Yes, I do this part-time reviewing gig here at The Good, the Bad and the Unread because I do like Sybil, Sandy, and the rest of the duckies. But let us be honest – I mostly do it because Sybil found my soft underbelly and exploits my Harlequin addiction for her own nefarious purposes. It also allows me to wander around the various Harlequin universe and maybe try lines that aren’t normally on my radar. I discovered Nicola Marsh through her work with Harlequin Romance, so it stands to reason that if I liked her there, I may also like her in Presents. Yep, I do.
Ruby Seaborn is the artistic genius in the family, the jewelry designer who holes up in her workshop designing magnificent pieces for her family’s company. She’s not a bubble-head, but somehow she’s gotten that reputation. “Don’t worry your pretty little head over it, Ruby. Oh look, here are some lovely pink diamonds, go make a necklace or something.” Dad is gone, Mum is gone, and her older sister Sapphire is running the company, plus continuing her duties as the spokeswoman. That is until she collapses under the pressure and is told by doctors she must take a break. Which means Ruby is now running the show and she finds out exactly how much strain dear ol’ sis was under. Seaborn’s is near bankruptcy.
The reason for this is, in part, because of Jax Maroney. His mine is severely undercutting Seaborn’s. Jax is trying to work his way back into Melbourne society circles, which is proving difficult since his dear old Dad is currently in prison for swindling a good number of these bluebloods. He’s also trying to gain an audience with Sapphire Seaborn to propose a merger, but instead goes toe-to-toe with Ruby, an exhilarating experience that has him spinning all sorts of naughty fantasies.
Naturally it doesn’t take long for Ruby to propose an outrageous merger. Seaborn’s needs an influx of cash and Jax needs Ruby’s connections to take his mine to the next level. She proposes a celibate marriage of convenience, and he’s OK with the marriage part, not so much the celibate bit. Guess who wins that argument?
Ruby is the selling point for me with this story. She’s a spitfire and comes after Jax with both barrels blazing, once she realizes exactly who he is and what he wants. She’s got something to prove – to herself, her sister, and her dead mum. Marrying a sexy bad boy with a load of baggage might not be the wisest move, but she’s convinced it’s the only way to save Seaborn’s – which she is determined to do.
Jax also has something to prove, which is that he’s nothing like his parents. Dad was a con man who struck gold with Jax’s mum. For her part, she introduced him to her society friends and turns the other way (and possibly aided him!) when he started swindling those friends. Jax idolized his parents, adored them, and now he’s on his own picking up the pieces from all those lies. He does need what Ruby offers, but the poor guy has no clue what hits him from the moment he lays eyes on her. Smitten he is, truly and totally smitten.
This is a good, solid romance between two characters with more in common than they originally think. There’s passion and fire, with Jax playing the role of classic wounded hero to Ruby’s vivacious smart-mouth. While there is a slight misunderstanding toward the end to spur forth the final declarations of true love, this is a solid read that delivers exactly what I wanted out of a Presents – glitzy backdrop, feisty heroine, and an Alpha hero who has no idea what hit him.
Summary:How far would you go to save your family business?
Jewellery designer and heiress Ruby Seaborn will do anything to save her family’s company from financial ruin. And she means anything. Including proposing a strictly business marriage to diamond mine magnate Jax Maroney – the only man able to restore the Seaborn jewellery empire to its former glory!
She needs his money; he needs her socialite credentials-it’s a win-win solution. And if they indulge in certain…fringe benefits of their marriage along the way, that’s fine. Because luckily Ruby’s heart is as unbreakable as the precious gems she works with…isn’t it?