I really just started reading Harlequin Desire with any sort of regularity this year because these rebranded covers have me utterly captivated and delighted. Now I’m over here avidly following certain series (Seven Sins) and authors (Naima Simone always and Jayci Lee) and so excited Harlequin keeps giving me the opportunity to review these books for you! All three of these books should have released as ebooks today and you can pick up paperbacks either already or very soon. I received advanced copies of each, Trust Fund Fiancé by Naima Simone, Secret Crush Seduction by Jayci Lee, and Reckless Envy by Joss Wood from Harlequin via Netgalley. Now, let’s jump into talking about them!
Trust Fund Fiancé by Naima Simone
Naima Simone delivered everything I want in a marriage of convenience romance, which is really no surprise! My only complaint is that the end was very rushed and I wanted like two more pages or an epilogue to assure me that Zeke and Reagan are going to be just fine.
Zeke has kind of put his life into stasis since his fiancé died in a car accident a few years ago and now his company is dealing with a lot of scandals. (The company scandals piece isn’t resolved in this book.) When he encounters his friend Reagan at the cemetery, Reagan confides that she feels trapped because she can’t get access to her trust fund until she turns 30 or until she marries a “suitable” man. Zeke brilliantly determines that a proposal is a great way to solve Reagan’s problems.
I really love how skillfully Naima Simone created Zeke and Reagan as characters. Despite their very wealthy backgrounds, they feel like real people. I loved the way the marriage of convenience went, kind of back and forth. And I thought the family dramatics piece was well done. Honestly, other than my struggles with the too abrupt ending, I think this is probably my favorite category from Simone (who is my favorite category author!). I would definitely recommend picking up a copy if marriage of convenience is a trope you enjoy!
Secret Crush Seduction by Jayci Lee
Adelaide Song wants to be taken seriously and given the role in the Hansol Company she thinks she deserves (and like, I mean, I think she does). She determines that the best way to show her grandmother that she’s grown up and matured from her wild party woman days is to host a charity fashion show for clothing designed for people on the autism spectrum in mind. (Which is a fantastic idea. Sensory processing disorders and the way we normally make clothes so often don’t really work well together.) Anyway, Michael is her brother’s best friend and also the PR person for the Hansol Company. So, he’s fighting his attraction to Adelaide, who has been into him for forever, and there’s a lot of tension between them.
I do think this book is stronger than Temporary Wife Temptation and I enjoyed the reading of this book. every time Adelaide talks about the importance of clothing being made more inclusively, I was so excited. I really like Adelaide. Like, she’s an absolutely magnificent character. But, tbh, this side character who is a director appeared in the book for like one scene and I was like, “Ooh, a romance with him would be so fun!” So, as a romance, I can’t say I loved this book. The book cetainly used the “betrayal” of the friendship angst and the over protective big brother (delivered by a cousin this time) speech common with this trope. But the biggest issue I had was that Michael thinks that he’s broken and damaged because he’s infertile and he has a LOT of hang ups over this. He sort of works through that??? And, I know a lot of people may struggle with feeling this way, but I just didn’t necessarily feel like it was handled well, in that, there’s not really a full, like, resolution of Michael feeling this way outside of the wrap up of the HEA. So. If you’re at all sensitive to issues of infertility, I think treading lightly here is fair and maybe looking to see other reviews in case I’m way off base.
Anyway, because I loved Adelaide and learning more about Colin, I absolutely plan to pick up the third book in the series!
Reckless Envy by Joss Wood
This was such an interesting book that took me by surprise the way I wound up enjoying it. I picked this up because it’s in the Seven Sins series, which I’ve been really enjoying, and I read the premise and was kind of like, “wait, what?” I was not sure it was going to work for me at all, but you know, it did!
Essentially, this book is about Emily Arnott being blackmailed into marrying this bad guy. She’s had a crush on Matt Valez for quite some time and he’s finally done resisting her. Why? I’m not 100% sure that his reasoning exists, but he is done, only now she’s engaged. So Matt’s trying to figure out why she is with this guy, who is terrible, and he has this vague idea something is definitely wrong because it doesn’t make any sense for Emily to be with him. There is cheating, if you consider a blackmailed into it arrangement to be something where you can cheat on someone.
While I never fully felt like I understood Matt’s motivations for pursuing Emily, I did really like Emily herself. Honestly this book felt a little bit like an over the top episode of like, The O.C., and I was here for it. There were definitely things that irked me, like this obnoxious emphasis of everyone thinking Emily is like an angel. But I liked that Matt wound up calling her an imp. All in all, I enjoyed this one and will definitely pick up other books from Joss Wood in the future!
And there you have it! I really liked these three Harlequin Desires and I hope that if you try them, you will enjoy them too. Let me know if you plan to pick them up! Since Secret Crush Seduction talked so much about sensory processing disorders and autism, I wanted to highlight this article I found talking a little more about what to do when you or someone you care about is experiencing a sensitivity to clothing. Also, if you like seeing this autism representation in your books, maybe check out The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang or A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert.