How to Bang a Billionaire was written by Alexis Hall, and it is the first book in the Arden St. Ives series of contemporary m/m romance novels. I initially read this book last December, but since then, I’ve read the book a second time and I’m currently about ¾ of the way through the Audible edition. I think all of Hall’s books are 5 star reads, but this is one of my absolute favorites.
Arden St. Ives is about to graduate from St. Sebastian’s College (Oxford). As the story begins, Arden’s has agreed to participate in a telethon because his best friend has laryngitis. Everyone hangs up almost as soon as he says why he’s calling, but then Arden inadvertently calls Caspian Hart, a reclusive billionaire- and St. Sebastian’s alumnus. Caspian doesn’t hang up on him, and Arden invites Caspian to a fundraising dinner before he realizes exactly who Caspian is. Arden doesn’t expect Caspian to actually show up, but he does.
And thus begins the absolutely riveting story of Arden St. Ives and Caspian Hart: the bright-eyed university graduate and the emotionally detached billionaire.
Perhaps this setup reminds you of a rather popular series of books, and I’m here to tell you that Alexis Hall gets everything right that the other series did wrong.
Arden St. Ives is one of the most delightful protagonists that I have ever encountered. Arden is far from a blushing ingénue- he has spent his Oxford years embarking on a series of hookups, so to speak. He avoids relationships like the plague. He’s outspoken, has a wild sense of fashion, and pssssst- his nipples are pierced.
Caspian clearly has A Past. The reader knows this based on the prologue. He’s almost ridiculously restrained, and he’s always telling Arden that he’s struggling to control himself. Through Caspian, Arden discovers things that he didn’t even realize he wanted. There’s very clearly a dynamic to their encounters, and wow, it’s amazing!
I should point out that this book is single perspective, which is somewhat unconventional for the genre, but works so perfectly here. By being deprived of Caspian’s point of view, the reader does not have any sort of advantage over Arden. We only know what Arden knows.
Also, naming a college after St. Sebastian is so subversively cheeky. Well played.
I would absolutely recommend How to Bang a Billionaire. I loved that the intense relationship and scorching chemistry were balanced with lighter moments. This was such a good book, and that’s why I keep going back to it instead of reading new material. Readers should know that this book ends on a cliffhanger, but readers can jump right into the second book. The third book will be out in September, and frankly, I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen with Arden and Caspian. I don’t want to wish away the next six months, but good grief, I need to know how this story ends.