ARC—Not Another Billionaire by R. L. Kenderson

My Rating: Two Stars (D)

Title: Not Another Billionaire

Author: R. L. Kenderson

Format: eBook (Hidden Gems)

Pages: 250

Publication Date: 9/14/21

Publisher: Hidden Gems

Categories: Romance

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from Hidden Gems in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

I was frustrated by Not Another Billionaire, not because of what it was, or even what it wasn’t, but what it could have been.

This story had good bones. We have our heroine, Tessa, who hates rich people because she was tortured for being poor in the private school where her dad was a janitor (and therefore she had free tuition). She and her bestie want to open a bakery, but bestie’s ex-husband is dragging his feet on selling their marital home, so money is tight. Tessa takes a 12-week temp job as the well-paid admin to an advertising CEO, Seth, and it quickly becomes more than that for them both.

With a little work, this could have been a NY Times Bestseller. It could have made it onto one of those “unputdownable beach reads” lists that folks like People Magazine or Cosmo publish.

But for that to have happened, the book would have required more care. The relationship started so quickly between the leads, that there was no warm up beyond a few pages of pretty stilted, awkward dialogue. Romance is a genre that is full of tropes, and the ‘billionaire boss’ is one of the more popular. But for this to work, you need a slow build. You need to see them become grudgingly friendly before they are jumping into bed and proclaiming their love.

You also need a more fully fleshed-out supporting cast. Tessa has SEVEN best friends, and we only really get to see one of them as an actual person, beyond generic banter at a bar. I wonder, since this is a series, if we are getting one book per girl, but nothing on the author’s website bears that out, and even if that is the case, not fleshing them out as actual humans in this book, as opposed to the cardboard cutouts that they are, does nothing to entice anyone to read any other books featuring them.

The things I liked were that Tessa was feisty, and unwilling to give up on her dreams…and also unwilling to take money from her brand-new boyfriend. I also liked that Seth was occasionally very funny.

But in the end, it just didn’t feel…real to me. It felt like a slightly cleaned up soft-core movie, you know, the kind involving a refrigerator repairman, clunky dialogue and all. It wasn’t a bad book. But 70 more pages, better dialogue and some real heart and it could have been something magical.

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