Title: Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire
Author: Nina Croft
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
May Contain Spoilers
Seduction by any means necessary…
Olivia Brent is happy with her quiet life in the country, until the imminent loss of her home forces her to embark on a search for her estranged father. Catapulted into a world of criminals and totally out of her depth, Olivia is rescued by the stunningly gorgeous and enigmatic billionaire Luc Severino.
Luc has never considered himself a knight in shining armor, and if he had been, then Jimmy Brent’s daughter was the last person he would choose to rescue. But Olivia is the key to finding her father, and Luc is willing to use any methods available, including blackmail, to persuade Olivia to help him find Jimmy and finally put the past behind him.
And if blackmail doesn’t gain her total cooperation, then perhaps a little seduction will…
Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire is yet another example of of why I don’t like to read the blurbs on the back of the book before picking up a new category romance to read. I am not enamored by billionaires, Italian or otherwise. I have a hard time relating to them, and, in all honesty, I don’t really like them. The stress of having to juggle finances to get all of their bills paid gives the guy next door more character than that billionaire who jets off to seal a new lucrative business deal. Luc, the wealthy hero of Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire wasn’t always a rich guy, and that made him more interesting for me. He actually had to scrabble for his success, which he earned through sheer determination. His sole goal in life, exacting revenge against Jimmy Brent, has given him the drive to make things happen. Jimmy did him wrong, and Luc is going to make him pay – if he can ever track the weasel down, that is!
Olivia Brent is in dire straights herself. She is also desperate to locate the whereabouts of Jimmy Brent, the father that abandoned her family years ago. Jimmy was a louse, everyone knows that, but Olivia has been shielded from his most terrible indiscretions. Her mother remained in love with her errant husband until the day she died, and she refused to speak ill of him. Olivia needs to find her father, so she can persuade him to pay the bills she has looming over her head. If she can’t find him, she’ll lose the family home, leaving her, her younger brother, and their housekeeper on the streets.
The plot is standard series romance fare, and while it didn’t bring anything new to the table, Nina Croft’s writing kept me turning the pages of this spicy romance. Certain plot elements drove me bonkers, the main one being Olivia’s career. She works for a horse trainer, teaching lessons and competing on the eventing circuit. That just seemed far-fetched to me, considering her lack of discretionary funds. It is a rare individual who makes it big in the pricey horse world.
A hot night of steamy, passionate sex in his office, which was recorded on closed circuit cameras, is all the ammunition that Luc needs to get Olivia to help him find her father. With a sponsorship on the line, Olivia can’t afford to allow any scandal to taint her reputation. Instead, she agrees to Luc’s plan to lure her father out into the open. All of this was far-fetched and very silly, but the book was like crack and I couldn’t put it down. Why did Luc need a bedroom with a king-sized bed attached to his office? Does he often entertain clients in the intimate decadence of those finely woven linens?
There are some stories that I enjoy for no other reason than they keep me distracted from reality, and this is one of those. If I stop and over analyze the plot, Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire would probably fall flat on its face. Seeing how Luc and Olivia overcome their distrust of each other, and how they reconcile their feelings of betrayal by her father, kept me engaged in the story. Reading this book is like opening a bag of Jalapeño Kettle Chips. I know I shouldn’t give in to the temptation in the first place, but once the bag is opened, I can’t stop myself from eating every last chip, one after another. The book is fun, angsty, and zings with sexual tension, even if it contains the nutritional value of a bag of potato chips. For escapist reading and a disconnect from reality, give this book a try.
Review copy provided by publisher