Ugh. I really just don’t know how I feel about this book. On one hand, I liked it. On the other hand, meh. I just found—to use some middle school English concepts here—there was a lot of telling, but not a lot of showing when it came to Jack and Amanda’s relationship. Well, let me amend that statement: there was a lot of showing during sexy time scenes but none elsewhere. And as a reader who enjoys romances for their HEA but not their XXX scenes, this was quite a letdown.
The book tells the love story of novelist Amanda Briars and publishing giant Jack Devlin. Amanda, after spending her twenties caring for her ailing father, is a 30-year-old virgin. While she’d love to have a family, she highly doubts that she’ll meet the right man—or any man at all. Thus, she decides to hire a prostitute for her birthday and see what she is missing out on.
Jack has spent his life building an empire after being abandoned in an orphanage when he was young. He is ruthless, charismatic, and has little desire for a family. Unlike most romance novel heroes—who really just fear monogamy—Jack’s reasons for not wanting a family is somewhat legit: he hates kids and has put his career above all else. He is close friends with a madame of a brothel (he published her book) so when she tells him to show up at Amanda’s address at a certain time he doesn’t really question it (he desperately wants to publish Amanda’s books). Little does he know that the madame is trying her hand at matchmaking…
This book just had so much potential for witty conversations, funny scenes, and heartfelt moments and yet it lacked all three. For goodness sake, the entire premise of the book should set itself up for hilarity! And yet it wasn’t. Readers were privy to one amusing scene: Amanda mistaking Jack for her boy toy and that was it. Other than that one scene—and mind you it is the very first in the book—I never found myself smiling.
Furthermore, the two characters were essentially made more each other: a novelist and a publishing giant. Both are intelligent, loyal, and ambitious. And yet the chemistry between the two was non-existent except in bed. Kleypas relies too heavily on sexy time scenes to build a relationship in this book. She tells us that their dinners and conversations were intelligent and amusing, but we don’t get to experience them. All of the interactions between Devlin and Amanda are in bed or them having serious discussions about their relationship.
This book is not bad. In fact, I actually liked it: it is well-written with a creative plot. Yet, and I don’t say this about books—especially Lisa Kleypas’s—lightly, it was dull.