Synopsis from Goodreads: When the breakdown of her marriage leaves Sadie Turner a single mum, she vows that she will make it on her own. After all, why would a smart businesswoman with a PhD and the prospect of a life-changing deal on the horizon need a man?
But Sadie’s man-ban is tested to the limit when she travels to Monaco to meet her potential investor. There she encounters Mac, a rough and ready playboy billionaire who lives life in the fast lane – and that’s when the real adventure starts!
But Sadie’s heart isn’t the only thing on the line. There’s also the business she’s worked so hard to make a success; the business that could so easily slip out of her grasp if she doesn’t seal the deal within thirty days …
Published under Hot Choc Lit - slightly raised heat level but not erotica!
Previously self-published as Hawaiian Affair. Revised and edited by Choc Lit March 2015
Stats for my copy: Kindle edition, published by Choc Lit, 2015.
How acquired: NetGalley.
My thoughts: This story started out very strong. We meet Sadie, on a business trip to meet with a prospective investor. With some free time on her hands and a borrowed “Open House” invitation, she's at the docks, nervously boarding a yacht under the pretense of being someone posh who might actually want to buy a yacht. After getting thrown off said yacht, she meets Mac, a deckhand on another yacht.
I connected with and loved Sadie right from the beginning. She's a little awkward and self-conscious, she's smart and witty, she's mum to two adolescent daughters, she totters about on her sky high heels, she's got curves, she's a realistic woman. She has a self-imposed rule about no men in her life until her girls are grown. A one night stand with Mac is the perfect way to end a stressful day. Not that she rushes into it. Oh no, she vacillates, and actually walks away, but her libido drags her back. On an impulse she's given him her middle name, and they agree that there will be no talk about their personal or business lives. Just each other's company for one evening.
So naturally the next morning when she walks into the meeting with the investor, who is she shocked to come face to face with but a shocked Mac. And Mac has a very firm rule – he does not mix business with pleasure.
This line is from much farther into the book, but it's a good description of Sadie and Mac at this point:
How could a playboy billionaire ever want to be with a small-town single mother of two feisty teenage girls, with a hippy grandma in tow, and a barely-solvent health food store to run.
The banter between Sadie and Mac was just delightful, and I loved watching them get to know each other.
“Thanks so much for rescuing my bag for me. Are you always such a hero?”
“Of course! Drowning handbags, run of the mil. Damsels in distress, a specialty!”
“Well, if I'm ever in distress, I'll give you a call!”
“Dis-dress, dat-dress, you look good whatever,” he said, then cringed.
Mac gets angry that Sadie didn't tell him who she really was, suspicious that she was playing him because he's rich, but at the same time he kept reminding himself that he was also less than honest, pretending to be a deckhand rather than the billionaire owner of the yacht he was on. He has a lot of trust issues when it comes to women, as billionaire playboys do. But his issues never seem melodramatic and we get into his head enough to have some insight and understanding of his reasoning.
At this point in the story, there is a lot of business talk. Sadie has presented Mac's people with a proposed marketing plan for a hydrating water, Frish, in hopes that he will be willing to invest, and join her in vying for distribution rights. If all goes well, and the company that produces the water goes for her plan, she's looking at finally having some financial security, paying off debt, and being able to provide more for her daughters without having to rely on her scummy ex-husband's help.
And frankly, all the business talk bored me. The plot got a little convoluted and very busy. Now that they're contemplating going into business together, Mac is determined to not have any kind of personal relationship with Sadie, and he often disappeared and avoided her and told her he would talk to her later and then didn't. I definitely enjoyed the story much more when they were interacting together, rather than going off in separate directions.
There are several secondary characters, and they mostly remain secondary. Which was fine, since I wanted the focus to be on Sadie and Mac. Eventually there was a revelation about Simon, Mac's business adviser and CFO, which I thought was unnecessary and a little disappointing. But in the end everything wrapped up quite satisfyingly, and I enjoyed more of the book than what I unenjoyed.