Genre: Contemporary Romance
I've spent my entire adult life avoiding dating, which is funny because I work for a matchmaking service. My boss calls me "The Beast" because of my no B.S. attitude. My job is to scare away problem clients—the unmatchables.
Someone is going to get fired over this, and it might be me.
Now Mister Barnes is after me. After me in the most unexpected of ways. I've never dealt with anyone like him before, and years of therapy tell me that he's exactly not what I need.
What does my therapist know, though? She has her own secrets, and I'm beginning to think that everyone is out to destroy me. I'm beginning to think that I'm the one who is unmatchable.
This is a standalone novel. No cliffhangers.
The premise of this story seemed interesting, and the opening chapters set the tone for a light-hearted, humorous read. But don’t be mistaken, this isn’t a funny tale of a strong, audacious woman working for a dating service and an equally ballsy and deceptive suitor.
Ember Washington, 21, might appear bold and brass on the surface, but she’s also presented as a victim, a characterization I’m not fond of for women in literature. She’s weak; she has low self-esteem; she’s a doormat, continuing to engage in contact with people who are toxic to her emotional wellbeing. Without giving away some of the reveals, I will say that my patience with Ember simply wore out when she continued to seek help from someone who should have severed all ties to her once the obvious conflict of interest was discovered. While the “small world reveal” came as a surprise (I didn’t see that coming) and certainly added a deeper layer of complications, it also had a certain ick factor.
Meanwhile, Colton Larson, 29, though a bit crass at times and a little questionable in the beginning, actually turns out to be quite a catch. (*Swooning over the teddy bear!*) Once he knew all of Ember’s issues, Colton handled it well and emerged as a stand up guy. Ember was lucky to have him. Despite all their snarking and jibs at each other, they ironically should have been well suited. Personally, I’m not sure their banter was attractive, but it seemed to be a turn-on for them.
But ultimately I didn’t feel their chemistry. A lot of that falls on my dislike of Ember. When a heroine keeps outlining all the reasons why she feels she’s not worthy of the hero, it does nothing more than convince the reader that she really doesn’t deserve him which seems counter to the nature of a romance book. Add in Ember’s conflicted feelings for another man and the romance suffers. There’s honestly just a little too much angst here in the form of broken characters and troubled pasts to rate it higher as a romance novel. Ember’s issues with sex might make for a compelling drama story, but it takes away from the romantic aspect.
Furthermore, I don’t care for heavy issues interwoven into what’s initially presented as an upbeat plot and that’s exactly what happens to the point that the story is no longer light-hearted anymore. The mixed tones of the tale just didn’t work here. And while Colton’s back-story warmed him up as a character, Ember’s cold, distant, and sometimes rude attitude made it hard to like her, despite everything she’d been through in the past. At certain points I kept reading merely out of curiosity over the train wreck nature of her life, not because I was invested in the romance. I was tempted to DNF at several junctures.
All in all, I rated this 2 stars because of the unromantic OM/OW drama and the weak, wishy-washy heroine. The epilogue was a big eye roll for me because the whole story told us that Ember was a broken mess who needed a competent, unbiased therapist more than she needed that type of responsibility in her life. Colton could have found better though he was a better man simply for putting up with her.
"Are you telling me that I'm not allowed to see anyone else?”
“That's exactly what I'm telling you.” He closes in on me, making my heart skip a beat as he holds my chin between his thumb and forefinger. “You're mine now. Only mine.”
“That's a very brazen thing to say.”
“I'm a brazen man. And I don't like sharing, Ember. You should know that off the bat.”
“I don't like sharing either,” my voice is a lusty whisper as I stare up into his eyes.
He has me trapped, feeling weak and vulnerable and wanton. Oh so wanton. Everything in me that is trying to resist him is failing. Miserably.
I part my lips instinctively as he bends to kiss me. Fireworks go off inside of my head as our mouths mold together. His tongue peeks inside eagerly, and mine rushes to meet his, tasting him. His hand slips around my waist, and he presses me back against the door. My clit pulses as I feel the front of his slacks bulge against me, and the thought comes to my mind that I could have him if I wanted him. Right now, I could take him to my apartment and be lying beneath him. I could run my hands down the hard planes of his chest and the rippling of his abdominal muscles. I could experience what it's like to be filled by him.
Sky Corgan is a USA Today Best-Selling author. When she's not typing away at the next steamy romance series, she's busy planning for future vacations.