Mateu Espasa, CEO of Barcelona’s most luxurious hotel, knows how to deliver a five-star experience. When he learns the identity of hotel reviewer, London Montgomery, it seems harmless to play as her local tour guide to make sure she enjoys her stay and places his hotel back in the running for the Elites Travel and Life Magazine's hotel of fame. But every moment with London makes Mateu want her just as much as he needs that review.
Constantly working to cover her mother’s medical bills, London needs to have a little fun on this vacation. First on her list: Kiss a hot Spaniard, and her knight-in-shining-Armani at the train station seems to fit that bill—he’s local and definitely hot! But when she discovers the man charming her is really CEO of the hotel she’s reviewing—supposedly secretly—she decides to see how far he’ll go to make her dream vacation a once in a lifetime experience.
Mateu shows her the romance of his city and his soul, but when the truth comes out, the fun is over, and it turns out nobody wins in a game of hearts.
Each book in the International Temptation series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Seducing the Tycoon.
Book #2 Playing the Spanish Billionaire
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Playing the Spanish Billionaire
By MK Meredith, Kate Brauning, Ashley Hearn
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 MK Meredith
All rights reserved.
An afternoon at the Erotic Museum de Barcelona.
Going to a nude beach — if she could find the nerve.
A real Barcelona vermouth barhop.
Kissing a Spaniard.
Ticking through her once-in-a-lifetime vacation agenda was the only thing keeping London Montgomery sane in the middle of the sardine can that was Barcelona's train station. She tightened her hold on her luggage to thwart yet another bump-and-spin ploy by a pickpocket and breathed a sigh of relief her passport, driver's license, and credit card were all safely tucked away inside her bra.
Good luck getting in there without an invitation, boys.
Braver have tried, better have failed.
Though this trip did ensure the potential for finding the perfect sexy invitee. Nothing fit her midnight fantasies better than tall, dark, and Spaniard. A little one-night stand might just be what the doctor ordered to decompress — no better prescription than one that read slam, bam, and thank you, man.
Truth be told, she'd been too effective at keeping the men away the past few years. She wracked her brain to remember the last time she'd been open for business, but the memory was too faded and too fleeting to recall. Well, now was her chance. After years of working nonstop to take care of her mother's medical bills and build a reputation as a sought-after luxury hotel inspector for Elite Travel & Life Magazine ...
She. Was. On. Vacation.
A string of unbreakable migraines and endless weeks of insomnia had landed her in the clinic more than once. Her doctor warned her if she didn't take care of herself, she wouldn't be able to take care of her mother. And that would never do. She would take care of her mother, just like her mother had always taken care of her — on her own.
London could just barely see the doors to outside through the crowd. She weaved around travelers, businessmen, and other vacationers toward the daylight, with her rolling suitcase tight in her grip. Her research about traveling in beautiful Barcelona had taught her a lot, but one thing was paramount: keep your possessions close and your wits closer.
A sharp tug on her sleeveless pantsuit had her grabbing the handle of her luggage tighter to keep from losing her balance. A panicked little girl shook London's hand, tears streaming down her smudged face. The child spoke rapidly, pulling at London to follow and pointing with quick, anxious thrusts of her dirty finger.
London lowered to the little one's eye level and held her gently by the shoulders. "Honey, it's okay. I'll help you."
Large brown eyes welled with more tears and stared back, hopeful and attentive. London's chest tightened. She could only imagine how terrifying it would be to get lost in such a crowded place so young. Using a soft, calm tone, she reassured the little sweetling that she'd help, though there was a good chance the child didn't know English, and she scanned the crowd for anyone who might be able to assist them. The distress in her new friend's eyes shifted, and her attention flitted over London's shoulder before a sly grin stretched wide across her face. She wrenched from London's light grasp and disappeared between the bodies of the crowd.
"Wait," she called after the girl.
Straightening, London tried to see where she went, but there was no chance of finding the child in the sea of casually dressed tourists. With a small shake of her head, she dropped her hand to her rollaway only to meet thin air. "No!"
She spun around, clutching her chest.
Her luggage was gone.
She swallowed against the hot burn crawling up her throat. Pins and needles pricked her fingertips. She wasn't going to cry; she wasn't going to panic. Or so she tried to tell herself.
All her smack talk about the pickpockets was nothing but a false sense of bravado, because she was neither braver nor better at this point. She was a putz — duped by a six-year-old and now luggageless on the dream vacation she'd saved years for. Now that did make her want to cry.
What a dirty, dirty trick.
Straining her neck to look over the swarms of people, she spotted the Policia sign. She wasn't one to give up, and certainly not when it came to her vacation.
Thankfully, she had an extra outfit in the Hobo cross-strap bag that settled against her hip. That would definitely get her to a nude beach, at the very least.
A masculine voice stopped her. "I think I found something that belongs to you."
Slapping both hands over her one remaining bag, she turned toward the masculine voice.
He was tall and dressed like he'd stepped out of an advertisement in her company's magazine. A man that sexy should never be trusted, even if she wasn't already suspicious from having just been scammed by a kid.
The seams of his black dress shirt strained at the shoulder as he pushed her luggage forward, delivering it into her hand.
"Oh my God. How did you find it? That little stinker ..." The flood of relief was so great she didn't even think before she flung herself at the man, nearly tripping over her suitcase. "Thank you so much."
His warmth and fresh scent enveloped her as he caught her to keep her from falling.
Shit. Had she really just thrown herself into the arms of a stranger? She grimaced and slowly released him, brushing his suit as if ridding the evidence of her embarrassment. "I'm sorry." She reached for her luggage, pressing a hand to her temple with a smile. "This is such a relief. Thank you."
"My pleasure, guapa."
He held her gaze, but instead of looking away, she found herself staring mutely back. Snap out of it, dumbass.
But it was hard to do, standing in front of her knight-in-silk-and-Armani.
She pulled her gaze away to check the security of her luggage.
"May I?" He extended his long fingers toward the handle of her luggage, a sprinkling of hair along his knuckles, and placed his other hand on his chest. "I'd like to help. As you can see the dippers in these parts don't shy away from using any methods possible to distract tourists from their valuables."
She blinked twice. Though kind of him to ask, there was no way she was letting her things out of her grasp again. "Thank you, but I've got it."
His eyes skimmed over her face, but he dropped his hand back to his side. "My pleasure." When he said it, her ears heard it more like her pleasure and a heap of hot promises. "And where do we need to deliver you?" he asked with an accent she could listen to on repeat — his English very clear, a tad formal, and a lot intriguing.
She cleared her throat. "Huntington Place."
A broad smile showed straight white teeth and a shallow dimple in his left cheek. "Ahhhh, well this is certainly my good fortune. As fate would have it, I too am heading to Huntington Place. Would you like to share a taxi?"
"No, but thank you."
He dipped his chin. "Of course. Would you be completely opposed to taking the same shuttle, then?"
With a small shake of her head, she fell in step next to him, pulling her luggage. "This is the first time fate has been on my side. First, my girlfriend, who was supposed to come with me, had a family emergency, then my flight got diverted, then that little stinker helped steal my bag." She shook her head. How could anyone involve children in theft?
"Anyway, you've been a huge help. Thank you so much." She tried to see around the walls of people, but even at her height, it was nothing but heads and large terminal signs, though the ceiling was a magnificent array of glass and iron, like an architect had been let loose with a Spirograph.
"I want to be sorry you've had such a difficult time, but then I wouldn't have met such a beautiful woman because of it." His expression warmed from regretful to pleased.
"Are you from around here, then?" she asked.
Those caramel eyes peered down at her through impossible lashes. "Yes, just returning from a trip. I grew up all over Catalonia, but Barcelona mostly. My family owns a local orchard. We have mandarin groves and lemon groves, and they're the official supplier of Huntington Place Barcelona. I have business with the hotel to renegotiate terms for next year." "You work on an orchard?" The fine cut of his shirt and pants made her think more businessman than laborer, though his build bragged of hard work and the potential for a lot of fun.
He nodded. "My whole life, right alongside my parents and siblings. It's a family business, family tradition. A legacy, if you will."
"That's lovely." And she meant it. It had always been just her and her mother. What would it be like to have brothers and sisters all working together? This was perfect. A concept for an article for her magazine's Homeward Bound section popped into her head. If she could just swing by to take a few pictures. A vision of lemon trees popped into her head.
No. Doctor's orders were to relax. Best push away the heart and hearth fairytale before ...
"My great-great-grandfather established the orchard in 1870. Back then, it supplied lemons and mandarins to the local markets, but my father had a mind to expand further."
Oh, what the heck? Her vacation was supposed to be relaxing, but a passion project like this couldn't be denied. If she loved the work she was doing, then who was to say it wasn't relaxing?
Her list grew by one: visit to the citrus orchard. Now she simply had to ask for a tour.
He dipped his chin. "What about you?"
"I'm on my dream vacation. Like I said, I was supposed to have company."
"But you do."
She laughed. "Sure. Like you're going to hang out with me for the next week and a half. But hey, I can't complain. I'm in Barcelona."
"The dippers haven't deterred you?"
"Of course not. It's all worked out, thanks to you. I guess I owe you one. You never did tell me how you accomplished that." She gripped the handle tighter.
"I'd really like to go back to how you owe me." He flashed her a devilish smile.
Her heart skipped a beat, but she chuckled as they followed the current of people through the tunnel of sky-lit iron archways. She loved the architecture of Barcelona — it was one of the many reasons she'd decided on it for her vacation. And she wasn't about to let a little thing like being mugged by a kid ruin her opportunity-of-a-lifetime agenda. She snuck a sidelong glance at her new acquaintance. No doubt kissing a Spaniard was looking like a better and better idea. She pulled in a breath with a grin.
Her boss even had the audacity to call before she'd boarded her plane, hoping to get her to work once he'd found out where she was going. She always said yes, and man, she could use the money.
But not this time.
She needed this break before she broke. Stretching gently from side to side, she was pleased to find her neck wasn't causing her a stress headache for the first time in months, years even. Her new vacation buddy was good for her health and her ego. He was a big guy, the kind who could toss a girl about in the fun kind of way.
Fun. She was due a heap of it. For once, she'd get to sleep on luxury sheets without doing a light test for bedbugs and pee on a toilet without completing a white-glove test on the tiles behind it first. That thought alone was like a day at a spa.
The wheel of her bag caught the seam of the tile and almost sent her flying onto her face.
Her companion stopped walking. "It will be easier if you let me help. Si us plau. Please." When she hesitated, he held her gaze. "No one will take the bag from me. I promise."
She studied him. "Thank you, but I've got it, and it's not because I think you'd take off with it." Liar, liar. She eyed her rollaway, then pointed her finger at him. "Besides, if you did, I'd tackle you to the ground."
Something flared in his eyes. "I wouldn't say things like that, if I were you."
"Oh, I mean every word."
"What if there is nothing I'd like more than to be tackled by my charming American friend?" The question was asked softly, but he pronounced each word succinctly.
She froze for a second, heat rising in her face. Her vacation was certainly looking up, that was for sure. She laughed. "Do men from Barcelona always say such outrageous things?"
Maybe that hadn't been outrageous flirting for him, but it was for her. She couldn't remember when she'd last had time for flirting. Anyway, he was just having some fun with the poor American tourist. Men like him weren't interested in women like her. She was too blunt and had the shoulders of a linebacker. A combination that had burned her more than once.
Out on the sidewalk, she handed over her bag for the driver to carry onto the bus. "Gracias."
Her rescuer pulled out his wallet and lifted two fingers as the man returned.
"Oh, I appreciate the help, but I'll pay my own way," she said.
Surprise flitted across his face. He shook his head. "No need."
He stood back with a quick nod, and she ascended the stairs. As she scooted across the woven canvas, the fresh spice of his cologne moved along with her. It occurred to her a little too late that even with all the others on the bus, sharing the ride might be awkward.
With a tug to each shirt cuff, he settled back and offered his hand. "I'm Mateu Espasa."
His skin was warm and his shake firm, sending a thrill of anticipation rushing down her spine. "London Montgomery. Mateu ... I like the sound of it. What does it mean?"
He smiled. "Gift of God."
From any other man, she'd have laughed outright, but with his large form nearly filling the small bench seat they shared, she found herself comforted by the heat of him. It was all so surreal. Maybe because he'd saved her luggage or maybe because he'd made her transport to the hotel so seamless, but appreciation tightened in her chest. She snuck a peek at her new friend, Mateu.
Finally, she was in Barcelona, on her way to her favorite hotel chain — and this time for pleasure not business — and just maybe, possibly on her way to crossing her favorite once-in-a-lifetime vacation item off her agenda.
She nodded. "Gift of God? After today, I can attest to that."CHAPTER 2
Mateu turned away to watch the city streets out the window. Gift of God, indeed. That bit of information was true, but far from accurate. A gift of God wouldn't have hidden the fact he was the CEO of Huntington Place Barcelona, pretending to visit the hotel to renew a supplier contract — though that part wasn't completely inaccurate. His family orchard was the hotel's sole citrus supplier, but his father had worked his magic on the contract separate of Mateu's influence. The old man had been working with Huntington since before Mateu could read.
Miss London would continue to think he was a gift, or even better, a God — or at the very least that his hotel was heaven. He'd make sure of it.
It was his duty to ensure that she loved her visit so much she wouldn't be able to check out of Huntington Place Barcelona without leaving them a five-star review in Elite Life & Travel Magazine. They'd held the coveted position of the number one hotel in Barcelona four years in a row. A fifth year would have earned them induction into the magazine's "Hotel of Fame" and significant critical recognition.
But they'd lost it. They hadn't made it five years in a row, thanks to cuts and mismanagement from the European director of marketing and sales. Their budget cuts over the previous year stretched beyond orders of pillow mints and well into the hotel's customer care staff. A hotel couldn't be number one if it didn't have the staff to make it work.
If they'd gotten that critical recognition, Mateu would have finally been able to slow down a bit and help his father more with the orchard. The call from his brother last week confirmed it. His father's health was in jeopardy. Every day was wearing on the man, and if something didn't change, his health would suffer.
Mateu studied his travel companion. He wasn't used to women offering to help pay for anything, much less half, or carry their own luggage. The women he'd dated had made spending his money look like a contact sport, and the use of his service staff a white-collar job.
When his assistant had approached him with the identity of London Montgomery as hotel reviewer L.M. Cipriano, he'd never imagined her to be so damned beautiful.
Excerpted from Playing the Spanish Billionaire by MK Meredith, Kate Brauning, Ashley Hearn. Copyright © 2017 MK Meredith. 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 loved this story. It had such a sensual and beautiful feel to it the entire time I was reading it. Mateu was the complete Latin lover package. While I did not like his deceit, he made up for it in the end. My heart hurt for London and all she was going through with her mom. She was strong, but very weary. I admired her do-whatever-it-takes-for-my-mom attitude. I loved the ending and got a little teary eyed. I only wish there was an epilogue because I would love a glimpse of their life in the future. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
Fun predictable read that was enjoyable to watch unfold. . . London’s secret was out, even before she hit the ground. She knows a secret also. Mateu is not just a simple tour guide seeking to make some change. He was the CEO of the very hotel that she came to experience and write about. But the thing was that this was just a chance to make herself have the fun that she so richly deserved. She was a hard-working woman. This read was rich, warm and full of things specific to Barcelona. I loved the history brought in to make things feel more authentic. The sights. The sounds. The chemistry. Mateu bite off a bit more than he was expecting too. London’s world change and she had decisions to make. This was a good afternoon read that gave you a taste of vacation and the sun of the tropics.
A fun jaunt to Barcelona! A misunderstanding starts this book off and continues until everything is cleared up at the end ... it's fun and sassy, sweet and sexy and a nice dip into some foreign culture. When Mateu Espasa gains some secret knowledge that a famous hotel reviewer is going to be staying at his hotel in Barcelona, he sets out to make her stay top notch without letting on that he knows who she is. London Montgomery works hard to support herself and her mother through her medical issues. She's been saving for years for a dream vacation, and is finally taking the time to do it. She's chosen to stay at one of her favorite hotels and is looking forward to her time of relaxation. When she discovers that Mateu is trying to pull a fast one on her because he thinks she's there to do a review. She decides to push his buttons and see how far he'll take it to make sure she has a dream vacation!
I never thought that I should put kissing a Catalan should be on my bucket list, but after reading MK Meredith’s latest, Playing the Spanish Billionaire, my list has definitely been amended. Mateu drew me in with his love of family and good heart. Both he and London were willing to put their love of family over anything. While it takes a while to sort out their game of cat and mouse the ending is perfect. I really enjoyed these characters. I also loved the very brief cameo at the end. Meredith includes the city as a vibrant character which is what truly sets this novel apart. If you are looking for a short vacation to Barcelona this is a perfect book for you. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this novel.
MK Meredith’s second book in her International Temptation series takes readers to Barcelona, Spain. Once again, the Huntington Hotel Chain plays a part in bringing two people not looking for love together. London Montgomery is a highly sought after hotel reviewer for Elite Travel and Life Magazine, writing under the name of L.M. Cipriano. To make sure she doesn’t get any special treatments when she goes into hotels, her true identity is kept strictly confidential. After years of saving money, she’s finally able to go on her dream vacation to Barcelona and experience the city as a true tourist. Before she can even get to her hotel her luggage is stolen, only to be returned a short time later by an Armani clad knight in shining armour. She later finds out her mother, who she has vowed to take care of no matter what, has to be hospitalized and the medicine she needs isn’t covered by insurance. Strapped for money, London is going to have to skip some of her to do list. But all is not lost when London makes a startling discovery and plans to make the most of it. Mateu Espasa is a man of honor. He loves his family and takes great pride in being able to strike out on his own and be successful. Mateu’s drive and strong work ethic has landed him the title of CEO of Huntington Place Barcelona. Needing to stay in Barcelona to help his ailing father at the family’s orchard, Espasa Orchards, he has to make his position at HPB permanent so he can do both jobs. His plan is in jeopardy when HPB’s rating goes down. He thinks earning a 5 star from ETLM will secure his plans. While it goes against everything he believes in, he plans on wining and dining one London Montgomery, who he knows is L.M. Capriano, to make sure the HPB gets the 5 star rating it deserves. What I liked about Playing the Spanish Billionaire was that from the start, the characters of London and Mateu were likeable. I really tried to not like Mateu, but he made it very hard. Even though ultimately they are playing each other, it’s easy to understand why. The secondary characters of Mateu’s family are just as likeable and add so much to the story. Mateu’s brother, Antoni, definitely needs to find his own HEA. I loved that MK took readers on a tour of Barcelona and all the culture it offers. I loved the romanticism Playing the Spanish Billionaire offers, with Mateu and London enjoying each other’s company and slowly falling in love with each other. What I wasn’t a fan of was the use of the Catalan language. I don’t generally have a problem with other languages being used. I can usually figure out the meaning on my own or do a quick and easy search. But I found searching for the Catalan language was hard and time consuming. I think a glossary of all the words used would have been very beneficial. MK Meredith has definitely written a story that dreams are made of. From London meeting a sexy knight in shining armour in her hour of need to having a romantic vacation in a beautiful city to falling head over heels in love, Playing the Spanish Billionaire is a wonderful book to escape into. **Received a copy of the book courtesy of the author and voluntarily reviewed.**
London Montgomery’s has a hectic life as a secret hotel reviewer, having to keep working to fund her mother’s increasing medical bills. Now, however, she’s going to take a break from working and have a real holiday in Barcelona - or that’s what she’d planned, including devising a list of things she’s hoping to do on her dream vacation. Her arrival in the Spanish city has a dramatic encounter at the train station . . . when a handsome Catalan comes to her rescue. It turns out he’s going to the same hotel . . . . is this fate? Her rescuer is Mateu Espasa and he’s actually the CEO of the hotel she’s staying at - but he’s not telling her that! He knows her undercover job and assumes she’s working. He’s determined to ensure she has a 5* experience so her review will reflect well on the hotel. However, the two are seriously attracted and sometimes the best laid plans can have added twists! With both keeping secret their knowledge of the other, motives are bound to be questioned and the big reveal open to misinterpretation and confrontation. When confession time arrives the reactions are heated and potentially romance killing. However the reconciliation makes it all worthwhile and the ending is both heartwarming and endearing - it certainly left a smile on my face! This is a fast-paced, action packed and enthralling read. The author brings the characters vividly to life and it is especially easy to empathise with the main characters and their concerns regarding the health of one of their parents. I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read by this talented author and I have no hesitation in highly recommending this to other lovers of romance who really should also check out her other books! I requested and received a copy of this book via NetGalley without any obligation. This is my honest opinion after reading it.
Playing the Spanish Billionaire by M.K. Meredith......I loved, loved, loved this book!! OMG, M.K. Meredith sucks us readers into this beautiful story. Mateu a hot sexy hotel owner in a beautiful area and London a hotel reviewer, what more can a romance reader ask for. I absolutely enjoyed seeing this story play out, it put a smile on my face. I highly recommend this book. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
Playing the Spanish Billionaire by M.K. Meredith is Book 2 of the International Temptation Series. Oh mah dayummmm...I’m so in lurve. Vivid and captivating, I was swept away with this story. I’ve found myself a new go-to author. Yay me! Please note that an ARC was generously provided in exchange for an honest review of which this is both honest and completely voluntary.
Loved this book! Not only is it a wonderful romance but I learned so much about the Catalan countryside, history and culture. The incredibly descriptive writing of this author made everything come to life before me. Mateu Espasa is the hotelier trying to get his hotel the five star rating he thinks it deserves (and truthfully needs) from London Montgomery. London is suppose to be on the vacation of a lifetime but when life trips her up again she decides to make it a working vacation. Since she works as a reviewer for a travel magazine it shouldn't be a big deal. Until she discovers exactly who Mateu is and what he's trying to do. This is a fun, light, easy read that I think everyone will enjoy. I highly recommend it.
Loved! This is a delicious story that starts with London arriving in Barcelona for her dream vacation of a lifetime. Upon arrival, an urchin swipes her luggage and a handsome local man gets it back for her. They begin to speak and are both a bit smitten. London is a professional hotel reviewer and is published under an alias. Unfortunately, one of Mateu's employees knows her alias and has tipped him off to who she is. Thus begins an elaborate deceit - Mateu's of his true purpose in wining and dining her, and London's in that she knew who is was, but allowed it anyway and why she allowed it. Somewhere along the way, in the midst of all the deceit, each secretly fell in love with the other. The author has a wonderful way to storytelling that just makes me fall in love with her characters. As if it wasn't enough to fall in love with London, Mateu, and their families, she made me fall in love with Barcelona. Her descriptions of the region are beautiful and made me feel almost like I was there....and like I'd like to travel there and experience the region for myself. Fans of the genre will love this book. The author is on my must read authors' list and should probably be on yours as well. This is a must read novel.
Playing the Spanish Billionaire by M.K. Meredith This Mateu Espasa and London Montgomery's story. Oh my goodness!! I couldn't put this book down. Wow!! this book was a perfect balance of passion, humor, secrets, family, love, etc. At times I laughed and cried. The banter and the passion between Mateu and London was so amazing. They are perfect for one another. Mateu and London's characters will pull you in. They are so much fun. I fell in love with them and their families. There were some really funny moments that had me laughing so hard. Also, the passion and chemistry between Mateu and London was hot! You just need to read the book! Credit also needs to be given to the descriptions of the foods, museums, orchard, and the beach. It made me feel as if I was there experiencing it. I could smell the Catalan bread (pa amb tomàquet) cooking and the fresh crisp smell of the lemons and the feel of the breeze while standing in the orchard. I want to live at the orchard, eat the Catalan bread, drink fresh lemonade, and snuggle with my sweetie! I loved this beautifully written romance! M.K. Meredith did an amazing job! A perfect way to unwind, relax, or escape for a while. I can't express enough how much fun this story was to me. A must read! FYI, contains mature content. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.