Simon Lamont is an ice-cold corporate pirate. He buys companies, strips them of their assets, and moves on. With money. Lots and lots of money. But when he arrives in San Francisco to acquire a floundering company and is accosted by a cute engineer with fire in her eyes, it takes all Simon has to maintain his legendary cool.
Helen Winston has mastered hiding behind geeky clothes and an obsessive dedication to her job. So what's with her desire for the arrogant-and sexy as sin-Simon Lamont? He may have only been wearing a towel when they met, but he's planning to destroy her company, and Helen will do whatever it takes to change his mind. If that means becoming the sexy woman Simon didn't know he wanted, so be it. If only she wasn't about to walk into her own trap...
Each book in the Guide to Love series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Played by the Billionaire
Book #2 His Billion Dollar Dilemma
Book #3 Masquerading with the Billionaire
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
His Billion Dollar Dilemma
A Guide to Love Novel
By Alexia Adams, Elizabeth Pelletier, Alethea Spiridon Hopson
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Alexia Adams
All rights reserved.
The bloody hotel had better be on fire with the racket someone was making, pounding on his door.
Simon grabbed a towel and his watch and headed toward the noise. He'd checked in twenty minutes earlier and had gone straight to the shower to wash off the day's travel grime. Three flights and two meetings at airport bars later, he still had a dinner engagement and a late-night conference call before he could test the comfort of the king-size bed in the next room. Was it too much to ask to take a shower in peace?
The banging on his door continued without break. No hint of smoke in the air, no alarms blaring. He was expecting a package of papers, but surely the concierge would be more discreet about delivering them. He snapped on his watch, double-checked that his towel was secure, and wrenched open the door.
A petite woman paused, fist raised to strike the door again. She wore no name tag or hotel uniform, nor did she wait for an invitation to barge straight into his room.
What the hell?
From the way she stormed in, he expected a dozen armed men to be following in her wake. The bland corridor was devoid of a SWAT team, so he turned back to the mysterious woman. By her creamy complexion and sparkling eyes, he'd guess her at mid- to late twenties. If he'd been guessing her age based on her clothes, he wouldn't put her a day under seventy. Seriously, what was this woman wearing? Caught between amusement at the woman's audacity—and her dowdy attire—and hesitation that she might be a crazed stalker, Simon stayed by the door. He wasn't sure who she was, or what she wanted with him, but she certainly appeared to have her knickers in a twist.
Poor thing was so flustered; she probably had the wrong room.
"You are Simon Lamont," the woman said. Okay, she did have the right room. Expecting a granny voice to go with her old-fashioned clothes, he was surprised at the rich, velvety texture of her words. He'd always had a thing for sexy voices, though they rarely came from women dressed like they were about to enter a nunnery. Grayish-brown tweed skirts that fell midcalf, white high-necked shirts, and formless gray cardigans must be all the rage at the convent.
"I wasn't aware that was a crime in the state of California," he replied.
"It should be." She stomped her foot. There was something oddly adorable about that little foot stomp. Bloody hell, he must really be jet-lagged ...
"Would you like to tell me who you are and why you invaded my hotel room?" He kept his voice calm, hoping to defuse the situation.
A flush crept up the woman's neck and turned her cheeks pink as she took in his bare chest and legs. He had an unreasonable desire to see how far the blush spread downward, but her high-necked blouse hid any more of her skin from view.
"My name is Helen Winston." She waited, as if expecting him to connect the name to some sort of celebrity. Were the clothes supposed to be a disguise? If so, they'd worked. He hadn't a clue who she was. When he continued to stare at her blankly, she elaborated.
"I'm the design engineer at Bertram Industries."
Lightbulb. Bertram Industries was the main reason he was in San Francisco. The engineering company was failing and he was in negotiations with the principal owner to buy it. If he secured the deal, the fuel cell they'd recently patented would put him in the power seat with fledgling electric car manufacturers—specifically, Edward Halliday's company. Then his nemesis would have no option but to meet Simon's demands. And perhaps Edward's treacherous wife would regret her decision to throw Simon over in favor of the now-rotund entrepreneur. At the moment, however, he had a different woman to deal with.
H. Winston had been listed as the chief engineer and designer of Bertram's most successful products, including the fuel cell. He'd expected a portly middle-aged man to fill that role, not a petite blond-haired woman in her late twenties who looked like she might blow away in the next gust of wind. Whoever compiled the dossier on company employees for him was going to get his arse handed to him, and instructions to provide photographs in the future.
Simon released the door handle and took a step toward her, holding out his hand. "Ah, Ms. Winston. I was looking forward to meeting you."
She ignored his outstretched hand and put both of hers on her hips. Her gray cardigan stretched across her chest, revealing luscious round breasts. He dragged his eyes back to her face. Maybe it was exhaustion, but he found this woman intriguing.
"Why?" she demanded in that sultry, sexy voice of hers.
He was lost again.
Fortunately, he was saved from asking the obvious question. "Why'd you look forward to meeting me? Did you think I'd drop at your feet and thank you for rescuing my company?"
"I wasn't aware it was your company. All the documents I've seen list Harold Bertram as the owner and majority shareholder." He leaned against the wall, captivated by the variety of emotions shown on the woman's face.
Annoyance won. And from the blaze of anger in her eyes he was about to find out how a steak felt when it met a George Foreman Grill. "Harold is an idiot. My designs are the only reason the company has remained afloat this long. I'm working on a restructuring plan. We don't need some modern-day pirate pillaging and plundering the company of all it's worth, leaving just an empty shell and thirty people looking for work."
It was the first time he'd ever been called a pirate, at least to his face. He couldn't dispute the analogy; in effect, it was what he did. He took a failing company, stripped it of its valuable assets, and left the rest to sink to the ocean floor. Of course there was always collateral damage, and he had a team to deal with that. But he rationalized he was building better, stronger companies that helped the economy more in the long run.
You didn't get anywhere in business by being distracted, a lesson he'd learned from his father. A lesson reinforced by Edward's wife, Lisa. And there was more at stake now than a lost term at Oxford. If you wanted to be successful, you had to forget about emotion and deal with realities.
At the moment, his reality was the woman opposite him. "I'm sure someone with your skills won't have trouble finding another job."
"I don't care about my job. It's the other employees I'm concerned about. Many of them are in their mid- to late fifties. They'll have a much harder time finding new employment." She crossed her arms, which further emphasized her breasts. His dick twitched. What the hell? Helen Winston was the exact opposite of everything he usually sought in a woman. Maybe that's why he was fascinated. The women he dated were like chocolate Buttons. Helen was Starburst all the way.
"Are you the employee spokesperson?"
"I'm a concerned human being. Something you obviously know nothing about."
This was getting personal. The one thing he hated about his work was when it got personal. He much preferred to make decisions based on logic. Emotion led to mess, and the Lamonts of Gloucestershire didn't do mess. It had been bred out of their genetic code shortly after their Norman ancestors conquered England.
Simon glanced at his watch. Every single one of his numerous employees knew that was his signal the meeting was over. But Helen Winston wasn't one of his employees.
"You can look at your watch all you want, Mr. Lamont. I'm not leaving until I've had my say."
"Well, unless you want to talk to me as I dress, I suggest you schedule a time with my personal assistant. I have a dinner appointment in twenty minutes, and I am never late." To reinforce his threat, he grabbed his towel as though ready to remove it.
Expecting the demurely dressed woman to flee at the thought of seeing him naked, he was surprised when she sat on the sofa. Her eyes flickered down his body once again, then straight back up to his face, and her blush deepened. She took a deep breath, but she didn't move.
"I've already talked to your PA. She said every single second of your time in San Francisco is booked. So either I get an eyeful while you get an earful, or you rearrange one of your meetings to hear me out. The decision is yours."
She'd called his bluff. Her face was impassive and he had no idea what she was thinking. He'd love to play poker with her one day. Preferably strip poker so he could see what was under all those layers. However, she had the advantage at the moment. The smartest poker players knew when to fold.
"I'll call Sylvia and ask her to fit you in. I live in New York on East Coast time. As long as you're amenable to a four a.m. Pacific breakfast meeting, then I think we could come to some arrangement."
"Agreed. She has my number." Without another word or even glance in his direction, she strode to the door and left.
A lingering scent of peaches was all that remained of her invasion. That, and an inexplicable hard-on.
* * *
Helen fled from the hotel room and pushed the elevator button ten times in rapid succession. It arrived within seconds and was empty. She sank against the far wall. What the hell had she just done? Attacked a near-naked man in his hotel room and demanded he meet with her? Hopefully, he'd attributed her flushed skin and bugged-out eyes to her anger and not the fact that he stood a few feet from her wearing only a towel.
Known for doing detailed research, how had she missed the fact that Simon Lamont was molten-lava-level hot? And fit. Very fit. Oh-my-God fit. Washboard abs, defined pecs, and perfectly proportional biceps ... Not to mention green eyes that reminded her of the dense Washington State forest where she grew up, and a slightly crooked smile that could melt her resolve with a single twitch. And of course, he had to have a super-sexy British accent to top it all off. Yup, next time she'd spend a little longer on the research, and planning out her attack so it didn't coincide with the end of his shower.
Damn, her knees began to wobble and she had to hold on to the elevator railing so she didn't fall. When she arrived at the ground floor, she stumbled out and headed straight to the bar. She needed to calm her nerves before she got home and David demanded to know why she was upset. Her brother had been overprotective ever since ... that night. Slamming the door shut on the horrific memory, she pulled herself onto one of the stools built for giants and white-knuckled it to stay upright. It wouldn't surprise her if the bartender refused to serve her, thinking she'd already had too many.
"Can I help you, ma'am?"
Ma'am; she wasn't even thirty yet, although it wasn't that far away, and already she'd transitioned to ma'am. To the young thing behind the bar, however, she probably looked as old as she felt. She hadn't felt young in a very, very long time.
"I'll have a glass of chardonnay," Helen replied automatically. As the bartender moved away to get her drink, she changed her mind. "Actually, forget the wine. I'll have a scotch, neat, and your best."
The bartender did a double take. The young woman's eyes taking in her clothes and probably messy hair. "We have an eighteen-year-old single malt, but it's seventy-five dollars a glass."
"That's fine," Helen snapped. She shook her head. Where was the mild-mannered, docile creature who spent her days staring at a computer or nodding politely in meetings? That woman was still sitting in her small, dark office hidden behind a mile-high stack of files. The one at the bar was told this morning that her fellow employees, her friends, were about to be ripped apart on the whim of one Simon Lamont.
The bartender placed the glass in front of her, then took a step back. Helen took a gulp and let the amber liquid burn a path down her throat to her stomach, where it began a warm glow that reached her toes, in her thick tights and sensible one-inch heels. "Nice," she managed to gasp. Reaching into her purse, she pulled out a hundred-dollar bill and held it out to the stunned woman. "Keep the change."
In two more gulps, the drink was done. Helen couldn't tell if her knees were shaking anymore as she could no longer feel them. She slid off the barstool in what she hoped was an elegant dismount. By the odd looks and openmouthed stares of the other bar patrons, she probably looked like a newborn giraffe trying to walk for the first time.
As she exited the bar, she caught sight of Simon Lamont leaving the hotel with a tall dark-haired woman next to him. Although she only saw them from the back, the way the woman turned her head and flipped her hair suggested this was more than just a business meeting. It was a good thing the whisky had completely melted her insides, because she was fairly sure her guts would be twisting in knots at the sound of the leggy, elegantly dressed female laughing at something Simon said.
Why couldn't he have an eye patch, a peg leg, and a parrot on his shoulder? While she was desperately trying to readjust her image of the corporate raider, her cell phone rang.
"Miss Winston? Mr. Lamont's schedule has opened up. Are you available to meet with him at four a.m. on Friday? He says he will meet you in the lobby of his hotel. Evidently you know where he's staying." Knowing the hyperefficient personal assistant hadn't divulged the information, Helen could hear the curiosity in the other woman's voice as to how she'd obtained the hotel name. Sometimes, having a brother who wasn't above hacking into hotel reservation systems was a bonus.
"Friday at four, I'll be there," she replied, hanging up before Simon's personal assistant could say anything further. Well, she'd achieved her preliminary objective of getting the opportunity to plead for the other employees. Now she needed to figure out how she could convince Simon to give her restructuring plan a chance and not strip the company of its assets, leaving the rest to sink out of sight.
The woman Simon had just left with seemed to have his full attention. Maybe that was what she needed, a more professional appearance. Before she could change her mind, she phoned Lorelei. When her friend answered, she blurted out, "I need to go shopping."
* * *
Helen sprinkled some granola over her yogurt and imagined how red Harold Bertram's face would turn if she decided to work from home today. It would probably get somewhere between Taylor Swift's lipstick color and pickled beets. Simon was due to meet with Harold, and she knew her boss was relying on her to explain the design process. She only hoped she'd be able to form coherent sentences when visions of Simon's muscled torso kept sneaking into her brain. Even now her toes curled involuntarily.
"You're up early," she said as her brother emerged from his bedroom, fully dressed. David often worked until two or three in the morning and was rarely up before nine. He pulled a small suitcase behind him. "You're going on a business trip?"
"Yeah, something like that. You okay here on your own for a few days?" David didn't meet her eyes, and her "something's-up-o-meter" shot into the red zone.
"I'm hardly alone with Liam and Lorelei across the hall. Where're you off to? You didn't say anything about going away."
"Came up last minute. I'll see you Friday night." Without another word, he fled from the apartment. Only after he left did she register the sharp new suit her brother wore. Even though David was director of technical operations at Liam's company, he tended to dress like the rest of the programmers. So why the suit? There was no way he'd quit working for Liam, so it couldn't be a job interview. Must be something personal. David with a personal life? The world had come to an end.
She shook her head. David had never been conventional, yet he'd been the best brother a girl could ask for. But she was no longer a girl; she was a woman. A woman trapped in the past, admittedly. It was time she sprang the trap and escaped, because she refused to remain a victim for the rest of her life.
Excerpted from His Billion Dollar Dilemma by Alexia Adams, Elizabeth Pelletier, Alethea Spiridon Hopson. Copyright © 2015 Alexia Adams. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I started this book with the thought to read a story which is kind of the same as the stories I already have read...a lot. There is this rich cold pirate who is succesful, unbelieveable good-looking and charming as hell. And then there is this strange-looking, humble, clumsy woman with an age of 30 who doesn't even found out who she is. Not really a surprising combination. But then...Helen stormed like a hurricane into Simon's hotel room and just "helened"(if you read the book you will find out) not only Simon, also me who was surprised how refreshing and different she is. On the outside, she as first not really appeares really self-confident, but with turning more and more pages, she also looses more and more of her doubts which let her flourish like a beautiful flower who finds her place next to Simon. The more time they spend in company, the more Simon changes as well. To see how this two work-loving people enjoy their time together was so lovely, especially considering the issues Helen has because of her past. To see how Simon does everything possible to make her feel comfortable even when the only thing he wants to do is "attacking" her is an aspect which is underlined even more by the use of two different POV's. Even if there is a lot of "feel good content", as a reader you are confronted with some some difficult situations which are ,in my opinion, even as important as the rest of the story. The only thing they both first have had in mind was their jobs. Now after they found each other, the lines of their work-relationship blurres which influences the plot-change a lot....To see this change(before and after) , it would have been good to get to know a little bit more about their life before. No matter what, I love the protagonists. I just wished they would get more pages to tell their story which is why I rated this book with 4 Stars. I started to read this book 8pm sitting around the family-table. When at 11:30 pm everybody has left, I realised I just had left 10% which of course I had to read. Reading this book felt very natural. > > > I have received this Book as an ARC from the Publisher < < < > > > In Exchange I promised an honest Review < < <
3.5 stars His Billion Dollar Dilemma was a sweet, fun and entertaining read. I enjoyed reading Simon and Helen's story, they had great chemistry and my interest was kept from beginning to end.
Simon Lamont is a corporate raider and he's going after the company Helen Winston works for. The buyout is inevitable but after the purchase is made, can she talk him into not tearing the company apart? All the employees are like friends and family to her and she MUST protect their jobs somehow. Will Simon be able to stop wanting this sexy engineer and will he break his own rules to have her? Will Helen's past destroy any pleasure she could receive from this sexy corporate pirate? This is a sexy, romantic and funny love story. I love how the author didn't rush through Helen's healing process with Simon and even though it pained him, he was gentle and patient with her. She has some great friends too! Great story that I lost myself in for too short of time. This author is definitely one to watch! Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed His Billion Dollar Dilemma by Alexia Adams. It is the love story between engineering geek Helen Winston and corporate pirate Simon Lamont. Simon's character totally reminded me of Edward Lewis, the male hero portrayed by Richard Gere from the film Pretty Woman. Simon is on the cusp of purchasing the company that Helen works for, and because she does not want her colleagues to be out of work, she does everything in her power to prevent the business transaction from happening. In the process, Helen and Simon spend a lot of time together both personally and professionally, while constantly challenging each other and ultimately falling in love. This is the second book I have read by Ms. Adams, and I truly like the way she tells a story, with clear and well thought out scenes and descriptions. Her fluid writing style is easy to interpret and appreciate. His Billion Dollar Dilemma is a lively and entertaining read. Helen and Simon's developing relationship is full of surprises, beginning with the very first chapter. They develop feelings for each other quickly, even with all the barriers and obstacles that get in their way. This book is replete with twists and turns that kept me engaged from beginning to end. Complimentary copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.
Well developed story and characters. Sure...a bit unrealistic, but so heartfelt and such a sexy read, too...it was pretty perfect!!
This is a fantastic book. Simon - yeah, he's mostly ruthless, but you don't get to being a billionaire by being a pushover. I enjoyed the fact that he was willing to listen to Helen's proposal and watch him thaw out when confronted by Helen's family and friends, slowly falling for Helen along the way. He's got every reason for being emotionally shut off, which is blatantly clear after Helen and he go to visit his mother. Helen - I loved her family, particularly her parents when you finally get to meet them. Sunshine and Moonbeam...yeesh. She's fiercely devoted to her company and her work, but then finds a way to give Simon what he needs/wants while sticking to her own guns (so to speak) regarding the use of her patents. The dark moment of this book was probably one of the most effective ones I've seen. I knew there was something to what Helen does (providing Simon his reason for believing the worst in her), but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how she'd done things to make everyone happy until the story revealed it. Loved this book all the way from the beginning to the end. Highly recommend reading it! Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed this story! Helen is a highly intelligent, 27 y.o. engineer who remains a virgin after a traumatic event when she was a teen. Simon is a 33 y.o. British corporate pirate whose NY company is set to buy and dismantle the company Helen hopes to save. The attraction between these two was strong, but I loved how tender Simon was as he helped make Helen more comfortable in a relationship. I also really liked Helen's quirky group of friends and family.
Really enjoyed this book
It starts out promising,but the climax of the book falls short big time. The female has trust issues that never resolve! Her lover is completely honest with her, but she won't trust him and goes behind his back! Then to top it off her brother harassed him and mind twisted him in to believing it was all his fault. He goes groveling back to her and she has the nerve to pretend hurt feelings! Ugh please.
The writing was distractingly bad. Climatic plot moments fell completely flat. Lots if tell instead if show.
I fell in love with Helen the first paragraph I met her. She had spunk, wouldn't back down from what she wanted, and was willing to totally embarrass herself to get it. This company is her baby and there's no way she's going to let some corporate pirate steal it from her - or so she thinks. What she doesn't expect is a near-naked first encounter with a guy she could dream about for ages. But Simon doesn't care about her company - although her tactics make her quite interesting and he agrees to a second meeting. Well, each time they meet more sparks seem to fly. But they Helen has some serious issues she's trying to deal with. I have to say that Simon's reaction and "therapy" for these issues was brilliant and I loved him all the more for it. I loved that Simon stays true to his ruthless business self throughout the whole story. There's no huge change of personality or lifestyle, just subtle alterations that make him a bit more reasonable. These were two of the most believable characters I've seen in awhile. Well, at least as believable as any billionaire romance can be. *This book was received in exchange for an honest review*
## I do not like clumsy, odd looking heroines. This is fiction and I want capable, confident, beautiful heroines. I can recommend all of Julie James' books if you like a strong heroine. This one, not so much.
Yes. But they struggle to learn new things and many of them are thieves. They also refer to themselves in third person. Gets really annoying really fast.
What an intense story filled with love, sarcasm and major wall crushing! I loved Simon throughout the book. Although he was a hard ass, he was very gentle and protective when needed. The way he took to Helen was so sweet. I adored his soft side. Helen was a fun character to read. She tried to be tough as nails and was all about helping others despite herself. What a fantastic heroine. Their connection was instantaneous and overpowering. They each made the other better and stronger. There were a couple of frustrating moments and a couple of teary moments, but I loved every minute of this book and this couple. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
As the blurb suggests, "Never judge a geek by her clothing!" Helen Winston hides her beauty behind really old fashioned, dowdy clothing after a traumatic experience as a teenager. Now she’s an exceptionally able engineer but the company she works for is in danger of being taken over by someone she regards as an asset stripping pirate, Simon Lamont. She worries about the affect this will have on the lives of her friends and co-workers so goes to confront him. Unable to get an appointment to see him, she uses her contacts to discover where he is staying and goes knocking on his hotel room door . . . her first vision of him is when he opens the door dressed only in a towel! The story relates how she tries to change his mind about how to make the best for the company and its workforce. It shows how she changes from trying to be an ugly duckling to become a more confident, empowered woman. He has a reputation for being ice cold and unemotional – can this fiery but normally quiet and shy engineer change him? A weekend with her friends will start to thaw the ice around his heart. Can he be patient enough to help her overcome her fears? Can they learn to trust each other? A great story, with unexpected events keeping it a well paced and entertaining read. A lovely book to escape into for a few hours, light but well formed with great characters who together can help each other overcome events from their past – eventually! Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Excellent read! I found the characters very interesting and the storyline was cute. Simon and Helen shouldn't have worked but they definitely did. The chemistry was great and Helen's persistence to get Simon to leave her company alone is fantastic! He's so use to getting his way and having no one question him he's not quite sure how to handle the in your face Helen. Very enjoyable. I would recommend it!
This is your standard game of cat and mouse. Two strong willed individuals trying to best each other in a game of wills. Add some sex appeal, romance and you have Alexia Adams' His Billion Dollar Dilemma. Simon, a corporate raider buys Helen's company but she is determined to fight him tooth and nail to hold on to what's hers. A wonderfully surprising story that kept me guessing. Was gifted a ARC of this book for an honest review.