Zeke Nicholas has turned his mathematical genius skills into a mountain of money. But Zeke sits on that mountain all alone, longing for the one thing money cannot buy: the true love of a lifelong partner. Zeke grew up near Barefoot Bay and is staying at the resort for a week while he’s in town for a family event. Enter Mandy Mitchell…the maid. Except to Zeke, Mandy is much more than that—she was the object of his every teenage fantasy back in the days when she was known as “Mandy the Magnificent” and he had the unflattering high school nickname of “Ezekiel the Geekiel.”
Zeke is no longer a geek—he’s gorgeous. And Mandy doesn’t feel so magnificent since her marriage fell apart and left her up to her eyeballs in debt and despair. One look at Zeke, and she knows he’s exactly the kind of trouble she should avoid. One look at Mandy, and Zeke turns his relentless ability to get what he wants into a full-on seduction. But can Mandy face down the secrets of her past to find a fairy-tale future with Zeke?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I really enjoyed St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay series, and was sad to see it come to an end. Thankfully, we are getting more and more Barefoot books, and the first novella in the Billionaires series was a great way to kick it off!
Zeke was the nerdy guy in high school that everyone made fun of. He was shy, smart, and more than a little awkward. But he has made up for it in spades. He works out, gained some confidence, and has built his own empire. Seeing his high school crush Mandy has Zeke thinking about the family he wants to start, and how he wants her to be a part of it.
Mandy has fallen more than she ever thought possible. From the star cheerleader and prom queen, Mandy is now up to her eyeballs in debt and working as a maid in order to get by. Seeing Zeke again makes Mandy think back on her horrible marriage, and what she wouldn’t give to find the kind of love that Zeke has to offer. But Mandy’s marriage was horrific, and moving on might not be in the cards for her.
I was a little worried that the billionaires trope would be played out, but I liked the way Zeke and his group of friends made a joke of it, and how they all treated their fortunes differently. I loved that Zeke was still 100% humble. It made him that much more adorable. I love the geek hero theme, and although Zeke isn’t as geeky as he supposedly was in high school, I thought the way his insecurities about that time played out in his relationship with Mandy was perfect.
I liked Mandy. I wasn’t too sure what kind of secrets would be revealed about her marriage, and I was a little surprised the direction that St. Claire took it, especially since it wasn’t really explained in detail. I did like the little twist we got at the end, it was the perfect balance between drama and fun. I did wonder how much Mandy’s view of herself was skewed though. Although one of her high school nemesis’ was constantly talking down at her, Mandy seemed to have a very unfavorable view of who she was in high school. I felt bad that she obviously didn’t remember the good times.
I’m anxious to read more about the Billionaires in this series, and think the introduction of them was fun and different than other billionaire books I’ve read in the past. I love the idea of following them as they try and work toward building their Minor League team and stadium.
All in all I thought this was a cute and sweet first novella in the tie-in series to Barefoot Bay. I really liked both Zeke and Mandy and thought they had such a wonderful chemistry together. I thought their romance was a little rushed, but still sweet and almost innocent at times. 🙂 I’m anxious to read about Frankie and Elliott in the next book.
I give Secrets on the Sand a B