I love Lee Winter’s books, especially because she knows how to write really great characters and unique plots (to be more specific age gap adventurous romances and incredible ice queens) and she has a cool sense of humor, also.
I wonder what is Lee going to do next to her ice queens. Will she put them in awkward, embarrassing situations that will lower down their walls and melt the ice just a little? Definitely, yes.
That is why I adored „Hotel Queens”: it has amazing main and side characters, which are as different as they are similar, but they have the same level of strength and reputation, this time. Also, the mystery of the plot, the complicated mixture of greed, betrail, wrong family values, discrimination, respect, trust or the lack of them or choosing the greater good, create an one of a kind development of the story.
The book was also greatly documented and the reader feels like she/he/them is in the hotel industry for real.
We have our main characters working on opposite sides: Amelia is the vice president of Duxton International Hotels (created by her father Conrad), running its European branch, while Kai is „the Closer”, a deal breaker, who is working for Grand Millennium owned by Mr.Stein
They both have one good reason to be in Vegas: they want to buy the same business, Mayfair Palace.
I loved their first meeting at the Prohibition bar of the Duxton Hotel in Vegas (even the bar’s name suggest something forbidden, good one, Lee). It was invigorating for both of them to flirt with a stranger, no strings attached. Of course, Amelia’s identity will be hidden and Kai’s shortcut of a name doesn’t point to the „Closer”. Their chemistry is palpable; the discussion is very entertaining and the language is typically for Lee Winter, brilliantly chosen for the ice queens and smart bigmouthed deal makers. Kai is smitten with „Lia”, especially after the shower she has given to the waiter for mistaking her drink. As much as Kai wants to be with Lia, she is dismissed, but still she seems to have left a doubt on Amelia’s mind, on how to understand her employees better, mainly to be close to them and doing the work they are doing, even if temporary.
The dismissal line is pretty hot: „I’m worth a lot more than what you are offering tonight. Your proposal is lacking”
Also, Lia left Kai something to remember her by, something she couldn’t have.
Amelia Duxton is 47 years old. She is Conrad’s daughter and Oliver’s sister, having a Jewish heritage. Conrad has created hotel Duxton from scratch and he has always wanted to leave the business to his successful son, Oliver, setting aside his daughter, Amelia, because she was a lesbian. This behavior was very much encouraged by her uncle Joe, for greedy reasons, as he wanted the company for his two sons: Douglas and Simon. Also, Amelia’s mother is not helpful at all. Amelia is exiled to London, to run the European branch of Duxton Hotels International and is the VP of the company, while her brother, Oliver is the CEO, running it from the US. Amelia is the mastermind, she has awards and her hotels are brilliantly run. Yet, her father has always preferred Oliver, who gets into trouble all the time and is not a good businessman. Amelia is in Vegas because Oliver was involved in another scandal and Amelia needs to do his speech in Vegas and, also, buy Mayfair Palace from her longtime friend, Nedal.
Amelia is a perfectionist, she likes order, efficiency, control, numbers and she always tells the truth and this is how she has succeeded all these years. She is also sophisticated, brilliant, truthful and ethereally beautiful. She had only one true love, which is now gone. Unfortunately, her love life has suffered and as much as she doesn’t want to admit she became an introvert with performance issues (the hot ice queen and her weaknesses, thank you, Lee).
When she meets Kai, she sees a total opposite, but in time she learns that things are not how they seem in her family and in her life, all together, when she sees other sides of Kai and of her family she doesn’t know.
I liked her Scorpion fish. It was hilarious that the ice queen owns such a fish.
I loved how she was put through so many incredulous situations for an ice queen and a Duxton (housekeeping, serving food and drinks) or meeting the sex queen, Monique Carlson and how she hated her attraction to Kai that much, but she couldn’t help it nor desired to stop it. And when she got caught, that was tremendous fun.
Kaida „Kai” Fisher is 37 years old. She is chaos to Amelia. She is, also, smart, a chaotic schemer, fiery, attractive, a total charmer and the ladies’ gal and she, also, has good looks and works hard for it at the gym.
She is Grand Millennium’s „the Closer” and Mr. Stein’s right hand. She started her career as a lawyer, but she had to leave that career. Why? That is one of the best turning points in the plot. (Mr. Stein is also of Jewish heritage).
She wants Mayfair Palace because it is the deal of the decade and she wants to take it away from the Duxton’s, whom she really hates for personal reasons, but also because they mistreat their employees.
Kai’s secret crusade is to help hotel employees to have a better life than the one their employers offer them. I love this side of her. She is caring and human. And, she has learned it the hard way.
Even from their first meeting, Amelia and Kai knew they were a match for each other, and they have, also, met each other’s match.
With each encounter and new task among the staff, Amelia discovers facts about her family she can’t believe, but in time, they seem to be true and Kai annoyingly proves them right. She gets and feels closer to Kai, as she learns that her family’s values are not right and that their greed, their carelessness towards their employees and towards her own self proves they are evil, just like Kai says. And, she seems to care more and more about Kai’s opinion of herself.
I love how Amelia has many skills: she knows Arabic, she knows about brand leaking in the hotel industry and all her tasks are brilliantly done.
Amelia is the best character here, at first, she is the total ice queen, cold, uptight, untouchable, but then wall by wall, layer by layer, the situations and the facts she goes through make her evolve and show her best side: she is hot, truthful, a tender lover, caring to her nice and most of all, she wants the truth to prevail, especially for the Duxton Hotels employees.
The plot becomes more and more interesting, because all the hotel moguls’ secret tactics and bad behavior towards their employees is discovered in an original way and a new star is born.
The dialogue between the characters is very well done, typical for the ice queens, hilarious and blunt, the author’s notes are also, very clever.
I liked the fact that we get both, Amelia’s and Kai’s point of view, as the story is told at the third person, from both sides.
I adored the side characters: Milly Valentine is really sweet, yet insightful, even her name is cute, then there is Quinn, Amelia’s second in command, who is clever and adorable, then, Monique Carson, the surprisingly hotel guest who has no mercy in mocking Amelia and who has many sexy talents and who knows what more. I liked Nedal and the mystery around him and Merriam. And Amelia’s nice, Imogen and her role in Amelia’s life. The villains: Oliver, Conrad, Joe, Stein were really well penned by Lee Winter.
I absolutely recommend „Hotel Queens” by Lee Winter to all the readers who want to read an awesome book, with brilliant characters, not one, but two ice queens and an amazing plot, unique at this point in lesbian fiction.