard time trusting the ‘new school uniform’ set: the wealthy ‘haves’. Slick looking men in business suits, even loan officers — which hampers her decision to open the second shop — fall into this group. Her father was a con artist and her mother left them after Chelsea was born, so she and Kensington had a rough childhood. Added to this is Chelsea’s terrible track record with men. Right from the start, Damien should have been all wrong for her. But how can you resist a guy who nurses you through a stomach bug, playing hooky from work in order to stay home with you?
Damien broke it off with his last girlfriend because she issued an ultimatum: marry her or leave. Damien doesn’t think he’s capable of making a long-term commitment. His parents divorced when he was eleven, yet they still spend much time together. Damien’s best friend, Caleb, remarks that they are still madly in love with each other. So what sort of statement does that make to him and his younger sister about marriage if their parents are happy to “date” each other, but not remain married?
Damien is up front and honest with Chelsea about not wanting a permanent or long-term relationship. Chelsea’s like no other woman he’s known and he still wants to see her — so he proposes a no strings attached, causal relationship. At first, Chelsea seems to agree. But she’s falling in love with him, and it would be best to break it off sooner, rather than later, when it likely to hurt all the more.
I really liked Chelsea and Damien. Chelsea isn’t naive or timid. She knows how to stand on her own two feet. And though Damien is rich and used to getting things his way, he’s not extremely arrogant or haughty. He doesn’t look down at Chelsea and he really does care about her. The book also has its funny moments, since both characters have a sense of humor.
I really loved this book and I’ve added the author to my list of Harlequin Present writers that I will read again. Ms. Blake has written a book about Caleb and Damien’s sister, Ava.
Started: 28 April 2009
Finished: 30 April 2009
“I can’t! What if he’s some kind of crazy? Or if he’s eighteen years old? Or married? Or brings his imaginary friend to the table? Or smells like fish? Or hates dogs?”
— Chelsea, to her sister
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Marilyn’s Romance Reviews