Title: Saltwater Kisses: A Billionaire Love Story
Author: Krista Lakes
Publisher: Zirconia Publishing
Release Date: June 2013
Length: 216 pages (paperback)
Series?: The Kisses Series #1
Genre: contemporary, chick lit, romance
When small-town girl Emma LaRue won a vacation to an exclusive tropical island, a last minute cancellation meant she would be going by herself. Shy and studious, she never had time to fall in love, and often wondered if she was just meant to be alone. However, that all changed when a handsome stranger literally walked into her life while on the beach and sparks began to fly.
New York’s most eligible billionaire bachelor Jack Saunders thought this vacation would be the perfect escape, one last hurrah, before taking full control of his father’s company. When an innocent Emma didn’t recognize him, he figured that he might get a chance to have a vacation from being rich. He didn’t tell her about the cars, the yacht, or the penthouse. All he did was let her fall in love with him.
Soon, Jack found that he was the one falling in love with Emma. When they enjoy a fantasy marriage ceremony on the beach, they thought it was a bit of harmless fun before returning to their normal lives. A bittersweet goodbye was supposed to be the end of their perfect vacation romance, but when photos of the ceremony were leaked to the press, everything changed.
Feeling lied to and thrust into a world of wealth and privilege, Emma must choose between following her dreams or following her heart. Will she be content at being nothing more than the billionaire’s wife, or will she return to her normal life with only memories of saltwater kisses?
I had high hopes for this novel…maybe because I am a Pisces, therefore a beach enthusiast and water lover. Have you ever craved your favorite bottled soda, opened and poured it, only to find it fell flat? Yeah…that’s how this novel was for me.
There are a lot of rich vs. poor elements in this novel. I think that it would have been a more interesting dynamic to have a rich woman, but that could change too many things about this novel.
Emma is a working class girl. She lives paycheck to paycheck, like this American. The stars align and she ends up winning a radio station contest and gets a wonderful trip for two to a luxurious beach resort, except her sister backs out at the last minute. Emma was not going to give up her dream vacation, so she goes alone…and meets Jack on the beach during an emergency situation.
Jack keeps talking about his company and his business, always careful to avoid telling Emma exactly the name of his business, and he acts quite strangely at times. After only a couple days together, they indulge in a fantasy marriage ceremony, a secret they will take back with them to their regular lives – until photos of their wedding ceremony are leaked.
A part of me told me that I should stop, that I should think this through, but the other voices in my head quickly drowned her out; I wanted him more than I wanted to breathe.
After this point, I started losing interest quickly, and disliking both Emma and Jack. Jack was constantly unavailable in several ways, and does nothing for Emma to show he truly loves her. Speaking of love, I found it very hard to believe Emma’s constant admissions of love for Jack when there were not sufficient reasons to love him. I feel like she fell in love with a non-existent image, his vacation beach boy self. In the novel, Emma specifically advises her self that she is going to let go and enjoy her vacation: she’ll be bold and brazen, because she will be returning to her normal life soon.
I can’t recall Emma using any qualities for the basis of her love for Jack, such as a kind heart, compassionate, etc. Tara over at the The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhhh! touched on this exactly: instalove. I’d never heard of the term before, but it is the modern way of saying “love at first sight.” Emma falls instalove with Jack, and he falls instalove with her…although, I find it very hard that he loves her at all.
I was on Cloud Nine, making love to this powerful man. He had me right where he wanted me.
The other thing that really, really bugged me to no end was the narration that Emma liked Jack to always be in control in the bedroom: she admitted that she knew he knew he held the power. Once would have been enough, but nearly every time there was sexual tension, this came up. It made it hard to believe in Emma as a character – a likeable character – to be so weak (in my eyes). To be that dominant and submissive, I was sure she would hang around forever in New York and let her dreams pass her by.
I did, however, like Jack’s assistant and Emma’s bodyguard. His assistant was a fierce and a protective mother bear to Jack, and after putting Emma through the tests, she ends up liking Emma tremendously, and forms a special bond with Emma. She helps Emma in several ways, but ultimately she still works for Jack and must follow his orders. I found that her character was actually quite rounded.
This is a quick read, but if you like strong female characters, I’d suggest finding another pick.
Krista Lakes is a newly turned 30 year old who recently rediscovered her passion for writing. She loves aquatic life and running marathons. She is living happily ever after with her Prince Charming and her bouncing baby boy.
In 2012, she released her first full length novel. That summer, she started the Kisses Series starting with Saltwater Kisses. She is a New York Times and USA Today best selling author.