People who love Mills and Boon, like I do, will know what I’m saying when I say that you either really LOVE them or you DESPISE them. There is no middle ground.
I am one of those who LOVE them and I believe I must have spent most of my conscious time on the planet justifying and explaining why these books are a gift to humankind (or womankind *wink*) and everyone should read them.
It’s pretty obvious why girls should read it, but I strongly believe that men should read Mills and Boon novels too. It gives them an insight into what women really want (A multi zillionaire who offers to save or ruin her family if she does/doesn’t pretend to be his fiance/wife to secure a business deal) and a lot about love and relationships in general.
A major reason why Mills and Boons are such a hit is probably because the writers write characters which women can fall in love with. Basically they all fall under the same category: Extremely hot, arrogant, super rich and, more often than not, complete jerks, who eventually turn out to be petty great.
They would make a ridiculous proposition to the woman, often involving blackmail, and the woman would agree to the said ridiculous proposition and ultimately they’ll fall in love. Who am I kidding? If Hrithik Roshan ever propositioned me like that I would agree even before he finsihed his sentence. I am shallow like that.
But having said that, there are several authors who have attempted to deviate from the mould of a Mills and Boon man and give us something with depth and more character. So I randomly picked out 11 Mills and Boons from my collection, re read them again (for research purposes, ofcourse) and decided to rate them. Because why not?
Side note: Exoticness in M&B world counts if the guy is from a different nationality than the girl.
Here are 11 exotic M&B men and their likability ratings.
1) Andreas Xenides, His Mistress For a Million (by Trish Morey)
O.K so probably the title of the book is a little suggestive, but no judgements.I love Mills and Boons but sometimes the titles and back of the book descriptions can be a little cringeworthy. Take this one as an example:
For one million dollars: mistress at his mercy!
Jobless, homeless and penniless: humble housekeeper Cleo Taylor seeks a suitable position of employment. All good offers accepted…
Billionaire tycoon Andreas Xenides seeks beautiful woman for business contract on the luxury island of Santorini,
Terms: mistress for a month.
Salary: one million dollars.
Training will be given…
I swear I haven’t changed a single word or text style in the above description. But they’re good, so you can look past it.
So Andreas is a Greek multi billionaire and is obviously arrogant and hot as hell. The guy is driven by a thirst for revenge for the man who duped his father off a lot of money and caused him to commit suicide and so Andreas buys AND closes out the hotel where the aforementioned bad guy works. He kicks him out and gets his revenge as now the man is pitiful and broke. But he finds at the hotel, Cleo, a housekeeper, who is slightly worse for wear and highly dismayed now that she’s lost her job. So our exteremely hot, multi billionaire guy offers her a job… in his pants. hahahahahaa!
No, for real.
He literally offers her a million dollars if she ‘pretends’ to be his mistress for a month.
So for the people who are not very familiar with this genre of literature, when a guy asks, nay demands, that you be his ‘pretend’ mistress for a specified duration of time, he basically means that you’re going to be sleeping together, despite whatever your contract stipulates. It’s just ineveitable, given your sizzling chemistry and attraction.
As an M&B guy, Andreas is suitably exotic and arrogant, but is fairly reasonable throughout. So that sort of earns him extra points.
2) Sheikh Malik of Jahfar, Marriage Behind the Facade (by Lynne Ray Harris)
So the back of the book goes like:
Summoned to the desert sands…
Sydney Reed dreamed of being a princessin a faraway land, and couldn’t believe that smoulderingly sexy Sheikh Malik of Jahfar would marry plain old her- even out of convenience.
But the dream has ended and she’s back to reality with a thud!
Now Sidney needs his signature on the divorce- Malik, however, has other ideas.
Jahfran law requires that they spend forty days together as man and wife before Sydney can be free of him forever.
Out in the scorching desert Malik holds all the power- he’ll make sure their forty nights are more than worth it…
The guy is basically Arab royalty, so that kind of gets him really high on the ‘being exotic’. So Malik is this hot shot memebr of this royal family of a fictional arab kingdom called Jahfar, and he had married Sidney, our heroine, in Paris but due to some misunderstanding, Sidney thought that he thought that their marriage had been a huge mistake, and so she ran away from him and now wants a divorce. So far so Sweet Home Alabama (not really, but I just love the movie so bad!). Anyways, they both have to spend a month together in the scorching heat of the desert (a possible metaphor for their own scorching chemistry, eh?) and then they can be granted a divorce. BUT. Malik is sneaky. He had actually made up this bizzaro rule just so he can buy some more time to convince Sidney that they should not get divorced. That can be the sweetest or the sneakiest thing ever, but since it all worked out in the end, we’ll go with sweetest.
A negative strike in his chart comes from him being emotionally closed off, which is generally a pre requisite for any M&B guy, but Malik’s aloofness was partly the reason Sidney left him, so it counts. But his emotional distantness roots from his childood and he kind of starts working on it by the end. Plus marks to him for having survival skils (they survived a sandstorm while trapped in a Land Rover, in the desert).
3) Chase Whitaker, His for Revenge (by Caitlin Crews)
Here’s what the back of the book reads:
The marriage game…
Walking down the aisle towards the striking but cold CEO Chase Whitaker was never meant to be Zara Elliot’s fate. But to safeguard the family business she’ll have to play along…
Chase is only interested in one thing- his own dark game of revenge against Zara’s father. the one thing he hasn’t counted on…? Zara’s charm and natural beauty unsettling his rock-hard defensces.
Their wedding night proves to be a game-changer, and they both realise they’re in over their heads.
Losing was never an option for Chase… but winning suddenly takes on a very different meaning!
Chase, for the former part of the book, behaves in the typical manner of any guy who is out for revenge and is all dark and brooding. But. Points for Zara here, because she is spunky, charming and manages to get through Chase’ wall of defences. After all that happens, Chase becomes quiet a likeable guy, and the way he dealt with Zara’s father and the fact that Zara did not blame him for whatever he had to do to beat her evil father, only adds to the liekability of the entire story and hence makes Chase one of the more likeable guys around.
4) Xenon Kanellis, The Greek’s Marriage Bargain (by Sharon Kendrick)
The back of the book description:
Renewing their vows?
Xenon Kanellis is not a man who fails, and certainly not a man who gets divorced. Now, with the perfect opportunity to get hs wife back where she belongs- on his arm and in his bed- his immaculate record will be restored.
Lexi Kanellis needs her estranged husband’s help… even if that means playing the good Greek wife for a few more weeks. The island sun is no match for the reignited heat between them, but no amount of passion can erase the memory of what tore them apart…
Now Xenon (is it just me, or does his name sound like a comic book planet?) has everything stacked against him from the start. It is clear that he is a typical Greek male, chauvnistic, aloof, arrogant and proud. BUT, what makes Krypton, sorry Xenon, different from the other similar M&B men is that he acknowledges these traits as flaws and throughout the book, tries to overcome them. For instance, he hired a woman as his driver and, in the end, adopted a kid (apparently a big deal for arrogant Greek men).
Adding to his likeability is the fact that he actually tries hard to make his marriage work and not just because of some stupid pride thing, but because he genuinely loved Lexi.
Exoticness: 8+ 1 (because of the name)= 9/10
5) Lucien Steele, Rumours on the Red Carpet (by Carole Mortimer)
As far as back of the book descriptions go, this isn’t so bad.
Learning at the hands of a billionaire
When the chance of a dream holiday lands in Thia Hammond’s lap it’s too much to resist. Suddenly this innocent waitress is propelled from her quiet English life into the glittering world of New York’s scandalous elite and the glare of paparazzi flashbulbs.
Catching the eye of internationally renowned business mogul Lucien Steele, Thia knows she’s about to learn a thing or teo about life in the fast lane! For once in her carefully ordered existence she will take not what is safe, but what she really wants.
This was one of my favourites amongst the eleven I read for this ‘research’. The fact that it was one of those M&Bs in which the guy had no agenda against the heroine or someone close to her, and had no ulterior motive to be with her, made Lucien stand out amongst the rest of his counterparts.
He did not demand or lay down any convoluted deal in front of Thia to compell her to date him, he asked her out and O.K so maybe he used some sneaky tactics to coerce her into moving in to his hotel, but that was purely because the hotel Thia had chosen was skeazy and shady as hell.
He respected her need to be independent throughout and there was no unnecessary drama anywhere.
Exoticness: 7/10 (for being part French)
6) Zack Parsons, One Night in Paradise (by Maisey Yates)
Back of the book description:
All her most exotic fantasies are about to bubble over into reality!
Clara Davis knows the moment yes slips from her lips that she’s in way over her head. Just how is she supposed to be her boss’s fiancée on his luxury honeymoon?
Zack Parsons’s Don’t date the staff rule has prevented him from ever seeing beyond Clara’s baker’s apron. But now he’s looking at her in a completely different, rather more tempting lght. Giving in to one night of wickedness should be enough to staisfy their new-found cravings…
Now Maisey Yates is one of my favourite authors, in this genre, and one of her books HAD to be included as all her characters are well written and, more often than not, very likeable too.
The best part about Zack Parsons was that he did not treat Clara as just an employee. She was his friend and they shared a comfortable comraderie throughout. He was funny and respected Clara’s opinions too. Also, he baked terrible cupcakes for her to apologize for being a jerk! ADORABLE.
7) Titus Alexander, Back in the Headlines (By Sharon Kendrick)
Back of the book description:
What woman wouldn’t get all hot and bothered if Titus Alexander was staring at her like that?
As part of a number-one-selling girl band, Roxanne Carmichael was used to having the eyes of thousands on her. But now she’s scrubbing floors one condescending look from the Duke of Torchester fires her blood with fury… and attraction!
Titus doesn’t suffer fools, and does not drop his guard. But his new chambermaid is threatening his iron self- control with those legs and that wicked mouth! There’s only one way he can get her out of his system- and that’s to get her into his bed!
Spolier alert: He doesn’t get her out of his system.
Now Titus started out arrogant, jugemental and assumed the worst of Roxanne even before he had met her. But gradually he started realizing his own mistakes (in the assuming horrible things about her part) and (a rarity amongst M&B men) admitted his mistakes. The fact that Roxanne’s character is also a delight is just another plus.
The best part in this one was when Titus takes Roxanne out for a day in the village and buys her gloves, and just spends the day with her, despite his aversion to dating.
8) Gabriel Cabrera, To Sin with the Tycoon (By Cathy Williams)
Back of the book description:
With the quirk of an eyebrow, Gabriel Cabrera can get anything he wants!
That is until he meets PA Alice Morgan and realises three things:
1) He’s jealous… a first.
2) He’s in pursuit… a first.
3) She’s immune to his charms… definitely a first!
So he’ll draw her to him- his every word an innuendo promising pleasure, his every touch sinfully seductivee- and sweet, virginal Alice will come to him willingly so Gabriel can claim his prize…
Gabriel is your average M&B man. Rich, gorgeous and arrogant as hell. He takes it personally when Alice doesn’t fall at his feet (or in his bed!) just because he wanted it. He constantly wonds her up and uses his ‘charms’ to seduce her, all the while making it clear that he is not interested in a permanent relationship. Finally, before sleeping together, Alice makes it clear that they would only have sex till the time they’re in Paris and will go back to being boss and PA once they return.
But Gabriel decides he wants more now and when she refuses, to punish her, he starts dating again, making her book restaurants and what not.
He then proceeds to follow her to her mother’s home and then strong arms his way in her house, charming her mother and utimately winning her over.
It all worked out in the end, because Alice also loved him, but it doesn’t excuse Gabriel’s behaviour though.
9) Alexander del Castillo, Honour- Bound Groom (by Yvonne Lindsay)
Back of the book description:
Mr. August: Alexander del Castillo,
CEO and eldest son
His dillema: End his family’s curse
His only choice: Marry… or else
Alexander was betrothed from childhood- his future held a wife not of his own choosing. Thankfully bride-to-be Loren Dubois was more than suited for her place at his side- and in his bed. But the businessman never expected his beautiful bride to get under his skin… or into his heart.
I disliked Alexander del Castillo for more than one reason. He was selfish, manipulative and cold. He knew that Loren was in love with him, and used that fact to make her marry him and in order to save HIS company a PR disaster. Adding to his jerkness was the fact that he ahd thought that once Loren was good and pregnant, he would start another affair with one of his mistresses.
When Loren realised that Alex was basically an ass and would not love her back, she very graciously agreed to fulfill the demands of the contract (that she would have to deliver an heir) but only if it’s done through IVF. This was not accepted by him becasue apparently it questioned his manliness and being the selfish ass that he was, he refused her one and only demand.
Even his abrupt turn in the end (he fell in love with her) seemed hurried and was not at all redeeming.
10) Ryan Sheppard, His Christmas Acquisition (by Cathy Williams)
Here’s what the back of the book says:
There’s only one item left on entrepreneur Ryan Sheppard’s christmas list- something scandalous for his buttoned-up secretary…
It seems that disapproving Jamie Powell is the only woman that doesn’t fall at Ryan’s feet. Jamie is well aware of her boss’s heartbreaker reputation… fending off his discarded women is virtually part of her job description!
Ryan’s hoping a Christman trip to the Carribean will entice Jamie out of her pencil skirt and into the skimpiest of bikinis! And, with the boardroom transferred to the beach, surely there’s little harm in indulging in a little festive pleasure on the side…?
Ryan seems to be almost a carbon copy of Gabriel (To Sin With the Tycoon- see no 8), which given the fact that both are written by the same author, is quiet plausible.
Ryan is slightly less self involved than Gabriel, but once again the fact that a woman who does not think that he is the gift from God to women challenges him and he HAS to seduce her.
I can’t even think of anything different for Ryan. I guess the fact that he cared for his mother and sisters lend him a little likability.
11) Damon Doukakis, Doukakis’s Apprentice (By Sarah Morgan)
Back of the book description:
Wanted: willing apprentice to handle indecently arrogant (but incredibly sexy) tycoon
With her family business in crisis Polly Prince does her best to keep calm and carry on. But hard work alone can’t save her company from a takeover by the infamously ruthless Damon Doukakis… or her traitorous body from the lethal sensuality of her boss!
As his new apprentice, Polly accompanies Damon to Paris to negotiate the business deal of her life! Worse still, Polly must at all costs resist Damon in the most dangerously romantic city in the world…
I LOVED this one. It has everything. A strong, opinionated, crazy, intelligent, emotional female lead, gorgeous, super rich, caring, arrogant, emotionally healthy man and PARIS.
(To be fair, even Gabriel- no 8- took Alice to Paris, but NO.)
So Damon Doukakis is angry, because his sister has eloped with Polly’s father and are now AWOL.
In order to fish them out, he takes over Polly’s company.
He is reasonable throughout, even though he had unfair assumptions about Polly before he found out that she was the brain behind every succesfull campaign of te company, and he wanted to date her, and not just sleep with her. Also, he made sure Polly got her dream of studying further.
The fact that the guy on the cover looks slightly like Hugh Jackman is just another strike in his favor.
Likability: 10+2 (for Polly)= 12/10!!!