Monday, 19 January 2015

Stripping the Billionaire by Noelle Adams

Book cover: Stripping the Billionaire by Noelle Adams
This is the fourth book in the Heirs of Damon series, which follow the four nephews of Cyrus Damon. We were introduced to black sheep of the family, Ben, in the last book, which was ‘Engaging the Boss’ but Ben’s story gets told here. There were originally five Damon nephews – Ben had an older brother, but he died in a car crash years ago. In the past, Ben tried so hard to be everything that his uncle wanted, but he never felt loved in return, and when his uncle tried to control Ben’s life and dictate who Ben could date that was the final straw. Ben’s career would have been compatible with joining his uncle’s business, as he is an architect, but his determination to be successful on his own terms and without using the Damon name has led him to cut himself off from his family, even going so far as to legally change his last name. Ben’s attendance at his cousin Harrison’s wedding was a mistake as far as he was concerned, and he is determined not to be part of the Damon scene again.

Ben is not the most sociable of people – probably the only person he can count as a friend is the tenacious Mandy, who lives across the hallway from him.
'If he'd been smart, eight months ago when he'd returned from his cousin's wedding to discover someone new had moved in across the hall, he never would have opened the door to the pretty, smiling princess on his doorstep. 
She'd kept knocking on his door, asking for help with moving boxes and rearranging furniture, asking if he wanted dinner since she'd made too much. At first, he'd tried to discourage her, but eventually he hadn't even wanted to. 
Now he was stuck with her. 
Now he was starting to miss her when she didn't come over.'
Mandy is an interior designer who is just starting her own business. Her parents were rich and she’s inherited a lot of money from them following their untimely death in an accident when Mandy was just 17. Mandy doesn’t need to work but she wants to. The other thing that Mandy wants is a family of her own. Her guardian did his job financially, but offered nothing emotionally, dealing with business transactions on Mandy’s behalf but not really welcoming her into his family. Mandy is determined to find a husband and not waste her time dating men who aren’t serious about settling down, however, being a friendly and loving type of person she enjoys being on good terms with her neighbour, including Ben, who Mandy feels must be pretty lonely. Ben is decidedly not Mandy’s type. He’s not husband material, he’s not interested in settling down, he’s a little on the slobby side, pretty grumpy, and Mandy laughingly refers to him as a ‘hulking Neanderthal’. Mandy has been starting to have feelings towards Ben which she needs to stifle, as no matter how fond of him she is, he isn’t going to fit into the husband-shaped hole in her life. Ben is also very attracted to Mandy, but she is everything that would fit straight into the world of the Damons, and that’s a life that Ben has left behind him. Since Ben has a history of being a people-pleaser he doesn’t want to take a chance on taking on a partner who wants him to change into something he doesn’t want to be.

When Ben leaves town to do some renovation work on his mother’s house, in his hometown, Mandy begs to go with him to have the experience to add to her design portfolio.  But Ben still wants to keep his identity a secret, and they both need to fight against the attraction they feel as they want different futures.

I thought this was a really enjoyable, easy reading romance. Mandy was a loveable, sweet heroine, who just needed to relax her inflexible requirements. Ben was more of a mess, he had walls that he needed to let down to allow anybody else near him. You would need Mandy’s impressive level of tenacity to stick with him! I liked that he was a little different from a lot of romantic heroes, we need more hairy, grumpy romantic male leads if you ask me, I far prefer Ben to some bossy alpha male!

In this series, each book has led on to the next, like you’d expect in a series. As this was the last book in the series I liked the fact that this book dealt with Ben, whose brother was involved in the accident that caused the fallout that was resolved in book 1 of the series, it felt like the series came full circle.

Please note that there are a number of sex scenes in this book and some swearing, so if those things are not for you, steer clear.

I’ve really enjoyed this series. They have all been entertaining, light reads, perfect to whip you away from reality for a couple of hours without being too taxing. I’d rate this one as 4 stars.

4 star read

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