Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Review: Hired by the Brooding Billionaire by Kandy Shepherd

Book coverHired by the Brooding Billionaire by Kandy Shepherd
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star star star star

Heat rating: Flame

Beauty and the reclusive billionaire…

When billionaire Declan Grant decides his estate's enormous garden needs taming, he hires idealistic horticulturalist Shelley Fairhill to take on the challenge. Since losing his wife, Declan has adjusted to a life of self-imposed isolation—he wants Shelley to tackle the weeds, then leave.

But as Shelley gradually restores order and unexpected beauty to his garden, her caring nature also begins to thaw the ice encasing Declan's heart. Can he let Shelley's light in and finally let his second chance at love blossom?

I was in the mood for a comforting romantic read and Kandy Shepherd's Hired by the Brooding Billionaire fit the bill, though there were some slightly broody moments which put a little bit of spice into the story as well.

So ... broody Declan. Can you say delicious? I'm not saying Ms Shepherd used Stephen Amell from Arrow as a model for the character but he certainly looked the part in my imagination, especially in the scene with the salmon pull ups. There's a video on YouTube of Stephen Amell / Arrow doing salmon pull ups bare chested that is super yummy. I'm wondering if Ms Shepherd had seen the video and used it as inspiration because it was the first thing I pictured when I read the scene. Hmmmm... might need to go and watch that video again!! Aside from all that yummy, poor Declan is a very tortured soul, having suffered a great loss and living with the guilt and self-incrimination of the loss. That's how bright and shiny Shelley finds him. Beneath all the darkness, Declan is a man who has loved and knows how to love, but he's in so much pain, none of that can come through, but he finds inspiration in Shelley and slowly, very slowly, opens himself up to the possibility of living and loving again. It's a slow process for Declan and there are setbacks. My heart aches for him as he tries but gets pulled back into the darkness that had become his life for so long. Fortunately, Declan is also a fighter and he takes some very positive steps towards healing.

Shelley is sunshine and light, especially to Declan. She brings light and life into Declan's rather dark world. Still, Shelley has her own demons to fight, and her own issues with trust and men. I liked Shelley's passion for her work and her quirky personality. She had a tendency to not filter her words and they were rather refreshing. It's a good thing Declan thought so too. :-) I thought at one point, she way overreacted when she discovered something Declan had done, but it was somewhat understandable too, given her issues. It was also a turning point for Declan to more actively pursue the healing he needed, so I guess it had to be done. Can't say I agreed with her though and it was probably the lowest moment of how I felt about her. I did admire her for recognizing when she was fighting a losing battle and decided to move on with her life.

As always, Ms Shepherd's stories revolves almost entirely on the couple with very few secondary characters and interruptions to their relationship building. I love that about a romance. For me, it's all about the couple and how they become a couple and Ms Shepherd does that particularly well.

Ms Shepherd also did a tremendous job in describing the garden and all the history surrounding the garden, and gardens in general. I'm certain a lot of research went into it as she really brought the gardens to life with her vivid descriptions, from the original state of disrepair, to the work needed to restore the garden, and the garden coming to life after all the work Shelley put into it. I also loved her description of the garden in London of the white flowers amidst the white of the snow. I imagined what it would look like in my mind and the white on white makes a stunning visual. I don't know if Ms Shepherd is a lover of gardens herself, but I'd hazard a guess to say she is with the detail she put into the gardens' descriptions.

This was a lovely story. I really need to take the time to read Ms Shepherd's stories more frequently and get to them a lot sooner than I do since I enjoy them so much. I'm looking forward to picking up another one of her stories soon.

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About the author

auKandy Shepherd left a fast-paced career as a magazine editor to write award-winning romantic fiction.

Kandy lives in a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband, daughter and a menagerie of four-legged friends.

She believes in love-at-first-sight and real-life romance—they worked for her!

Author links: Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads - Email

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