Published by St. Martin’s Press on May 30th 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Coleman Grant III and Olivia Ramsey are on two opposite sides in society—the 1% vs. the rest of the world. The rich asshole and the hippie tree-hugger.
You would think they don’t get along, and you’re right. They don’t. With Olivia pestering Cole every morning to save the endangered northern long-eared bat and Cole ignoring her, love and affection are obviously the least likely result.
They don’t expect to see each other in Las Vegas, but when they do, the attraction they’ve always felt for each other is awakened by booze, booze, and more booze. By morning, they’re naked in bed, sated and hungover. They plan to keep it in Vegas, but when Cole faces a roadblock (a.k.a. his grandmother), he offers Olivia a proposition that will benefit them both. Cole will fulfill the marriage clause in his father’s will right on time for his 30th birthday, and Olivia will save the endangered northern long-eared bat.
Apparently, tying the knot in front of an Elvis Presley look-a-like isn’t enough. They have to convince Cole’s grandmother that their marriage is real or they could be in big trouble.
This was such a delight to read. Cole and Olivia are a hoot, and it was great to see that despite their physical attraction for each other, there’s not much love between them at first. In most of the fake relationship and hate to love books I’ve read, either one of the characters is already harboring feelings before the ruse. So to have a somewhat genuine dislike is so fun to read.
I loved Olivia! She’s such a fun, free-spirited woman who fights the good fight. There was a thing she did that made me cringe (airplane moment omg), but overall she’s a great girl. Smart, confident, and a go-getter.
Same goes for Cole. He’s such an alpha, powerful and in control, and he fights for what he wants, inside and outside the bed. A handsome force to be reckoned with. Makes your heart and panties melt.
I would have given a higher rating if the story focused more on their budding relationship and the initial conflict/antagonist, Cole’s grandmother. Somewhere along the way, there were more conflicts added that I believe the story could have gone without.
Other than that, I still enjoyed the story.
Black Tie Optional is a standalone novel told in alternating POVs. It’s a hot, fun, and fast-paced story with a modern marriage of convenience, opposites attract, hate to love romance.
Olivia’s eyes darted up to meet his. Surely, she’d known this was coming? It was how every damn wedding ended. And what was the big deal anyway? It was just a kiss, something they’d done countless times the night before. Then why were his palms sweating? And why did it suddenly feel like Tiny Angus was duck walking across his gut? Cole knew the answer, even though he tried his best to push the thought from his mind. This wasn’t just any kiss. It was the kiss to seal their union.
He leaned forward ever so slightly and touched his lips to hers. He only meant for it to be a quick peck, just enough to satisfy the witness’s watchful eyes. But her mouth was so soft, softer than he remembered from the night before, and she tasted so sweet, like vanilla and cherries, and before he even realized it, he was cupping her jaw and deepening their kiss. Her lips parted, inviting him in, and he took full advantage, his tongue sweeping over hers in firm, lush strokes. With a soft moan, her body went lax against his and for a few brief moments, Cole forgot not only where they were, but why.
Elvis cleared his throat in a not-so-subtle reminder. Cole pulled back, and the King nodded his approval. With a curl of his lip, he tossed a white scarf in Olivia’s direction and mumbled a familiar “Thank you, thank you very much.” A track of “Viva Las Vegas” began to play from the speakers and with his cape held aloft to properly display the red, white, and blue eagle bedazzled on the back, their minister made a dramatic exit.
“I guess Elvis has left the building?” Olivia joked.
After a few awkward moments, she asked. “So what now?”
Cole checked his watch. “We better get back to the hotel.” The combined bachelor and bachelorette party for Matthew and Emily was later that night. And even though a loud party was the last thing Cole was in the mood for at the moment, it was, after all, the reason they were in Vegas.
“Oh right, we have that thing tonight.”
“Yeah, the thing.” Jesus, they sounded like a couple of middle school kids having an awkward conversation behind the school cafeteria. Maybe they could spend their honeymoon locked in a closet for a round of Seven Minutes in Heaven.
“Supposed to be the hottest club in town,” Olivia added as they made their way through the chapel doors and into the parking lot.
Cole squinted at the setting sun. “That’s what I heard.”
“So I guess I’ll probably see you there.”
He kicked a piece of gravel with his shoe. “Probably.” Yup, it was exactly like middle school. Only there wouldn’t be Seven Minutes in Heaven or anywhere else for that matter. His new bride had made it very clear that, despite the mind-shattering orgasms he’d given her the night before, she had no desire to consummate their marriage. Then again, she did seem rather invested in that kiss and as much as it pained him to admit it, so was he. Despite her smart mouth and stubborn attitude, the fact remained that he wanted her. In his bed, on her knees, bent over his sofa. Fucking hell right now he’d even settle for the backseat of his rental car. Perhaps she was feeling the same way. And it was their wedding night after all . . .
Cole looked up, hoping to gauge her interest, but it was too late. She was already gone.
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