I’ll say it upfront, after reading FSoG and many other books which have tried to closely replicate FSoG’s success since, I’ve steered away from the regular-girl-meets-alpha-billionaire romance trope. These books have become a cliché in romance, sadly. When Black Pearl popped into my Kindle Unlimited recommendations, I had some trepidation after reading the blurb. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised and happy that this is not another FSoG-wannabe as I originally thought it’d be.
OK, enough about what Black Pearl isn’t. Lemme tell you what it is!
Devyn is an executive assistant to the CFO of Excel…she’s happy in her job and she likes her boss. Never mind that she has a little crush on her boss’s brother/CEO of Excel, Nikola. Devyn and Nikola don’t cross paths often but when they do there’s heat simmering juuuussssst under the surface. Devyn has decided it’s best to ignore it is because of who Nikola is. What she doesn’t know is that Nikola has been harboring a crush of his own on Devyn for the last few years she’s been working for his brother. When circumstances have them working together more closely, Nikola can no longer deny his feelings for Devyn.
“So you’re not sorry for driving me crazy for the last three weeks?
And when Nikola finds out about Devyn’s secret — that she moonlights as a burlesque dancer under the stage name, Black Pearl, all bets are off!
Black Pearl is a refreshingly unique take on the stale regular-girl-meets-alpha-billionaire trope. Both protagonists are likable individually and as a couple. Devyn has bounced back from a bad past relationship and she’s not letting that baggage prevent her from living. She’s not a size 2, but she’s happy with the body she’s in and isn’t full of hang ups about her curvy shape. Nikola was very much an alpha male; though I always felt that Devyn was an equal regardless of his alpha-ness. Nikola wanted Devyn just as she was and had no plans to change her into something else. He’s protective and tender, not overbearing. Yeah, I was a fan of Nikola — if you couldn’t tell.
The fact that Devyn and Nikola are of different races is coincidental, not a significant plot point or source of conflict for this story. There’s very little drama/angst between these two until Devyn does something that had me like…
The supporting cast, particularly Nikola’s mom, bring a good dose of lightheartedness to the story as well. Black Pearl is a wonderful, sexy gem that has introduced me to a new author and reintroduced me to a trope that I had all but abandoned. I’m not-so-patiently looking forward to Devyn’s and Nikola’s besties, Mercedes and Rual in the next installment.