From the BLURB:
Take-no-prisoners deal-maker Sean O'Banyon ate Wall Street financiers for lunch. So why was he losing sleep over a fresh-scrubbed nurse in old jeans and a too-big T-shirt? Maybe it was those warm green eyes. Or the way she blushed when he got personal. There was no denying the serious chemistry between them. But sooner or later Lizzie would learn his deep, dark secrets: First, he had trust issues. And second--he'd rather not go into the whole family thing.
He didn't do relationships…but amazingly, Lizzie made him want one anyway.
JR Ward (aka ‘Jessica Bird’) wrote ‘The billionaire next door’ in 2007, the same year that ‘Lover Revealed’ (Butch’s story) and ‘Lover Unbound’ (Vishous’s book) came out.
‘Billionaire next door’ definitely has all the romantic characteristics we’ve come to expect from JR Ward. Strong Alpha male with a fractured background. Angelic heroine who pulls the hero out of his drudgery. And of course, hot sex scenes. I wasn’t actually expecting such explicit sex because the book was published by Harlequin Silhouette, and for some reason I have this idea that Harlequin romance books are a little tame when it comes to the nitty gritty. The sex scenes aren’t as hot and heavy as they are in the ‘Blackdagger’ books (not so many dirty detailed descriptions – damn!) but they are sizzling and definitely add spark to Sean and Lizzie’s romance.
‘Billionaire next door’ reminded me quite strongly of Rehvenge’s book ‘Lover Avenged’. Rehvenge and Sean are both rich, successful Alpha males who had abusive childhoods. Elena and Lizzie are both nurses, currently experiencing tough financial times by being their single-parents soul providers – Elena’s father had a form of Alzheimer’s, while Lizzie’s mother has some sort of mental disability. For a good portion of the book Sean keeps secret his true career and financial success from Lizzie, for a plethora of reasons – just as Rehvenge kept quiet about his being a nightclub owner (among other shady dealings). And if all those parallels aren’t enough, check out this romantic exchange between Sean and Lizzie that reminded me so strongly of Rehvenge’s sweet “to me, you will always have diamonds on the soles of your shoes” line:
“Did I tell you how beautiful you look tonight?” he said into her hair.
She chuckled a little. “This jeans and T-shirt combo isn’t exactly Miss America-worthy.”
He held on even harder. “The hell they aren’t. To me, whatever you have on is a ball gown.”
She stiffened, but then eased back into him. “You scare me when you say things like that.”
“I’m afraid I’ll start believing them.”
He pulled back and looked her in the eye. “Believe them, Lizzie. Trust me and believe them.”
There is a small nod to the ‘Blackdagger Brotherhood’ during one of Sean’s childhood flashbacks. He mentions that growing up his father wasn’t much of a cook, and so Sean and his brothers relied on the kindness of his best friends mother. The best friend in question was one Butch O’Neal. Has to be the same cop turned vampire, right? Butch is a Southie boy who had a big family – and Sean mentions that Butch was one of five kids. Reading that small Blackdagger reference had me doing a little fan-girl squeal.
I really, really liked this book. It has all the best aspects of the Blackdagger Brotherhood, minus intense plot, heavy action and heroes vs. villains. It’s just romance – boy meets girl and everything that ensues.
Perhaps the only negative thing about the book is the fact that it beautifully sets up a series (subsequent books intended to tell the story of Sean’s older brother, Mick and younger brother, Billy) that by all accounts JR Ward has no real intention of continuing. It’s a real shame because there is plenty of potential here – but rumour on the chat boards is that since the ‘Blackdagger’ books blew up, Ward put the ‘O’Banyon Brothers’ on the backburner indefinitely.
But ‘Jessica Bird’ did write an earlier series for Harlequin, the ‘Moorehouse Legacy’ series has 4 books, and I intend to read all of them because I was so impressed with ‘The Billionaire next door’.