Billionaire with Benefits (Romancelandia #2) by Anne Tenino

BillionaireWithBenefits_400x600It’s just a friend thing

Before confessing his gayness to his best friend, Tierney Terrebonne’s sex life is strictly restroom. After confessing his gayness to his best friend . . . it doesn’t improve much. Why bother trying when the man he’s loved for fourteen years (see: “best friend”) is totally unattainable? Good thing Tierney is an old hand at accepting defeat; all it takes is a bottle of bourbon. Or fifty. Repeat as needed.

Dalton Lehnart has a history of dating wealthy, damaged, closeted, lying, cheating, no-good, cowardly men, so of course he’s immediately attracted to Tierney Terrebonne. Fortunately, Tierney is so dissolute that even Dalton’s feelings for the man would be better described as pity. Which becomes sympathy as they get to know each other. Followed by compassion, concern, caring, and hopefulness as Tierney struggles to change his life. When the man comes out very publicly and enters rehab, Dalton finds himself downright attached to Tierney. And as everyone knows, after attachment comes . . .

Uh oh.

But post-rehab Tierney can’t handle more than friendship, so Dalton should be safe from repeating his own past mistakes, right? Right?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1You probably noticed that I was one of the stops on the Billionaire with Benefits Virtual Book Tour. Anne Tenino explained in that post that this installment of Romancelandia took a lot longer to write than expected which, in turn, made the time span between Too Stupid to Live and Billionaire with Benefits a little longer. To be honest, I hadn’t noticed. (Don’t judge, I read a lot…) That is, until I started reading this book and realized that I didn’t really remember the characters from the first book. That’s okay though, because there was a fair amount of overlap in the beginning of Billionaire with Benefits. It didn’t take me long to get up to speed. (Plus, it gave me an excellent excuse to re-read the first book – you know, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything important. 😉 )

There are a couple of things that draw me into Anne Tenino’s books. The first is humor. Her characters are witty and real. They had dimension and were all well rounded, but none of them took themselves too seriously – for the most part. Which brings me to the second thing that draws me in… there were some pretty tough issues in this book. Bashing, prejudice, abuse (mental, physical and substance.) The humor took the edge off, but it didn’t diminish any of it.

Tierney was broken. Dalton had pulled himself out of a past that he had no intention of repeating. Together they were perfect, whether they knew it at first or not. Having Ian and Sam in the middle of it all kept things interesting. A lot of ground was covered in Billionaire with Benefits. Past and present was woven together perfectly. The dynamic between friends, family, lovers and even enemies kept things interesting and I loved every minute of it.

Just a side note. The title doesn’t really do this book justice. Yes, Tierney comes from money and Dalton doesn’t, but this isn’t your stereotypical ‘have – have not’ romance. It very easily could have been, given Dalton’s history, but it never went there – which is a good thing.

Hopefully there won’t be as much of a time lapse between Billionaire with Benefits and the next and final book in the Romancelandia series. Regardless, I’ll be waiting patiently for the next installment. 😉

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Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia #1) by Anne Tenino

TooStupidToLive

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now—possibly—ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong . . . can they?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I had been eyeing Anne Tenino’s books for a while before I finally picked up Frat Boy and Toppy. I’m so glad that I finally picked it up. Her characters are smart, witty, fun and caring – Too Stupid to Live was no exception.

Sam and Ian are not the perfect couple. In fact, they are pretty much the opposite of perfect. Ian is an ex-firefighter and a jock who was really good at hiding who he is. Sam is a gangly, uncoordinated geek who loves to read romance novels and is very comfortable with who he is, even if he doesn’t have a lot of self esteem. You can’t choose who you fall in love with though, right?

Like I said, the characters are the draw in all of Tenino’s books. Not only the main characters either. The supporting characters are just as important. They all play off each other. They don’t pull any punches and they give each other honesty and support when they need it most – even if the person receiving it doesn’t want it. The book also switches POV between Ian and Sam, which is a good thing. I think without a glimpse of what was going on inside Ian’s head I wouldn’t have liked him at all. Not that I didn’t want to smack him more than once regardless. He came off as a jerk, but he also had a lot of baggage and most of it he was still dealing with. Sam, on the other hand, was someone I would love to have as a friend. He was sweet, lovable, honest and quirky. His inner dialogue was perfect and gave readers an idea of exactly who he was.

Too Stupid to Live was more than a light and funny romance. It dealt with a lot of serious issues too. Family, tolerance, prejudice to the extreme and a lot more were covered. It wasn’t just glossed over either. The things that happened touched all of them and the love, support and respect that they showed each other made me love these characters even more.

If you want a taste of this series, there are two prequel novellas available. They make up the Whitetail Rock series and there are links to both of them on Anne Teninos blog. Whitetail Rock and The Fix feature Nik and Jurgen and give you a little bit of background into Sam and Ian’s history, but mainly just introduce them. They are so worth reading though. Getting to know Nik and Jurgen was great and made me want to get to know them even more. Enjoy!

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