Confession: This is the third book I’ve read by Stefanie London. I met this fabulous writer on the Harlequin boards not long before she sold her first book to them. Stefanie sent this book to me because I begged her on Facebook. I’d read about her two ballerinas and was curious to see her take on a tycoon. So, to recap, I (online) know Ms. London and I received a copy of this book free for my review. Also, this book won’t be released in North America until May 1st and will have a different cover here (Here it will be a Harlequin Presents).
Dancer Chantal Turner and yachting tycoon Brodie Mitchell have shared a strong attraction since they met over eight years ago working at Weeping Reef Resort. At the time, they weren’t able to act on their attraction because they belonged to other people. The one time they ventured perilously close to crossing that boundary, their friendship circle imploded.
Eight years later, Chantal is divorced and experiencing soul crushing rejection in her pursuit of joining a dance company in Sydney. The only dancing gig she does manage to land turns out to be in a seedy bar. She’s barely holding on to the ends, let alone making them meet. On the other hand, the seemingly laid back beach bum Brodie has managed to build a successful business leasing luxury yachts to the rich. When a friend invites Chantal to Brodie’s boat to get the gang back together, Chantal and Brodie discover the spark is still white hot between them. But Chantal’s determined to focus on salvaging her career, not getting into a relationship with another man who will try to control her every move, and Brodie has too many responsibilities and people counting on him for a relationship to be attractive. The solution? One night of no-strings fun.
Only one night isn’t enough, and soon both Chantal and Brodie are in deeper than they planned. But with Brodie’s family depending on him and Chantal’s fierce insistence on being independent and pursuing her dream, happily ever after seems a long boat ride away. Can these two get over their pasts and sail into the future together?
Some romance readers judge a romance by how much they connect with a heroine, but in order for me to really get invested in a book, I have to fall in love with the hero. I fell head over heels for non-traditional tycoon Brodie Mitchell. It was easy to see how much he loved his family and felt compelled to be the father his sisters so desperately needed. He wasn’t the typical playboy turned hero; he was a real guy who managed to make a lot of money doing something he loved to support his family. And he was hot! That always helps.
That said, I did really connect with Chantal. Anyone can identify with going after a dream, only to experience rejection, especially those in the creative community. Chantal’s independent, I don’t need help attitude was at times frustrating, but also felt authentic. I know that bullheadedness; I’ve suffered from it plenty of times myself. She was so determined to succeed that you couldn’t help but root for her.
The romance between Chantal and Brodie was scorching hot, but it also struck an emotional cord. It wasn’t all late night body shots and kitchen shenanigans–Ms. London does a lot of emotional heavy lifting in true M&B Modern/Harlequin Presents style. She doesn’t pull any cheap tricks to pull off her happily ever after; Brodie and Chantal have to work for it without any fairy godmothers or pixie dust, which makes it all the more satisfying to see them get their stuff together and make this work.
Overall, I think The Tycoon’s Stowaway is an interesting twist on the tycoon, friends to lovers, and reunion tropes. Ms. London does a fabulous job of blending passion and emotion into a heady mix that will leave readers ready to drop anchor in one of her books anytime.
* * * */ * * * * * (4/5 stars): for romance, emotional tension, and interesting twists on favorite tropes