2.5 stars

Sorry but this one was just okay for me.  ***Spolier Alert***

This one s a 2.5 read for me. I really wanted to like it more but there were a few issues for me that prevented me really falling for the story.

Gabriella works at her families failing pizzeria with her 5 sisters and her dad, they are trying to sell as their father’s health is not good. Cue entry by gorgeous billionaire…. Noah sees her through the window of the pizza shop when his car has a flat tyre. He comes back the next day and a proposition is made. A deal she cannot refuse, as it will help her entire family. 6 months with Noah and she can ensure her family is taken care of and there is money in the bank for them.

One thing that annoyed me from the outset was that the writing makes it seem like she is a child or, at least, barely legal. There are moments in the book where it feels more like Noah is playing father to a little girl, which kind of creeped me out a bit. We know he is in his 30’s but I can’t remember any reference to her age. As their relationship changes and grows there were times that I felt a small connection between them but it never felt fully realised, even at the end.

When she ruins an important dinner because she is mad after discovering he was at an event with another woman while away overnight, they get home and she refuses to say why she’s mad, then five minutes later she is making love with him for the first time and all is forgotten and not mentioned again until weeks later when he notices a missing vase that she broke when she found out. That felt strange to me. Surely if she were mad enough to ruin an entire evening over it she would confront him and demand to know why it appeared he was with someone else on his trip? And maybe not really be all loved up in that moment?

Then there is the issue with the sisters-in-law… they say she is the ‘flavour of the month’ and that he will eventually send her back to her parents like he always does. That alludes that this is a pattern for him, but we never find out why they said that. Is she just another in the long line of sweet young things? How many have there been? If his family know about them he must have taken them to the family functions. I also expected that their night on the town would have netted some gossip or info about Noah and his past, but there was nothing. We never find out much about Noah at all. I am all for a little mystery, but there needs to be a solid backstory and some fleshing out of the character. Other than thinking his brothers have no ambition, why the animosity? Why employ them at all if you hate them all so much? And if you hate them all so much why go to some family event every single week?

We never find out how he made his money, and why he is the only family member to do so. I found the relationship with his staff and that backstory weird. And while I can understand his need for a level of control, there were times where it was overdone and just made me mad. Why does he get to tell her who she can talk to? Why does she have to ask permission to go for a walk, or take a class? I kept being made to feel like she was 5 years old asking daddy’s permission to go to the park. It was overdone. The scene in the pool made sense later on, but again that part of his story seemed to be glossed over quickly and then it was done. We never hear from Noah himself about what happened or how he feels about it. We know he blames himself, but it would feel more human to hear from him, not his parents. Most of the book feels a little impersonal to me. The fact that he always addresses her by her full name felt cold and formal.

Gabriella’s back story was interesting, but again made me question just how young she must be if that was her mother. But Noah’s back story was sorely lacking for me. By the end we get a glimmer of understanding as to why he may feel the need to control things, especially things like knowing where she is and the swimming part, but why change her teacher just because he is male, why dictate who she is allowed to call on the phone, why forbid her from attending something with the girls from her class? It feels unfair and a little juvenile most of the time. There is a dom/sub element to the story (although touching more on master/slave with the total control element) but all their intimate scenes are rather bland and, other than a toy or two in the drawer, there really isn’t much of the dom/sub vibe in the bedroom. The intimate scenes were quite disappointing, and I was expecting a lot more heat and a touch more kink from him. The ending felt rushed and, honestly, I felt that the proposal was unfeeling. That is a moment where a female reader is supposed to swoon slightly and go awwww.
It was passable for me. Light and easy read. I just really needed Noah to be a more fleshed out character for him to become real to me.