Friday, September 21, 2018

Hiding With the Billionaire (Billionaires of REKD #1), by Donna K. Weaver

Emerald Arch Publishing, September 2018

Billionaire romances are not usually my thing; they often feel especially artificial. I can't necessarily claim this one is grounded solidly in reality, but I like the characters. They, including the four billionaire friends, seem like real, credible, likable people.

The basic background: A few years ago, some Harvard students, while still in grad school, created a game which hit it big, and sold it for millions. With that money, they started their company, REKD, and created a new game, a competitive arena type game, and went big into esports. Our first billionaire, Rafe Davis, is the CEO of the company, and persuaded his friends to locate in his native North Carolina, to be near his mother, stepfather, and younger siblings. Another of the friends, Kayn, has a sister, Ahri, who got married three years ago, to a guy Kayn never approved of.

For the past year, their marriage has been getting steadily worse. Then one day he comes home, tells her he's leaving, and oh, by the way, she needs to get out, too, because otherwise she'll be in real danger. Go to her mother, or her brother.

Well, their mother moved back to Korea, so really, her brother is the only option.

And thus she is thrown together with Rafe, and with Rafe's family, because they're coming up on a new release, and staying in Kayn's condo while hiding from the people who are definitely chasing her is just too isolating. Rafe's mother could use some extra help around her B&B, she says, and soon Ahri is settled in, helping with Rafe's younger siblings and the vegetable garden, in addition being installed at REKD to cover the maternity leave of Rafe's office manager.

Rafe, like Ahri and Kayn, grew up poor and was a scholarship kid, before he, Kayn, and the others got rich in gaming. Their fathers, in different ways, each abandoned their families. And Ahri is just as much into gaming as Rafe and Kayn.

I do really like that she speaks up about some of the stupidities of this type of game--including women warriors going into battle in "armor" that is basically heavy, uncomfortable lingerie, providing no protection at all. Rafe is reluctant to hear it, but she doesn't back down.

The tension cranks up with Ahri's ex is found dead, murdered, and again when the truck that was moving her possessions from Arizona, not to North Carolina but to another state, to see if it got followed without telling the bad guys where to look for Ahri, really does get attacked.

I'm not saying the plot is actually believable. It's just that Weaver is really good with characters, and with keeping things moving, and with making me perfectly happy to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the ride.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the author, and am reviewing it voluntarily.