The plan was to spend the last couple of weeks of 2015 burning through my backlog of Christmas reads, which is how I stumbled upon Holiday with the Millionaire on my Kindle. Silly American me, I saw “holiday” and thought Christmas. When in reality what we have here is the UK “holiday,” meaning vacation. I’m blaming this on lack of sleep and caffeine. Anyway, while it was a detour from my original reading plans, this turned out to be an ideal Christmas-time read. Sweet, quick, with just enough angst lurking below the surface to keep the pages turning.
Lara Callaway has just had her very own “sliding doors” moment. She caught an earlier train, arrived home early, only to discover her rat-fink boyfriend in bed with their next door neighbor. Adding insult to injury, she has both of them booked on a fabulous Mediterranean cruise in a couple of weeks. He’s obviously no longer interested in going, and Lara is so stunned all she can think to do is hastily pack a suitcase and head to the one place that pops into her head – her employer’s house. She’s a nanny to the couple’s son and they’re getting ready to take their own holiday. No harm, no foul – the lady of the house tells Lara she can stay there until the cruise.
Unbeknownst to either of them, hubby said that his BFF, Reuben Tyler, a fabulously wealthy sports agent, could stay at the house while his roof is getting worked on. Before you can say big misunderstanding, Lara thinks Reuben is a burglar, cold-cocks him with an award statue and calls the cops. Things get sorted out fairly quickly after that. The house is large enough, they can both stay there for the time being – they are both adults after all. Then stuff happens and the two find themselves spending even more time together on Lara’s dream cruise.
This is a quick, light read. Reuben is a workaholic playboy who is not in the best graces with Lara’s employer (he’s BFFs with hubby – wifey is less enthralled with him for other reasons). He’s flashy, he has money, and he’s way out of Lara’s depth. She’s the kind of girl who budgets and saves every nickel she can to afford her fabulous holiday. He’s the kind of guy to throw money at problems to make them go away. It’s a good mix of opposites attracting.
What ends up happening in this story is that we go full-blown Rescue Fantasy. I am, admittedly, not the biggest fan of these in contemporary settings. What saves this story from going completely off the rails is that the couple actually seems self-aware. Reuben realizes he’s letting past childhood baggage color his adult life and he realizes he throws money at issues instead of dealing with them properly. Lara needs rescuing (her ex is so one-dimensionally vile you do wonder what she saw in him in the first place) – but she at least puts up a good fight and does question her attraction to Reuben because – let’s face it – her track record with men isn’t all that stellar.
There’s some emotional heft to the end, which I appreciated, and the author does some minor set-up for the second book in this duology about the couple that Reuben and Lara share in common (marriage in trouble book ahoy!). This didn’t change my life, but it was a quick relaxing read and a nice reminder that not all rescue fantasies are vomit-inducing for me. I just need to read the right ones.
Lara Callaway has been cheated on for the last time. She’s enjoying a peaceful stay at her employer’s London town house before embarking on the holiday of a lifetime—alone! Until the unexpected arrival of Reuben Tyler throws her senses into overdrive…
The rebellious millionaire becomes her unlikely travel companion, and somewhere between romantic Venice and glamorous Monte Carlo, he is beginning to make Lara feel beautiful again. But can Lara return the favor and show cynical playboy Reuben that he, too, is worthy of love?