At the Billionaire's Bidding

The Billionaire is Back

Prince Charming's Return

The Billionaire Borrows a Bride
by Myrna Mackenzie
(Silh. Rom. #1634, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-19634-2
The Billionaire Borrows a Bride is sort of the romance equivalent of tuna casserole. It will keep you from starving, but many of us ate too much of it as kids, and so who’d order it if there was anything else on the menu? This dull rehash of a storyline that requires a gargantuan suspension of belief will likely impress only the very newest readers to the genre.

The latest addition to the “Wedding Auction” series finds yet another billionaire bidding on a date at the Suburban Chicago Job Auction for Charity. (There must be billionaires on every third street corner in Chicago. Who knew?) This billionaire, with the upper-crust name of Spencer Fairchild, recognizes the woman he’s bidding on. She’s Kate Ryerson, and when she was six, she used to come with her mother to the Fairchild mansion. Her mother was a domestic and Spencer sometimes played with Kate.

Kate is unlike Spencer’s usual women, who are “tall, willowy, chesty blondes with sultry blue eyes and pouty lips....She certainly didn’t look like the women he took to his bed.” And fifteen thousand dollars later, Kate is “sold” to Spencer. He needs her to pretend to be his fiancée at his grandmother’s birthday party, because Grandmother Loretta has been fussing herself into ill health over Spencer’s unmarried state. He can’t take the women he’s usually attracted to (tall, willowy, chesty, etc.) because he doesn’t want any of them to get their hopes up that he wants something more than a short-term affair.

Gee, what a prince. Kate hesitates, mainly because she has in her possession that other guaranteed romance marketing tool - a baby. Oh, it’s not her child - it’s her late sister’s. Spencer thinks this is great. Loretta loves babies, and since he never intends to marry for love because of the Fairchild Curse, which dictates unhappy marriages and unrequited love, this should be the perfect charade.

If this sort of nonsense hasn’t set your teeth on edge yet, by all means pick up a copy of The Billionaire Borrows a Bride. But I warn you, I’ve only made it to page 24. The rest of the book offers absolutely nothing new or intriguing. Loretta loves Kate and the baby; Kate and Spencer fall in love; she thinks she’s not good enough for him; the baby wanders around acting cute. Spencer’s younger brother and an old flame liven things up a bit, but their secondary romance isn’t enough to save this story.

Spencer’s character is particularly troubling. His attitude toward women in the first chapter is borderline repugnant, yet for the rest of the book, he’s portrayed as Prince Charming. And the whole Fairchild Curse thing is just plain silly. “My family is cursed -well, sometimes - so I’ll never love anyone”? Huh?

Kate is basically a doormat. Her character leaves little impression at all, and offers little reason why Spencer would fall for her. The most interesting character in the story is Spencer’s younger brother, Connor, who starts out as a bit reptilian and makes a genuine transformation.

Predictable to the core, The Billionaire Borrows a Bride appears more and more like that tuna casserole. The “rich man bidding on a woman” plot wasn’t much good the first time around, and being warmed over for the seven hundredth time doesn’t make it any more appealing. Give this one a pass.

--Cathy Sova

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