All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Black Tie Optional by Ann Marie Walker

on June 2, 2017

Black Tie Optional (Wild Wedding #1)
Ann Marie Walker
St Martin’s Press
2017, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Everything about Coleman Grant III oozes power and sex. And not the perfunctory kind either, but the sheet clawing, heart stopping, gasping for air after you’ve screamed so loud you can’t breathe kind. From his dark wavy hair that stands in an artfully rumpled mess, to the blue eyes that sear your skin, to his full, sensual lips – on the surface he’s pure perfection.

Too bad he’s an asshole. An arrogant, uptight corporate raider hell bent on destroying the environment one species at a time.

Everything about Olivia Ramsey screams hippie humanitarian. From her blond hair tied in a sloppy bun, to her faded jeans with the Bonnaroo patch sewn on the thigh, to her combat boots still splattered with mud from the previous day’s site visit.

So it makes perfect sense that they would get married. In Vegas. Stone-cold sober.

Cole needs a wife. Olivia needs to save an endangered species. But what starts as a marriage of convenience soon turns into a battle of wills and sexual tension. Love is a game, and Olivia and Cole are ready to win.

I’m a big fan of the arranged or forced married or marriage of convenience trope and so when I read the description for this, I definitely had to read it.

Cole and Olivia are total opposites – he’s the CEO of a family corporation who is driven to work in his ginormous car every day, lives in a glass and chrome castle in the sky and stops and picks up his take away coffee. Olivia is a conservationist, fundraising for various causes and every day she attempts to talk to Cole and convince him to move a site he’s going to develop in order for her to save some sort of endangered species of bat.

It’s a game they play every morning but when they run into each other in Las Vegas, the game changes slightly. Cole has just discovered that he’s been unsuccessful in his latest attempt to extricate himself from a clause in his father’s will that says he must marry or he loses his company and the incentive of saving her latest cause is enough for Olivia to agree to temporarily marry him. They might be total opposites but they discover that they get along just fine in bed. Maybe even better than fine.

This started off really promising – I loved the opening scene of Olivia waiting for Cole where he stops and gets coffee on his way to the office. We get both their points of view which is good as well – some people don’t really like being in the head of the male character, preferring the mystery but I’m the opposite. I like knowing what they’re thinking. Their banter was amusing, Cole was dismissive of Olivia and her causes, typical of a corporate jerk.

I’m not sure how believable it is that someone’s will could force someone to be married but I’ll let that go for the sake of the story as I think there was an attempt to give some reasoning behind it, even if the reasoning was a bit flawed. So I didn’t mind the set up but I think Olivia agreed to it remarkably quickly, without even really knowing a lot of the details and what being married to someone like Cole would involve.

And I think things like that ended up being a downside to this book – it was too light, it just glossed over a lot of things, rather than delve a bit deeper to better flesh out the story. It happened in many aspects of it but particularly in the interactions between Cole and Olivia and the way in which they realise that they’ve come to feel much more than dislike for each other. I’m not sure they have enough really meaningful interactions that show how this really occurred. The time spent in Olivia’s hometown tries to I think, but I wanted a bit more. I wanted more from Cole. If I’m honest, I didn’t really like him that much. Lines like “you talked less when my cock was in your mouth” don’t really endear a character to me.

I liked Olivia and I loved her family. But I was confused about the character of Cole’s grandmother, who seemed vindictive for little reason but yet stayed on the periphery – I wasn’t sure if she was supposed to be misguided or truly evil. She wasn’t enough of a presence in the story to be sure although some of her actions were quite underhanded, it was more in a laughable sort of way. Either way, once again, that wasn’t a discussion that Cole and Olivia had, about how to handle her, what she might do, how to present a united front. Olivia kind of had to figure it out on her own and she did really well and I can only assume the united front came later, after they both had confessed their feelings to each other.

This was okay, I found it an easy, pleasant read without really falling in love with it.


Book #97 of 2017

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