Tag Archives: Naima Simone

The Millionaire Makeover (Bachelor Auction #2) by Naima Simone

4 gems

The Millionaire Makeover

When you think of a fairy tale retelling, you imagine a fantasy with probably monsters and fairies and all sorts of paranormal shenanigans. Well, at least I did. That was before I read Naima Simone’s Bachelor Auction series. Thanks to her I know that fairy tale re-tellings can worm their way into contemporary romances too. By the wayThe Millionaire Makeover, if you haven’t guessed yet, is a rendition of The Ugly Duckling.

Plain-Jane Khloe Richardson, a.k.a the ugly duckling (at least she seems to think so, I don’t know why!) is in love with her boss. Except she doesn’t know how to approach him, and he definitely doesn’t see her. So what’s a girl to do? Make him jealous of course. Now how do you go about doing that, you ask? Easy peasy, you bid on a bachelor at the Bachelor Auction. Now if that bachelor turns out to be your brother’s best friend, who slept with you and then took off? You stay far away from him. And then after a few days of him wearing you down, ask him for a makeover. Well Khloe never wanted to do all that. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. And when you have a best friend like Morgan pushing you into the arms of the love of your life, there’s not much one can do.

I love the brother’s best friend trope. The genre and I are the bestest of friends. And this book is exactly that. To make things interesting, Naima Simone decides to off the brother. Now hold your horses, before you start thinking, “with the brother gone things are going to be so easy” Because they are not going to be easy at all. The brother, Michael has to give a hard time to the man who is trying to shag his sister, even if it from the grave, a la P.S. I Love You style, with a letter. Or rather a couple of them. Read on for the rest.. the story isn’t disappointing. When you’ve a brooding, alpha male with an Irish accent, things can never be boring.

For Niall Hunter, Michael Richardson is his brother, his best friend and his family. His death completely shatters Niall. Dealing with the loss of the only person who accepted him warts and all is not going to be easy. Michael’s sister Khloe has a hard time dealing with the loss of her brother. So, she goes to the only person who really knows what she is going through, her brother’s best friend Niall. Neither of them expected to end up in bed together. And Khloe definitely wasn’t prepared for Niall to disappear from her life after an amazing night together.

Fast forward three years, Khloe has moved on, or so she thinks until Niall appears in front of her. It’s like seeing a ghost from the past. For the past three years there has been no communication between Khloe and Niall, and not for her lack of trying. Niall has stayed away from Khloe for three years. She used to be one of her closest friend. But after “deflowering” her, he receives a letter from Michael. Which explicitly states that Khloe deserves a better man than him. So Niall does what any man who loves his best friend and has some decency and honor do. He leaves her in bed. Naked. Then doesn’t talk to her for three years.

Now that Niall is back in town, he wants to be Khloe’s friend. Just like old times. What Niall doesn’t know yet,  is that the penance for sleeping with your best-friend’s little sister is…. transforming her into a beautiful swan from an ugly duckling. All this would be cool, if only, and only if, he could stop imagining her naked and stop touching her, and stop trying to be her everything.

I loved reading this book. Because even though the trope is clichéd, Naima Simone brings her own flavor into the novel. Her characters are quite real and very well fleshed out. Be it the guilt-ridden and heart-broken Niall or the sweet and shy Khole. You could even understand Khole’s parents and their reactions, even if you don’t agree with them. And I don’t agree with them. I wanted to slap them around for a bit, and then I realized it’ll take more than a few love-taps to make them open their eyes and see what’s in front of them.

For those of you, who are not familiar with Naima’s work, this book is as good as any to start with. I guarantee, you will not be disappointed. The Millionaire Makeover is full  of good humor and great  characters. The story itself won’t let you leave disappointed either.

Other books in this series:

Beauty and the Bachelor

This review was first published in The Ever Romantic Arts


Beauty and the Bachelor (Bachelor Auction #1) by Naima Simone

3.5 gems

the beauty and the bachelor

Lucas Oliver is all set to avenge his father. And he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. Even if it involves blackmailing the innocent daughter of his sworn enemy into marrying him. All her life Sydney Blake was controlled by her family. She was nothing more than a disappointment to her fickle, indifferent mother and her driven, controlling and absent father. She was a mere pawn in her father’s games. The only good thing she did to please her parents was agreeing to marry the son of her father’s business associate. And even that appreciation is short-lived, when she decides to give in to Lucas’s blackmail and marry him to save her father.

At first when I saw that the people around Sydney, including her family was treating her like garbage, I was enraged. Not just at her family, but also Sydney herself. What person just stands and looks around while they are being beaten to an inch of their lives. But as I kept reading, I realized, Sydney is far stronger than she looks. She has the kind of inner strength that inspires. The kind of strength one can’t guess just by looking at her. Her actions are mainly driven by the guilt of an old tragedy, a tragedy even her father blamed her for. But the growth you see in Sydney with each passing page is commendable.

Lucas Oliver. I have mixed feelings about the guy. When I first finished this book, I was leaning towards the ‘I-hate-him’ tip of the scale. But now that I have had some time to think and process the book, I am more in the middle. The best thing I loved about Lucas was that he is the reason Sydney found herself. He encouraged her, made her feel special, made her more confident. I think without Lucas, Sydney wouldn’t have grown as much as she did in this book. He made her more independent and strong enough to stand up for herself.

Now as much as I loved Lucas for all the good he did to Sydney, I hated all the bad he did to her too. He was always clear about his agenda. Revenge. No matter what the cost. And that’s what he does till almost the end of the book. More times than not, Sydney had to pay for her father’s sins in some way or the other. He may not have physically hurt her, but he hurt her plenty emotionally. At every stage of their relationship he kept secrets, his actions would say something and his words something else. Like Sydney, I too was frustrated with his back and forth. And when he accuses her of doing something she wouldn’t dream of, all bets are off.

Lucas does come to his senses and realizes what an ass he was for treating Sydney the way he did. And he does promise to keep her happy and love her for the rest of his life. But I would have loved to see some more grovelling on his part.

What was irrefutable was Lucas and Sydney’s chemistry. Oh boy did they have chemistry. Oozing hot was what they were. Since the moment their eyes met across the stage, they were sizzling. The sex was hot and even when they were angry with each bother they were burning up the pages. Their attraction to each other through all the ups and downs was so palpable, it was undeniable. Their kind of passion is one of the reasons that I think their relationship made it.

The only secondary character I liked was Aiden, Lucas’s best friend. He was a fun guy who could clearly see that what Lucas was doing was not right. He tried to talk him out of it too. And when Lucas inevitably messes up his relationship with Sydney, it’s Aiden who gives him the much-needed kick in the ass. Tyler, Sydney’s ex-fiance too was a guy that I really liked. As we find out in the book, he has his own mess to clean up and I can’t wait to read more about him. I hope Naima Simone decides to write his story, because that’s one that I definitely want to read.

The people I hated most in this book were Sydney’s parents. There are no two parents worse than Jason and Charlene Blake. The way they chipped at their daughter was just despicable. They reminded me of vultures picking at a carrion. I am really surprised though that Sydney turned out the way she did with the kind of parents she had. But I guess, when you have the worst kind of parents, you are determined to be the best kind of person. And Sydney was definitely the best kind of person. Though Jason too realizes his mistakes and apologizes to Sydney, for e it was too little, too late. Twenty years of indifference and hurtful attitude can’t be overcome by one apology. But Jason was still better than Charlene, because that woman never even bothers to apologize to her daughter for all the agony she has caused.

Overall it was a really good book with an emotional roller coaster ride and an amazing lead heroine. Sydney is the kind of woman one would like to emulate. Her innate goodness, her strength, her kindness and courage are the best part of her. I have a total girl-crush on her, because let’s be honest, she may not wield a sword, but she is totally bad-ass.

This review was first published in The Ever Romantic Arts