by Alexis Hall
Series: Arden St. Ives #1
Also in this series: How to Blow It with a Billionaire
Publisher: Forever Yours
Publication Date: April 16, 2017
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Rules are made to be broken . . .
If England had yearbooks, I'd probably be "Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire." So far, I haven't. I've no idea what I'm doing at Oxford, no idea what I'm going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he's brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.
It's impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he'll be through with me.
I'm good at doing what I'm told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian's shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it's him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn't have the power to give me.
I always say that I’m not particularly a fan of new adult or billionaire romance, but somehow when you combine the two I’m completely enchanted. So when I had the chance to get ARCs of the first two books in the Arden St. Ives series by Alexis Hall (of the quirky and wonderfully horrific The Affair of the Mysterious Letter), I jumped on it.
“I have to tell you, I don’t do relationships.”
“Oh, that’s fine.” I hooked a leg across his hip. “Let’s just have sex.”
The book is told from Arden’s point of view, and he’s delightfully funny. It’s a very effective choice, as it really shows how moth-to-flame drawn he is to Caspian. Though, honestly, Arden’s the one who’s so delightfully humorous and alive, so perhaps he’s the flame. Caspian’s the epitome of the tortured broody Heathcliff, the whole emotionally repressed, ice cold billionaire dom stereotype, and he spends most of the book coming off objectively as an absolute jerk. Normally I’d be completely out because of that, but we get to see him through Arden’s eyes. Arden manages to pry open a few cracks in Caspian’s armor, and it does appear that, underneath, he’s exactly the kind of person Arden thinks he is. There is an obvious power imbalance that Arden acknowledges and then deals with in his own (very Arden) way. Arden, despite his insecurities, knows who he is and is very comfortable with himself, in contrast with Caspian, who seems to have attempted to scour himself of anything but ambition. Not, of course, that Arden is going to let him continue to do that…
This is the first in a series, so it’s not a complete HEA, but it ends on a satisfactorily HFN note. Overall, while the basic storyline sounds pretty been-there-done-that, Arden’s POV is hilarious and insightful and makes this a very enjoyable read.