The Tycoon’s Secret Affair
by Maya Banks
(Silh. Desire #1960, $4.75, PG) ISBN 978-0373-76960-5
This story has the traditional ingredients: a one night stand with a stranger resulting in a pregnancy; a reason to dislike and mistrust each other from the outset; a reason why they connect again and feel they have to get married and finally, a hate-turned-to-love relationship with a healthy dose of lust thrown in. You have read this before. But in The Tycoon’s Secret Affair, the pieces are well crafted and the hero and heroine complement each other. 

Jewel Henley is excited to start a new job. She eagerly travels to an island paradise to be an assistant to a tycoon, even if the assignment is temporary. Jewel is an expert at temporary, having grown up in foster care and never really settling anywhere. Her best friend also travels and often lets her share his place when she is in between. Her first night on the island results in a one-night stand – a hot and lusty connection with a man who is gorgeous. They both play the game well and she takes off without even sharing information. But both are surprised when the next day, her new boss is none other than that handsome stranger. 

Piers Anetakis is a millionaire and is seriously intrigued by the lovely woman. He has never encountered such raw sexual appeal. But he has already been burned once and is not about to be burned again. Two years ago, a woman trapped him into marriage with a pregnancy. She actually stayed with him until he grew to love his son Eric and then when he was two, she left and took a ton of his money with her. Her boyfriend got to share in the wealth for their well-planned scheme. Piers was devastated by the loss of a child that turned out was not his. He swore no woman would ever do that to him again.

Piers, in his anger at Jewel, tells his human resources manager to “get rid of her” – trying to say relocate her, transfer, or pay her off. The eager-to-please manager, however, dumps her flat, leaving her with no place to go. When Jewel discovers she is pregnant and then the doctor confines her to bed rest, she turns to the man she thought would care…Piers. He is thrilled to hear from her on the one hand. He felt bad that she had been dumped without a job. But he is anything but pleased to relive the pregnancy scenario. Despite that anger, he demands she marry him with an ironclad pre-nup and a paternity test now rather than later. Jewel has no options and thus begins their marriage.

For fans of the Anetakis family, both brothers and sister-in laws play a large part in this story.  Piers must face his old demons. Jewel has a few demons of her own, too. Together they try to figure it out, despite a few bumps along the way. Jewel is no pushover and lets Piers know she is not like his previous mistake. Piers comes close a couple of times of being too stubborn for his own good, but luckily pulls it together before the reader gets frustrated with him.

There is a lot in this story, including the depth of the characters. Both have reasons for the way they think, yet, they are mature adults willing to listen and accept that some things cannot be changed. I kept waiting for the inevitable disappointment in this story and it never came. Banks does a great job of keeping to the core of the characters and making The Tycoon’s Secret Affair work well. 

--Shirley Lyons

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