Black Tie Billionaire by Naima Simone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is my first read from Naima Simone. And while this one is good; I know her outside-Harlequin-pubbed work has to be even better.
The Premise:The 2nd book in her Blackout Billionaire series, Billionaire Gideon Knight is immediately drawn to waitstaff server Camille at society event when the lights go out. When they’re trapped in an employee lounge, the blackout provides the perfect cover for them to be themselves and explore their attraction. But when the lights come back on and real life goes on, Camille physically disappears and so does the introspective Gideon persona Camille got to know. On top of that, Gideon is at war with his former school friend, and has plotted to use his nemesis’ sister Shay in a diabolical revenge scheme.
The story/The sex/ The characters One caveat here: you’ve got to suspend belief in two areas a little to really enjoy the book. One: it takes longer than it should for Gideon to recognize that Camille and Shay are the same person (and no, that was not really a spoiler unless you don’t plan to read past chapter 2). And two: for them to be in the close circles of the billionaire-elite, they know very little about each other. And by “they”, I mean all the main characters of the novel. I expected Gideon would know more about Shay and Shay would know more about Gideon’s family than they do. Shay’s brother seems to be in his own plotting-evil bubble and wanting to keep Shay away from the family business that I can see how they wouldn’t really know about each other’s hangups/agendas. But it’s amazing how these folks functioned so naively.
Gideon is another Billionaire-alpha-jerk hero, and if you’ve been following, I don’t love those, but I keep getting books with them in it somehow. Someone give me a Randall Pearson a la This is Us as a hero, please. I need a break! HOWEVER, I love the scene with Gideon @ the food truck, because it shows a softer side of him, a side that has known what it’s really like to work. This makes him more likeable to me as a billionaire alpha.
Shay on the other hand, has always been privileged. I imagine her as an adult Ashley from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. She’s got her head on straight, but yes, she is an anomaly as a Black woman of privilege. I love how this isn’t even the traditional interracial romance (as these are both POCs), let alone a traditional romance with a white couple. That alone kept me reading.
The sex—It was open-door and fairly erotic. I discovered Naima Simone after attending a workshop she did about writing love scenes. She knows what she’s doing. But also like Theodora Taylor, I feel she probably had to tone it down for Harlequin. I want to read more of hers to see, though. As a writer, I love the pacing of the love scenes here. As much as I love a good open-door sex scene, too much and it gets tedious, not enough and I get bored. Hmm. Just as in life I guess! 😊
Overall, this was an entertaining read, and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of her self-pubbed, or non- HQ reads. I suspect they will be juicy gems!
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