August 21, 2015

REVIEW: Easy Love (Boudreaux #1)

Easy Love (Boudreaux #1), by Kristen Proby
Publish Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Ampersand Publishing
Format: e-book, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Eli Boudreaux’s family has built ships and boats in Louisiana for generations. He comes from a hard working, wealthy family and his empire is growing by leaps and bounds. At thirty, he is the youngest CEO to ever head Bayou Enterprises, co-chairing with his eldest brother. His head for business and his no-nonsense work ethic is also quickly making him the best the company has seen in generations. His staff admires him, women adore him and Eli’s family is solid. But he’s recently discovered that someone on the inside of his business is stealing from him and he’s determined to find out who.

Kate O’Shaughnessy is hired by companies all over the world to slip inside and investigate every member of the organization from the CEO down to the custodial staff to find the person or persons responsible for embezzling. She’s excellent at blending, becoming part of the team, and finding the weakest link. She’s smart, quick-witted, and she’s now been hired by Bayou Enterprises, specifically Eli Boudreaux. The attraction is immediate and the chemistry is off the charts, but Kate has heard all about Eli’s playboy past and she has a job to do. Sleeping with the boss isn’t a part of that job, even if just the sound of her name rolling off that Cajun tongue and the way he fills out a designer suit does make her sweat.

Eli’s southern charms surprise Kate. The man whose reputation labels him as a ruthless, callous womanizer is not the man she’s coming to know intimately. He’s generous, protective and makes her smile. Cracking through Kate’s cool, reserved demeanor and discovering her love of sexy, expensive lingerie is a challenge Eli can’t resist, but her sweet nature, love of family and sense of humor pull at him in ways no one else ever has.

But when the person responsible for trying to single-handedly dismantle Eli’s empire comes to light, and it’s time for Kate to move on, to what lengths will Eli go to keep the woman he’s fallen in love with by his side?

I can always count on Kristen Proby to give me what I need when I need it - a book with epic romance, hot and steamy sex, very little drama and an HEA. EASY LOVE had all those things, plus it's set in the city of New Orleans, which only made it more awesome. 

Eli Boudreaux is one of six siblings. He, his brother Beau and his sister Savannah run a multi-billion dollar company, and it consumes all of Eli's time. In the beginning of the book, I thought he was kind of a hard ass. Even when his siblings joked around with him, he wasn't quick to joke back. He's very focused and driven, qualities that were impressed upon him by his father right before he died. He's a tall, dark, handsome manwhore workaholic with a sexy as hell accent. 

So, when Savannah hires her best friend from college, Kate O'Shaughnessy, to try and ferret out an embezzler, it was not surprising (and kind of funny) when she warned Eli away from her. It was like, she knew exactly what would happen as soon as they saw each other. 

It didn't help matters when Kate and Eli end up not only living next to one another, but also sharing a balcony. I loved learning about Kate through Eli's eyes. She had never been in New Orleans before, and Eli, as an excuse to be close to her without explicitly violating his sister's request, shows her around introducing her to the food, people and culture. And through Kate, Eli came to realize how much he's been taking for granted. 

For her part, this job came at a perfect time. She's recently divorced from a horribly abusive man, and now is surrounded by Savannah and younger Boudreaux brother Declan - two of her dearest friends. It's like the perfect therapy. Of course, she's immediately attracted to panty-dropper Eli, but tries valiantly to keep her work and personal lives separate. You know what they say about the road to good intentions. 

Eli's and Kate's relationship is combustible. They are fantastic together. Not only is there great chemistry there, but it seems like each one has something the other one inherently needs. Eli needed Kate's exuberance and thirst for life to remind him of all the truly important things in life. Kate needed Eli's patience and support to find her faith in men and relationships again. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with, especially when things hit the fan for people in both of their lives, and they are needed. 

My only complaint is that I didn't feel enough attention was placed on the main reason why Kate was brought to New Orleans in the first place. Every so often, there would be a few sentences about how she was still searching for the person stealing money from the company, but then the focus would return to Eli's and Kate's budding relationship. Even after the culprit was found, there wasn't enough closure for me to that part of the story. I wanted to know how it all went down, what happened afterwards, why the person did it, and what the people working for the company thought about Kate being a plant. 

Easy Love is told in dual POV. It was an easy read - the pacing was perfect, there was hardly any angst and it was a nice length. I finished it in just over one day. There was a good amount of time spent introducing the Boudreaux siblings and their businesses and personalities. They are a very close-knit family, which I'm sure will mean that we will always be able to catch up on our favorite couples as the series moves on. I, for one, can't wait to continue the series, but I think I might get the next book in audio format. I see that Sebastian York is one of the narrators, and I freaking LOVE him. Has anyone listened to this series? Is it good? Youngest sibling Gabby's story is next, and I can already tell I'm going to love it.  

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