Terms and Conditions by Lauren Asher is the second book in the bestselling contemporary romance series “Dreamland Billionaires”. Featuring three Billionaire brothers, this is an interconnected series but the books can be read as standalone stories. Booktok made me buy it. I really enjoyed the first book so I knew I was going to love this one. It has all the tropes I am in love with Fake Dating/Fake Marriage, grumpy/sunshine. But as with his brother Rowan… Declan… is just a jackass. After reading that first book… I knew I couldn’t trust other people’s interpretation of the book. I was told how much better Declan is than Rowan… but he in fact the same damaged man that his brother is.
Just like in the Fine Print, Declan receives a letter from his grandfather with instructions on how to get his hands on his inheritance. His grandfather’s will stipulation requires him to be married with an heir to be eligible to be the CEO No big deal right? The issue is that he is not all that interested in relationships, marriage or children. And just like in The Fine Print, his disdain for people can all be traced back to his father. His Abusive Father. I still want to run this man over with my car from the first book. And best believe that in this book I feel like backing up and running him over again.
Iris… His personal assistant comes to the rescue when he scares off the first lady brought in to be his fake wife. Iris does what she can to salvage Declan’s situation… She comes up with the bright idea of marrying him herself. Iris has been working for Declan for 3 years and knows him inside and out. There is no downside since his younger brother Cal is one of her best friends. She figures that since she is not interested in love and neither is he that they can collect his inheritance and live the good life. The plan is simple enough. So we all know that it is not going to work like that.
Declan’s job is the most important thing in his life, and he needs that marriage to make things work. Declan doesn’t always appreciate her hard work. She’s been working for Declan for the last three years, and it’s a little shocking to everyone that she’s lasted this long. (SO LIKE WHY MARRY HIM?) It doesn’t take long for him to draw up a contract and settle on a number to pay her once they are divorced 3 years later. The issue that I have right off the bat is that he has to have a baby with her and puts in the contract that he wants her to have primary custody. At first, I figured that he was just a tool but really the more I thought about it the more I realized that usually people who have been abused by their parents have an aversion to becoming parents themselves. Iris puts a stop to it immediately. It is fine to have a child but we are not having one if you think you are dump it on me. But I mean… he is used to having her take care of everything so why would this be any different?
Iris, for her part, thought this was a good arrangement because she has avoided romance in her mind. Her father wasn’t the best role model… (The Fathers in these books are trash.) He was physically abusive to her mother and verbally abusive to Iris. She views dealing with Declan is the lesser of two evils. She is not in the marriage for love. She also has a learning disorder that she is trying to overcome which her father was no help her. Both Declan and Iris have spent time with crappy father figures. It is no wonder they both have a crappy outlook on relationships. Both believe that they are immune to a relationship with the other. And I should have known who was going to cave first.
While I enjoyed the relationship between Declan and Iris… and even Iris and Cal. What I enjoyed most was another glimpse at the brothers relationship. Cal enjoys pushing Declan’s buttons and he describes Declan to Iris in a less than flattering matter… but when it comes down to helping fix the issues in their relationship… Cal is ready to help. Cal and Declan’s relationship is interesting because there is a hint of jealousy towards Cal for the relationship he has with Iris. Baggage from how they were raised infiltrates everything they do. Declan’s relationship with Rowan is what really caught me. (I love me some Rowan.) Declan has harbored resentment against Rowan since his decision to stay with Zahra. Declan doesn’t want to speak or be bothered with either of them. Somewhere in my mind, it is because he really doesn’t know how. The great thing is Rowan doesn’t seem to care. He is happy with his life and while he loves his brother he is refusing to make revenge his life.
Iris spends a lot of time trying to get the brothers together and Declan spends his time dragging his feet. But they don’t have a real conversation until Declan has utterly fucked up. But Rowan doesn’t hold any animosity. I figured he would. But something about siblings… There is a lot of people on tiktok that believe that Declan is the better brother… But I don’t see it. Both he and Rowan stumbled through their baggage with the same grace of a bull in a china shop.
Iris makes me laugh because just like Zahra… She doesn’t give a damn about Declan’s shitty attitude. And like any Male MC… he has a lot more layers to him than I originally gave him credit for. He knows he has a hard time expressing himself. Always has… and his mother came up with a great way to do it which he shares with Iris. So cute.
Maybe it is just me…. But I wonder why there is such a large age gap between the love interests in these two books. These women just entered into adulthood. (Zahra, 23 and Iris, 24). Do older women not deserve love and love from rich men? I think the fact that both Zahra and Iris are a good deal younger than the male mc who is essentially their boss didn’t sit all that well with me. I know that age gaps in romances exist but something about these dynamics seem off. Like Iris’s whole reasoning for getting married and HAVING HIS BABY was because they are friends? But when in past relationships she couldn’t even hear the word marriage? I know that money helped the decision… but you don’t get the feeling that she is trying to get rich. Her reasoning is that of a teenager’s. Declan is not your friend… he’s your boss… and the reason that you really don’t have a life. It is odd to just jump into marriage that requires that you and he have a child. And then being treated the way she was as a child, you would think she would be more picky about it. And now that I think about it… It may be why so many people didn’t receive the story all that well. (Basically missing the trauma that has befallen both Rowan and Declan.)
In the end though, I didn’t have a whole lot to complain about. I disagree with reviewers that think Declan is somehow better or more well adjusted than Rowan. I didn’t see it. SPOILERS AHEAD: Everyone was harping on Rowan for lying to Zahra… However, they apparently didn’t see a problem with Declan purposely ruining Iris’s job change. His not better… by any means. But they both try and I loved them for it. Let me know your thoughts if you read it. If not, pick it up.
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