Review: The Tycoon by M O’Keefe

Reviewed by Caitlin

The King Family series is going to be four books long with three authors contributing. Molly O’Keefe wrote the first one – The Tycoon – and I believe she wrote the fourth one, which will be out in the fall and about which I am very excited.

The books so far revolve around the King family – a ridiculously rich family in a small town outside of Dallas, TX – and the death of the narcissistic, chauvinistic, selfish asshole of a father. The first book is Veronica’s book.

Veronica (Ronnie) King is the oldest legitimate child of Hank King. Five years ago, when Ronnie was twenty-two, she was engaged to Clayton Rorick, one of the most promising employees at King Industries. She was over-the-moon in love with the coolly confident man who gave her the best orgasms she’d ever had. She wasn’t the pretty one, as everyone seemed to delight in telling her, but she was smart and practical and Clayton sure seemed to think she was beautiful.

However, Veronica overhears a pretty damning conversation between Hank and Clayton at their engagement party. Clayton said he was promised a certain bit of land in return for the upcoming marriage, and Hank wants to wrap it up as a “baby bonus.” Veronica believes Clayton has been wooing her as a deal, a business decision, instead of out of actual feeling. Furious and betrayed, Ronnie breaks off the engagement and leaves the ranch. She and her sister Beatrice start a new life in Austin, and Ronnie has no contact with her Clayton or her father again.

Hank’s death in the present means she has to come back for the will. Normally, because Veronica has built up a nice life for herself as a financial consultant helping vulnerable women get on their feet, she would have passed. But Bea wants to go, and Veronica won’t make her go by herself.

Clayton has been keeping tabs on Veronica. He has her phone number. He knows where she lives and where she works. She points out it’s creepy and stalkerish; he says he just wanted to make sure she’s okay. She doesn’t believe him (why should she?), but when the will leaves everything to Clayton unless their bastard (as in born out-of-wedlock, but also he’s kind of a dick tbh) brother Dylan claims it within six months.

Veronica thinks this sucks, but she’d rather not deal with the money. The problem is that Bea is in serious financial trouble, and she needs Veronica to bail her out. Clayton agrees to help Ronnie help her sisters – if she agrees to marry him. He doesn’t expect her to love him, but he does expect a real marriage in every other way.

Well. Veronica, feeling protective of her sisters and annoyingly still attracted to Clayton, agrees. Clayton does a few things that are underhanded, but he agrees to tell no lies and does everything he can to woo her.

I read this book for a few reasons: the cover model is the same one as American King by Sierra Simone and he is very handsome (#noregrets), it was on KU so it wasn’t going to cost me anything, and it had some really good reviews. Because I’ll be honest – coercing someone into marriage is not usually my trope. I liked it in Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas well enough, but there’s something real gross about doing it in a contemporary novel.

But it worked. It worked because Clayton is actually fantastic. It worked because you truly believed Clayton didn’t know how to interact with people and genuinely wanted to learn. It worked because Clayton isn’t an unfeeling alpha male who wants what’s his – he’s a scared boy who grew up with absolutely no affection or financial security, and he has no idea how to be a person. It worked because Clayton actually grew as a character. He let her go when he needed to. He owned up to his mistakes. His grovel wasn’t a half-assed “look, I’m sorry, it’s just because I want you;” it was a “you were my entire world from the time I was 16 and I had no idea how to deal with that.”

In fact, I really believed Clayton didn’t want to “own” Veronica. He just wanted to love her, and he had no idea how to even begin to communicate that. O’Keefe does an excellent job with a storyline I’ve seen several times and, while enjoyable as fluffy entertainment, I’ve never¬†liked¬†before. But I liked it this time.

Ronnie is a fun character too, although I wish she had a bit more confidence. There’s a lot of talk about her being the “plainest” King sister that I didn’t need.

So far, of the three King Family novels out, I would say this is by far the strongest. (We do get a lot more of Veronica’s POV than Clayton’s, and I wish it was a little more even, but oh well.) The other two heroes do things that were flat-out mean and the grovel sequences were not as exquisite as this one. Clayton is never mean; he just doesn’t know how to be until Veronica shows him.

Rating: B

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Tycoon
by M O’Keefe
Release Date: July 12, 2018

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