As much as I lament about the over use of the millionaire/billionaire trope, it is no secret amongst my friends, that the trope is also like catnip to me. So, when I saw the Naima Simone’s new book, The Millionaire Makeover was available for review, I jumped on it.
After surviving a near death experience, Khloe is eager to grab life by the horns and finally act on the crush she’s had on her boss. To snare her boss’ attention, she attends a bachelor auction in the hopes of buying herself a date to the company holiday bash. The idea was to get a super hot date to make her boss jealous and finally take notice. However, her bachelor ends up being her brother’s, Michael, best friend and the same man she shared a hot one-night stand with three years ago. Their one night together was just after Michael passed away and they were both immersed in grief.
Niall has never forgotten his one night with Khloe. He’s also determined for it to never happen again. But when he realizes that Khloe doesn’t need help finding a man, but finding confidence in herself, he decides to help her.
I will say that I had some issues getting passed this premise. Primarily, the idea of using one man to make another jealous. Secondarily, I’d hoped that Khloe’s reasoning behind attending the auction was more…just more than it was. Her plan was one of subterfuge instead of…actually grabbing life by the horns. I would have preferred if she was at the auction to bid on her boss and ended up with Niall in error. But c’est la vie.
There is nothing negative I can even fathom to say about the chemistry between these two characters. Khloe and Niall sizzle on every single page.
“Ask me,” he demanded softly.
She swallowed, and he followed the motion before lifting his gaze back to hers. “Ask me, Khloe.”
“Why didn’t—” She faltered, paused, then continued. “Why didn’t you enjoy yourself?”
“Because another man’s hands were on you. Because another man sat at your side like you were his. Because I wanted to beat the shit out of him for daring to touch you, but I didn’t have the right.”
“Niall,” she repeated his name, a subtle plea. To stop or to continue? Maybe even she didn’t know.
“Just for tonight. Tell me I have the right.”
Ms. Simone used every word, every sentence, every scene to her advantage in this book. Every word. She also managed to accomplish something that is very difficult to do in romance, she gave depth to the chemistry between the two characters. Their attraction isn’t just physical. Ms. Simone gives their relationship so many layers.
The layers come from their shared childhood, shared grief, and understanding of each others fears. Without out these layers woven so beautifully throughout the book, the story would have fallen flat.
Niall’s internal conflict stems from a guilty conscious, both from sleeping with his best friend’s sister and believing that he isn’t good enough for Khloe. He also suffers from an immense sense of guilt regarding how Michael died. From the first moment his character is introduced his pain is visceral and so well portrayed.
Again, memory dawned, and grief welled up inside him, a fresh, hot geyser that overwhelmed him, plowing him down until his ass hit the floor, his back thumping against the wall.
Right. The box—or rather what occupied it—had been his most recent reason for getting ossified. He’d finally cleaned out Michael’s office and had brought his best friend’s personal items home. Niall had also cleared his own office of everything that reminded him of the man who’d been like a brother to him. It seemed blasphemous, almost sad, that the essence of the kindest, strongest, most honorable man Niall had ever known could fit into a drab cardboard container.
Fingers trembling, Niall reached for a flap.
Khloe’s internal conflict stems from lack of confidence and low personal self-esteem. We learn at one point that her parents have become clinging and even more controlling since her brother’s death, and this behavior seems to have made her lack of confidence even more pronounced.
Khloe spends much of the book undergoing a transformation both physically and emotionally. There were times when I found her internal thoughts to be a little childish, but I reminded myself that I was pretty ridiculous when I was in my early twenties as well.
Externally Khloe and Niall are dealing with their feelings for each other and whether to act on the attraction clearly evident between them.
The ending for this book, is probably my favorite contemporary HEA so far this year. Seeing that I’ve already read thirty books since Christmas, I think that is saying something. Khloe finally finds her big girl ovaries and realizes that she has ownership over her happiness and how she chooses to present herself to the world. She also learns how to demand respect from Niall, which had me cheering.
And Niall…my Irish hottie…he learns to release his own set of fears and guilt and go after the woman he loves.
As much as I loved this book I will give fair warning to contemporary readers who do not like books that rely on the magical power of the penis. Admiteddly, Niall’s penis seems quite talented. However, as much as Ms. Simone manages to provide great heat and chemistry between the two characters, there are moments when you wonder whether Khloe is a grown woman or a child.
She is portrayed as dressing like a sack, not knowing how attractive she is, and lamenting her horrible track record with men. But of course, the power of Niall’s love and attention changes all of that. Ms. Simone does make a good effort at proving Khloe with an internal journey of sorts that is removed from Niall’s machinations. However, I wish that Khloe’s growth and main epiphanies were not reliant on Niall’s insistence and guidance.
With all of that being said I give this book a solid 4 stars. Niall and Khloe had explosive chemistry, the dialogue, character development and emotional descriptions were incredibly well done. I was entertained from beginning to end and that is not an easy feat.