Harlequin Mills & Boon, £3.49, ISBN 978-0-263-90896-1
Contemporary Romance, 2014
The ultimate challenge when it comes to Jennifer Hayward’s Changing Constantinou’s Game is whether you can still associate Greece with billionaires in these days of economic crashes and standstills with the EU over national debts. To be fair, though, Alex is born in the USA, he talks in pounds and travels to America, so he’s like those sheikhs in this line – he’s Greek in name only, he’s still that white guy you know and love underneath it all. If you can still believe that there are Greek billionaires still rolling in money and bossing it over the rest of the world, then this one should be a breeze to read as it is exactly like every romance story that have ever featured a career woman trying to get a scoop on the bloke only to fall in love with him.
Isabel Peters is looking for an interview with Leandros Constantinou, only to be told by his smirking hot receptionist that she has missed him. Aww. As it is, she wants this interview because it’d cement her promotion. She steps into an elevator, hoping to get back to the airport, when the whole thing acts like a horror movie about to happen. Of course, she is scared of elevators, but fortunately, big strong handsome Alexios is there to comfort her. And take her back to his enormous love nest where the two of them make hot love until their world go upside down. But what happens when she discovers that Alexios’s full name is Leandros Alexios Costantinou? (Let’s be kind and overlook how a talented journalist can not be aware of what her intended subject would look like.) More importantly, what does he do when he learns that she’s up for a promotion should she get him pinned down for an exclusive feature?
There is some good chemistry here, and the quiet moments, when Alex and Isabel are allowed be themselves instead of following the behavior and thought pattern of every other character in this premise before, are pretty nice. Although, it’s quite creepy that Alex can somehow sense Isabel’s “inexperience” and warns her that he is much more experienced than she is. That scene is pretty weird, because it’s like a woman’s sexual inexperience can be sniffed out by a guy as if it’s some kind of armpit scent, and serves only to mollify readers who insist that the heroine doesn’t know which hole down south is for what function. Heaven knows, everything else about Isabel makes her more of a typical Harlequin Blaze heroine than a heroine of this line.
Anyway, the chemistry is there, but the formula is also there. Nothing is out of the predictable here, This is the biggest flaw of Changing Constantinou’s Game: it’s a rehash of that same old story again, right down to the resolution. The only good thing here is that Alex isn’t toxic when it comes to the expected “You whore!” act, and he shows that he can actually think and come to reasonable conclusions once his temper has cooled.
Like the author’s previous efforts, Changing Constantinou’s Game only shows that Jennifer Hayward knows how to piece popular tropes together to make a pretty decent read. So far she has yet to make anything her own, and I don’t believe that I know her style at all.