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REVIEW: The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer Probst

Dear Ms. Probst:

As I read your book, I kept thinking about a phrase my mother uses: “There’s no accounting for taste.” The first two books in your Marriage to a Billionaire series–The Marriage Mistake is the third–have sold like hotcakes. Each book features a self-centered hero, a zero(ine) to heroine chick, a love spell, a meddlesome Italian family, and lots of screaming (literally) sex. I haven’t read the first one, The Marriage Bargain (Jane reviews it here), but have waded through the second two.

Your novels are not to my taste.

The Marriage Mistake by Jennifer ProbstThe Marriage Mistake features one of the oldest love stories in the book: the ugly duckling turned swan little sister who has forever been in love with her older brother’s hot as hell best friend.

Carina Conte is part of a large Italian family that’s become fabulously wealthy through their bakery business, La Dolce Famiglia. The company is run by her neanderthal older brother, Michael Conte, who is determined to keep his baby sis untouched by any man. Carina, who has recently gotten her MBA in Italy, has been brought to America by Michael to work as an assistant to Max Gray, Michael’s best friend and the CEO of the US branch of the business, La Dolce Maggie. Here’s the condescending conversation the two men have about Carina’s new job:

“I’ve hired a new associate. She’ll be under your direction, and you will be responsible for her training.”

Max cut his gaze to the man seated across the table. His nerve endings prickled at the announcement, but he remained silent. He stretched out his legs under the conference table, crossed his arms in front of his chest, and quirked a brow. He’d worked endless hours and sweat blood to get the family empire of La Dolce Maggie, the U.S. branch of Italian-based La Dolce Famiglia, off the ground, and damned if he’d step aside nicely.

….”So, who’s the hotshot coming in?”

“Carina.”

Max snapped his mouth shut. “Excuse me? Carina, your baby sister? You’ve got to be kidding me—isn’t she still in school?”

Michael poured himself some water from the cooler and took a sip. “She graduated last May with her MBA from SDA Bocconi, and she’s been training at Dolce di Notte.”

“Our competitor?”

Michael smiled. “Hardly. They are not looking to conquer the world like us, my friend. But I can trust them to teach her basic skills in the bakery business. I wanted her to train with Julietta but she refuses to lag in her older sister’s shadow. She’s been begging me to come to America and her internship is up. It is time she now join the family company. Capisce?”

Ah, hell. Yeah, he understood. Max was being reassigned to babysitting duty for the youngest sister of the clan. Sure, he loved her like a sibling, but her tendency to burst into tears over emotional scenes did not go well with business. Max shuddered. What if he hurt her feelings and she crumbled? This was a bad idea all around.

“Um, Michael, maybe you should put her in accounting. You always said she’s capable with figures, and I don’t think management is a good fit. I’ve got a crazy schedule and I’m in delicate negotiations. Please give her to someone else.”

His friend shook his head. “Eventually, I will move her to CFO. But for now I want her with you. She needs to learn proper management and how La Dolce Maggie works. You’re the only one I trust to make sure she doesn’t get in trouble. You’re family.”

The attitude of the two men would be even more obnoxious if it didn’t have a twinge of truth to it. Carina is immature, prone to impulsive decisions, and completely nuts where Max is concerned. She may have an MBA but it’s pretty clear she doesn’t really care about the family business; she’s just been unable to stand up to her heavy-handed family. (She likes to paint.) Carina came to New York determined to make her own way but, after one dinner with her brother and Max, she’s agreed to live with Michael and his wife–just for a week–rather than move directly into the loft she’s got waiting for her and to let Max “hone her skills.”

The one skill she really wants honed is how to have a hot no-strings affair. This makes very little sense–she’s been in love with Max forever, she comes from a conservative Catholic family, and, at age 26, is still a virgin. But, she felt oppressed by the limits placed on her while she lived in Italy and now that she’s in the big bad USA, she’s ready for a whole her.

Her entire life revolved around fighting for her place within the family among her gorgeous sisters and talented brother. It seemed everyone had a special niche, except her. Raw anticipation flowed through her blood at the thought of a fresh slate. Another country. A new job. A place to live on her own. The possibilities were endless, stretched before her like a gift, and she was tired of wasting those minutes on a man who’d never love her.

Marriage and settling down with one man was no longer her goal.

A hot-blooded, no-holds-barred affair definitely was.

Her skin tingled. Finally, she was freed from restrictions and intended to explore all of her sexuality. She’d find a man worthy of her and dive headfirst into a physical relationship with no hope of long-term commitment.

Bad girl.

Yeah. About time.

The first man Carina throws herself at backs off from her because Max told the guy to keep his hands to himself. This, understandably, pisses Carina off so she hies herself off to Max’s mansion–much is made in this book about how lavishly Max lives–late on a Saturday night and tells him to back off. The scene is so unbelievable, it’s silly.

“You don’t get to have a say in my life. No matter how far we go back!” She closed the distance between them. Fisting her hands in his T-shirt, she stood on tiptoes and snarled, “I deserve one night of great sex, Max. Would you deny me that? Would you deny what you give to yourself? I’m not a perfect china doll placed on a shelf to be played with in careful moments. I’m flesh and blood and I want messiness and passion and orgasms.”

Oh, yeah, he got it. His cock throbbed in time to her words. The scent of fresh rain, coconut and female swarmed his senses. Max fought the insanity of the moment but she battered him mercilessly.

“You scared the crap out of him, and he was afraid to touch me.”

“Then I was right. No man is worth your time if he can’t even stand up to someone who blocks what he wants.”

“Don’t you judge him, you arrogant ass. You’re his boss, and you made him believe I was some scared little virgin afraid of a little physical contact.”

She pushed at his chest. Temper wrapped around arousal and egged him on.“Isn’t that what you are? There’s nothing wrong with virginity. Do you want to give it away on the first man who tempts you?”

A low growl escaped her throat.“Yes! I’ve done plenty of things, Maximus Gray, things you wouldn’t believe. And I liked them, and I want more, and if I want to screw every cute man in the whole frikkin company you’re not going to stop me. You don’t have the right.”

The words hung thick and heavy in the air. A challenge. The alpha in him rose to the surface, where civility and politeness faded away. She vibrated with a fiery sexual tension that verged on explosive and damn her to hell and back, he was going to be the man to turn it.

He gave her one last chance as he clung to the edge of the cliff.

“Okay, so you’re a big girl who can make her own decisions. Fine. I’ll stay out of your life even if you are making a big mistake. Go home and grow up.”

He held his breath. Those dark eyes met his and some of his madness must have shown in his face. She eased back a precious inch and studied him.
Then smiled. “Go to hell, Max. I’m done with you.”

Satisfaction roared through him. He dropped from the edge and fell into the pit without a regret.

He grasped her around the waist and lifted her up high against his chest. Three steps and her back slammed against the door. His erection fit between the wet notch of her thighs and emitted a shocked gasp from those plump lips. Her pupils dilated.

“You asked for it, little girl. So you got it.”

He bent his head and took her mouth with his.

OK, so she stalks into his house, tells him to let her have great sex with someone else, he says he’ll leave her alone so she can make her own (bad) choices, he mauls her and she, of course, loves it. They are heading toward naked lust slaking when Michael calls and just his voice on the answering machine is enough to stop Max and Carina in their tracks.

One of the hilarious things in this book is that Max is an uber-alpha male who spends most of the book being bossed around professionally and personally by Michael. This is apparently justified by two things. One, Max thinks Michael has the right to direct Carina’s sex life and two, Max isn’t a Conte and comes from a mean dad. Given that Max has the emotional depth of a potato chip, I found his self-deprecation unsympathetic. He and Carina both needed to grow up and act like sane adults.

This, of course, does not happen.

Instead, Carina decides Max should be her one night stand–she’s (not really) convinced herself she’s over him and “the image of a naked Max thrusting her to orgasm made her clench her thighs together.” She throws herself at Max over and over–while working with him professionally with limited success–and he keeps saying no because Michael would kill him, fire him, and end their life-long friendship. Oh, and he’s also not good enough for her (those pesky childhood inadequacies.) Finally, after pages and pages of lust, confrontations, arguments, kisses, and descriptions of the expensive clothes they wear, the two are in Vegas and, apparently, it’s not the house that always wins in Vegas, it’s the “night.” In the nightclub of the famous (and oh so expensive Venetian) Max decides to take her.

….He eased himself over to her, grasped her hips, and pulled her hard against him.

Her eyes flew open, and she let out her breath in a sharp whoosh. His erection bulged in his pants and he drew her close so she got the full power of his arousal. His temptress didn’t welcome him into her arms and smile with invitation.

Instead, she sneered and jerked her chin. “I don’t think so. Go find yourself a nice cocktail waitress. Where’s Sawyer?”

He realized then this wasn’t going to be easy, but it would be fun. “Not here. Get over it.”

She snorted and didn’t give an inch. “I don’t need to get over it, Max. Since you’re not the man for the job, why don’t you step aside?”

He grinned. Dipped his head. And bit the sensitive curve of her neck.

A shudder wracked through her. His hand reached out and raked over the hard nub of her nipples poking through the fabric. Dear God, thank you. She wasn’t wearing a bra. “I screwed up. Sawyer made me see what an asshole I’ve been. Denying how much I want you. Denying what’s between us.” His thumb flicked the tip of her breast again. “I’m done running away.”

She refused to surrender. “Liar. You’re going to walk me to my room and tuck me into bed. Tell me I’ll feel better in the morning and pat yourself on the back for getting innocent Carina away from the big bad wolf. Fuck you, Maximus Gray. I’m finding Sawyer.”

She twisted in his arms but he spun her around and lifted her buttocks up hard against him. This time, he caught her tiny gasp as he crushed his mouth over hers.

The music pounded and his tongue dived deep, pushing into every corner and making sure she knew who mastered who. In seconds, her body melted in surrender, and her fingers thrust into his hair. He took his time until his intention was known, then slowly broke the kiss.

Her lower lip trembled. “Max?”

“I am the big bad wolf, sweetheart. Now get your ass up to your room.”

The rest of the book goes downhill from there. There’s a forced marriage, lots of sex with mentions of 50 Shades of Grey, marital woes, spurious drama, and a professional transformation so ludicrous it’s an insult to hard-working artists everywhere. Oh, and one of those irksome epilogues that reassures the reader Carina and Max are living happily ever after and lets devoted Probst followers know who will next work the love spell whammy.

I realize this is a snarky review. And it has recently been pointed out to me by a DA reader that romances like this are intended to be fantasies. (I was complaining about the sudden proliferation of billionaire heroes.) And it’s true that books chocked full of luxury brand name items tend to make me gag. (At one point, Carina is wearing “Ciccotti shoes” made with “real diamonds”; Max wears a “Vacheron Constantin” watch and an ever-changing array of custom-made suits.) I’m sure part of my distaste for this book is I dislike the idea a fantasy life has to be one of such extreme wealth–I miss the days when just being a millionaire made a hero hot. In the same way I think it’s unhealthy to have air-brushed perfect women setting a standard for beauty, I think it’s depressing having a massive bank account is now inherently super sexy. This is my bias and it’s not one readers have to share. I’m a big believer in readers having the right to enjoy whatever the hell they want to. I don’t like the billionaire parts of Probst’s books, but I can see that many do and that’s fine with me.

But, the big bucks thing is not the main problem with The Marriage Mistake. The main problem with this novel is that the characters act like children, their story is implausible to the point of irritation, and their happy ever after is achieved with careless ease. The plot and the prose are pedestrian and predictable. The jokes aren’t funny. It’s just not a very good book. I give it a C-.

Dabney

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I loved romances when, back in the mid 70's, in junior high, I read every Barbara Cartland novel I could check out from the library. Then, thanks to a savvy babysitter, I got my hands on the hot stuff. To this day I can remember how astonishingly steamy I found Rosemary Rogers' Sweet Savage Love. I abandoned romance when I went to college and didn't pick one up again until 2007 when I got my first Kindle. Since then, I’ve read countless romances; loved many, liked more, hated some. Most of what I read is historical and contemporary romance, but I’m open to almost any genre. I like my books to have sizzle, wit, and plots that make sense. I’d take sexy over sweet any day. I’m a sucker for smart heroes and smart-mouthed heroines. When not reading or writing about reading, or wishing I could rule the world, I'm meddling in the lives of my kids--I have four, ages 17 to 21--, managing my husband's practice, doing bossy volunteer work, and hanging out with Dr. Feelgood.

35 Comments

  1. Meri
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 14:14:56

    I’m surprised you didn’t grade it lower – the review made it sound like a D-range book at best.

    Probst’s success mystifies me. She’s not doing anything particularly original and she doesn’t write all that well. 50 Shades at least had a selling point, since it was supposedly sexy and erotic; what’s driving the sales here? I don’t get it.

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  2. Liz Mc2
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 14:57:33

    I read the first book in the series, curious about its popularity, and felt pretty much the same. I thought the writing was pretty weak, the plotting and characterization were not really logical or consistent, and the sexual tension didn’t work for me. I wondered whether it was finding fans who do not read a lot of category romance (I think some Harlequin Presents have done these tropes better), but that could be way off base. Tastes just differ.

    I’m interested in your comments on wealth. Being super-wealthy is not really a fantasy of mine, or at least, I find the things people do with their billions in romance novels not very interesting (buying really expensive watches and living in lavish mansions/penthouses) or what I’d do. (Obviously I realize a lot of readers feel differently). But in The Marriage Bargain I found the hero really unconvincing as a billionaire–all the cultural markers were “suburban upper middle class professional” and I wished Probst had just gone with that and dropped the billionaire stuff. Sounds like instead she got better at the cultural markers of extreme wealth.

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  3. kathybaug
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 15:08:43

    <>

    This sentence is unclear. What emitted the gasp? His erection or her plump lips? I didn’t realize those parts of the body could gasp!

    (I’m being snarky here )

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  4. kathybaug
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 15:10:00

    Ooops the sentence didn’t show up. I’m referring to

    His erection fit between the wet notch of her thighs and emitted a shocked gasp from those plump lips.

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  5. Dabney
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 15:33:00

    @Meri: I was trying to rein in my crankiness.

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  6. Dabney
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 15:33:38

    @kathybaug:The book was full of that kind of junk.

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  7. Dabney
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 15:47:08

    @Liz Mc2: I actually don’t think that’s true. I think her billionaires all do have “upper middle class” sensibilities. They aren’t the Martha’s Vineyard, Marin County, Upper East Side super wealthy. They’re entranced with labels and symbols of wealth as opposed to power and entitlement. I think that’s supposed to make them easier to relate to.

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  8. reader
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 16:41:21

    Wow, that is some crappy writing. And it sells.

    How depressing.

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  9. Lynn S.
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 22:07:42

    This sounds like a lower-end Presents cozied up to a Blaze and a 352 page baby was the result. Wow Dabney, 352 pages, you are brave. Also, I miss the days when just being interesting made a hero hot.

    @kathybaug: You beat me to the punch. That sentence made no sense whatsoever. I can give typos and the occasional homophone a pass, but ludicrous incoherence is a big no for me.

    The alpha in him rose to the surface, where civility and politeness faded away.

    This one doesn’t make much sense either.

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  10. Liz Mc2
    Nov 10, 2012 @ 23:42:52

    @Dabney–Well, in the first book the billionaire “looks hip” in Dockers, among other howlers, so at least she did some brand name research. Is relatable what people want when they read about billionaires?

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  11. Ann Bruce
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 01:22:33

    @Dabney: Hmm. The billionaires I know aren’t interested in labels. They’re too busy trying to work the next deal. Or geting their names on buildings and scholarships and charity foundations to ensure their legacy.

    Sounds like the author did her research by watching reality TV.

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  12. Meri
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 02:37:29

    I’m confused – is Max supposed to be a billionaire? A billionaire working in the US branch of a bakery business he doesn’t own? Is there that much money to be made selling baked goods?

    I hate it when authors give the businesses in their books stupid, unimaginative names. It’s not just Probst who’s guilty of that, but still, La Dolce Famiglia? That’s the best you can do?

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  13. Sami Lee
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 04:40:15

    I feel your pain when it comes to the proliferation of billionaire heroes. I think it’s often used as a shortcut to say ‘this guy is sexy’ simply because he has money. We’re all smart enough to know the clothes (or the Vacheron Constantin watch) don’t make the man, so why is romance fiction so littered with these types of heroes lately? Why can’t we explore other, more complex ideas about what is attractive in a man?

    The excerpts don’t seem THAT bad, not unforgivable. But the plotline doesn’t really interest me. Enjoyed the review, thanks.

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  14. cecilia
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 08:34:10

    Billionaires and brand names are two things I particularly find tiresome in a romance. Especially when the likelihood of the hero making billions in the field and/or time frame presented is implausible. I don’t care if there’s a fantasy element to it, because in fantasy world-building counts; if the author is going to rely on a lot of heavy-handed references to actual things, then she’s saying “I’m setting this in the world you know.” And the world I know doesn’t have billionaire bakery employees.

    But I really hate the conspicuous consumption that I’ve seen in some books – it just seems so ridiculously adolescent. And vacuous. Absolutely not sexy.

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  15. Jane Lovering
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 08:58:42

    Distressingly, I know several women whose idea of the perfect man is – to my ears, a cocky, abusive aggressor. They also want him to be filthy rich, so they never have to work again. I can’t tell them they are wrong to want this; just because my perfect man is a beta-male with enough to get by on doesn’t make their desires faulty, but…. Sometimes I despair of some of my gender. I understand not wanting to work, but..seriously?

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  16. Dabney
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 09:01:31

    @Liz Mc2: I think her billionaires are supposed to have the impulses of the “upper middle class.” They’re entranced by the stuff the have–it says “Look, at me. I’m rich and if you had all this stuff, you’d be just like me.” So, yes, I think they are supposed to be people the “average” reader can imagine being somewhat like. It’s their stuff that makes them special, not their behaviors or backgrounds.

    @Ann Bruce: I agree. I don’t know any billionaires personally but I do know several millionaires, both self-made and those from old money. None of them are like the wealthy in these books. The rich in the book are rich as a marker rather than as a genuine aspect of their lives.

    @Meri: I thought the same thing on both counts. Especially because the bakery company isn’t a a subsidiary of any larger multinational corporation. It’s a family bakery that has generated billions for three heroes, their families, and the leads we’ve yet to meet. The books are truly a fantasy in that regard.

    @Sami Lee: @cecilia: Me too. Money in and of itself isn’t hot. Contemporary romance seems to have two types of heroes right now–in many books. One is the working class super stud and the other is the billionaire super stud. Both are often written in a way that the class/profession of the hero isn’t believable or integrated realistically into his life. One of the reasons I love Sarah Mayberry’s latest, Suddenly You, is that in the work that the characters do and the money they earn for it is a natural part of who they are. Not to mention they’re all middle class–Australian middle class, but still!

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  17. Dabney
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 09:09:29

    @Jane Lovering: I have to confess–I quit working when I had my second child 20 years ago (I had four in five years.) and have never gone back full-time. My husband, for years, worked constantly and we wanted one of us to be around for the kids. We worked it out as a partnership though. I’ve always managed all our finances and been in charge of the domestic front (which is a little sad because I hate to cook) and he earned the bucks. Ten years ago, he opened his own practice and I work part time for that. I feel as though we have taken care of one another–not that I’ve let someone support me.

    It’s hard to work it all out–I feel sorry for our gender. We try so often to have it all and end up feeling overwhelmed and underpaid. It’s especially bad here in the land of expensive childcare and afterschool.

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  18. Nadia Lee
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 09:32:27

    @Dabney: You just defined ostentatious. “Check out my things and see how rich I am!”

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  19. Sunita
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 10:15:32

    The millionaire-to-billionaire transition is a reflection of changing wealth and income, but so is the way they’re portrayed. If you read the millionaire Harlequin Presents, etc. written anywhere from 30 to 60 years ago, they reflect gentry and aristocratic markers rather than what we see today. And the “self-made man” was marked out as different in his personality than those born to wealth. In an era where reality show contestants are “celebrities” and Mark Zuckerberg is a billionaire, I don’t see these characterizations as entirely off-base, even if the money they’re supposed to have earned make no sense.

    I’ve only read one book from Entangled and I was disappointed in the writing and editing. I preferred the author’s books published by a different press. The writing here is far worse than the one I read, but the problems are similar.

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  20. Kate Hewitt
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 11:03:36

    It’s been my experience writing for Presents that in recent years, in part due to the struggling economy, readers want to see less of the billionaire fantasy. Now a Presents hero just needs to be a successful Alpha rather than have a certain number of zeroes in his bank account. I’ve certainly felt I’ve had a bit more freedom in making my heroes have different careers and experiences than the unspecified corporate billionaire, and I think other writers in the line have experienced the same.

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  21. Dabney
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 11:45:20

    @Sunita: In a better written book, I think the markers of wealth would have seemed more true to the characters instead of seeming tacked on as they do in this one.

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  22. LJD
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 12:11:41

    I read The Marriage Bargain, and haven’t been tempted to read anything else in the series. It was OK, but I really did not get the hype.

    And it appears that the series as moved from Entangled to Simon & Schuster?

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  23. Ann Bruce
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 12:20:29

    @Sunita: But Zuckerberg is in technology, where becoming a millionaire overnight is entirely possible and billions are spent on M&A (sometimes foolishly). The ease of entry and market size of the technology industry makes all of that entirely possible. Also, Zuckerberg lives in an unassuming home and favors hoodies and runners.

    The so-called billionaires in this book are label-chasers like the people Psy mocks in “Gangnam Style.”

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  24. Sunita
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 12:39:18

    @Ann Bruce: Yeah, I know. I spend part of the year at the top end of Silicon Valley. There are unassuming tech millionaires and billionaires to be found, but there are also a boatload of them who flaunt expensive crap as status markers (and store that crap in astonishingly tacky “mansions”). All I meant was that conspicuous consumption at every status level is far more common today than it was a few decades ago. So while I’m sure Dabney is right that the poor writing is part of the reason the money stuff is badly done, the flaunting does not strike me as that unlikely.

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  25. Kelly
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 13:37:29

    Snark from Dabney! I’m so proud of you!

    The contemporary Billionaire CEO Who Never Actually Works is the equivalent of the historical Duke of ItDoesn’tMatter – I read a few, and after that, they were all the same, so I don’t even glance at them anymore.

    Brand name drop-ins are a huge annoyance for me, because half the time I don’t even recognize the product, and they kick me out of my reading trance *every* time.

    This book sounds like the love child of Pretty Woman, Sex and the City and Judith Krantz’s Scruples. And not in a good way.

    Also, I’m adding “naked lust slaking” to my list of favorite phrases, along with “indolent nakedness” and “erotic spectacle.”

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  26. Jane Lovering
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 14:03:37

    @Dabney

    I never intended to belittle any woman who chooses not to work – hell, I had five kids in 7 years and stayed at home with them when they were little too! But it’s the women who feel that marrying a very rich man – who also has to be a total alpha – is the answer to all their prayers, as though they will be happy to give up any freedoms in order to have the money. That is what worries me about people who have that dream.

    Sorry if I offended you, wasn’t my intention in the least.

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  27. Dabney
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 14:39:36

    Oh I wasn’t offended at all! I agree with you. I was just making the point we have a culture that makes it hard to do all the things women want to.

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  28. Sami Lee
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 16:12:20

    @Dabney:

    Australian middle class :). We do have one, although so many of us remain working class at heart, I think. I love Sarah Mayberry’s books. She does great, realistic characters and settings and hawwt love. What more can you want?

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  29. coribo25
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 16:58:32

    The Chav billionaire has arrived.

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  30. joanne
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 18:47:35

    equivalent of the historical Duke of ItDoesn’t Matter

    I’m not sure it will bring you back to historical Dukes but Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase may be your best chance. Her Duke delegates EVERYTHING and that is what makes the story a success. He actually behaved like I’ve always imagined those aristocratic figures did and why they ended up in such financial messes. (He’s also incredibly sexy, grovels and learns his lesson about responsibility)

    Billionaire heros (or heroines – do we have any of those?) who don’t work at keeping their money, not to mention increase it, strike me as hugely TSTL.

    Thank you Dabney.

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  31. Dabney
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 18:59:09

    I just read Kelly Hunter’s The Man She Loves to Hate. The hero in that is super wealthy, powerful, and alpha. He also works his butt off, goes to Board meetings that seem legit, and uses his brain in a way commensurate with his tycoon persona. He made me dislike Probst’s billionaires even more.

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  32. Dabney
    Nov 11, 2012 @ 19:01:21

    @Kelly: I do have an inner unreasonable bitch–I belittle on a regular basis.

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  33. Lada
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:34:16

    One of my pet peeves that hasn’t been mentioned are hero/heroines from different cultures imbued with American mores. Do any of the European readers of DA find this annoying? My experience has been that Europeans generally don’t regard sexuality with the same hang-ups Americans do which would make the Italian, 26 year old, well educated virgin trope an even harder sell.

    I haven’t read this book so I may have misunderstood and she was born and raised American and simply studied abroad but I still despise the trope, especially since it appears she’s otherwise sexually aggressive rather than repressed. Gah.

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  34. rae
    Nov 12, 2012 @ 14:12:47

    @Lada:
    Europe is not one country it’s a continent. As such there are many countries with many different cultures, practices and norms. What is annoying to one country is not necessarily annoying to another.

    On the question of virgins – in the UK Mills & Boon reigns supreme with category romance, the best selling line is the one with the exotic locations, billionaires and virgins – M&B Modern Romance (Presents). So it doesn’t look like a virgin is a hard sell in the UK at least.

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  35. Audrey
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 17:31:42

    If Probst have done her research more thoroughly she would know that young and hip rich billionaires do not wear V. Constantin, most of them likes to wear the very understated but yet still luxurious IWC watches.

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