Untouched Until Her Ultra-Rich Husband by Dani Collins is a unique and sexy modern marriage of convenience romance.
Luli Cruz has lived a life very different from most of her peers. As a child growing up in Venezuela, her mother trained her for the beauty pageant life but ended up ‘giving’ Luli as a fourteen year old to an older woman from Singapore in payment for her debts. It was a better life than Luli could have asked for given the alternative. Mae treated Luli more like an adopted daughter than a servant and Luli soon became an indispensable assistant to Mae for all her business endeavors as well as an accomplished computer coder. When Mae unexpectedly dies of a stroke, her grandson Gabriel Dean discovers that the assistant he always assumed was actually a computer app, is in fact a live, breathing, beautiful young woman.
Gabriel is in a quandary. Luli can’t be given severance and turned out into the street as she never was paid for any of her work, she has no passport, and is technically in Singapore illegally. Sent back to Venezuala she’ll end up in the slums and with no official work experience to put on a resume. It’s discovered that Mae had been making plans for Luli’s future by scoping out prospective husbands, including Gabriel himself! It is in fact a good solution – if he marries Luli, she will gain legitimacy, money he’ll be happy to provide her (having just become a trillionaire by way of his grandmother’s inheritance) and can scope out her own future for herself. They can marry for a short time, get divorced and go their separate ways. But what happens if one or the other falls in love?
What an interesting setup! It’s unlike any other I’ve come across and Luli’s position is indeed a unique one. In one way she was an indentured servant to Mae as she could never leave her home since she was in Singapore illegally, but Mae treated her like a daughter so Luli is grateful to her because she could have ended up as some rich man’s plaything instead. Her hurt at her mother’s easy abandonment of her means that she’s wary of love and intimate relationships. She must use all her wits to get Gabriel not to throw her out, so she sets up booby traps in his software to blackmail him into keeping her position working for Mae’s company. But Gabriel does her one better by offering marriage which will mean a passport and her first real chance at freedom.
Luli is an innocent when it comes to men though not at the art of manipulation having gone through her beauty pageant training. Yet she’s not interested in getting him into bed with her, only in securing her future. Gabriel though is very attracted to this intelligent beauty and they do eventually share some steamy scenes though it’s a slow burn romance as they take each others measure.
Gabriel doesn’t believe in love, having gone through abandonment by his mother and being raised by his drunken father. His relationship with his grandmother was a distant one with respect for their computer and business acumen but no familial affection. He’s appalled at how she kept Luli hidden in her household for eight years, and determined to do right by her. But he can’t promise her love, the one thing she secretly desires. Of course as they spend time together, their feelings get all tangled up and things don’t turn out as expected.
The setting of the story crosses the world, from Singapore to Paris to Africa to New York, highlighting Gabriel’s luxurious lifestyle. But Luli is not swept away by his wealth. She wants the man within. They get their lovely happy ending, complete with a sweet epilogue. Strong characters and unique circumstances make for a thoroughly enjoyable romance!
Publication: May 21, 2019 | Harlequin Presents |
The only woman to challenge him… …is the only woman he’ll marry!
Multibillionaire Gabriel Dean is so outrageously wealthy that when computer genius Luli Cruz uses her skills to hold his inheritance to ransom, her audacity simply amuses him! Innocent Luli needs Gabriel’s help to avoid destitution. Gabriel’s solution? He’ll secure both their futures by marrying her! But sweeping wide-eyed Luli into his luxurious world, Gabriel discovers the chemistry with his untouched wife is priceless…Welcome to the exclusive world of the ultra-rich…