Rating: 3 stars
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David Talhoone is known as the “Ice Prince” around the office. He’s the personal assistant to the CEO of the company and his icy demeanor keeps unwanted visitors away and his boss productive. He’s not only cold in the office, but outside of it as well. He is the caretaker for his older, autistic brother, and Sammy is his main priority. David doesn’t have time or the desire to let his guard down and bring someone else into his life, other than his wonderful elderly neighbor who cares for Sammy while he’s at work.
When Nick Masterson pays a visit to his father’s office, he meets his assistant, David, and things start off on the wrong foot. David assumes Nick is just another nosy employee and his icy demeanor doesn’t go over well with the boss’ son. Nick’s been away for a year while he tries to get over a horrible break-up, and now that he’s back, his father wants him in the office, helping him run the business. As they’re discussing Nick’s intentions, the discussion turns to David. They’re both betting men, so Nick and his father agree to a wager: Nick has three months to break the Ice Prince and become his lover. If he loses, he has to work for his dad. If he wins, he gets access to his father’s yacht for the summer. It’s all in good fun, right?
Pretty quickly, Nick realizes that this is going to be more than a bet for him. He instantly feels an attraction toward David and, when he is suddenly thrust into the midst of David’s crazy life, his feelings only get stronger. After only two weeks together, things have moved really fast for these two and Nick knows he needs to tell David about the bet or risk losing him forever.
This story had some real potential, but unfortunately it was plagued by a predictable and inconsistent plot. Let’s start with the good. The characters were easy to love. The family feeling between David, Sammy, and their neighbor, Ms. Petty, was heartwarming. Sammy in particular was a sweet, charming, utterly lovable character. And Nick, while initially pursuing David for all the wrong reasons, is a wonderful support to the two brothers and a perfect partner for David.
The plot was the major issue here for me. The idea itself is kind of ridiculous. A bet to see if Nick can seduce the Ice Prince? Not only is it wholly inappropriate for David’s boss and boss’ son to wager this bet, it just seems like such an unbelievable thing to agree to between two consenting adults. It seems like the plot moves forward entirely in this manner — one implausible or too convenient situation after another. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but a major example of this is a conversation that David overhears in which he only hears the words that give him the wrong impression of the conversation and doesn’t hear any of the others that would clear up the confusion. As if there was some sort of loud/soft dial being turned up and down during the entire conversation. Sure, it helped the major conflict come to a head, but it just wasn’t plausible.
There were also several inconsistencies in the book that helped keep things moving ahead, regardless of its authenticity. For instance, David complains, after a forced separation, that Nick does not try to contact him, and this is the thing that hurts him most of all. Whereas just a few pages before, it was made clear that Nick tried calling David several times and finally had to give up when his phone number was deliberately disconnected. There are flexible hospital rules and regulations when it was necessary for the plot, and, while I don’t want to get into this too in-depth, Sammy’s autism did not seem well-researched or accurately portrayed. As I have a son with the disorder that Sammy has, Asperger’s Syndrome, not much of his behavior was consistent with what I know of the disorder. These are just a few of things that didn’t really match up well for me throughout the book.
The plot is unoriginal and formulaic and almost seemed to be following instructions from a “How to Write a Romance Novel” manual. Don’t get me wrong. This book is easy to read and mostly harmless. Everything was just too convenient and too unbelievable, which made for a bit of a boring read. Unfortunately, I can’t give it my recommendation.