I didn’t get what I expected with this one. I downloaded it after seeing a Facebook ad that made the book seem like a light, fluffy rom com. The ad highlighted a passage from the book where Chloe is interviewing with Aiden and has to explain to him how she got fired from her last job because she mistakenly copied the guy on a message to her friend in which she called him a pu$$y. I thought the scene was moderately chuckle-inducing, so I went into this expecting laughs.
Narrator: There were no laughs to be had.
First of all, Chloe is a Canadian in Dubai who is knowingly breaking the law for money. Knowingly breaking the law in the US is bad enough, but in Dubai? Seriously, this had me questioning Chloe’s sanity. And it wasn’t like the low-level loan shark she was paying off was threatening anyone’s lives. He was threatening to take away the deed to her mother’s house, and her mother was, quite frankly, an epic bitch. I get that she wanted to protect her family (ungrateful, horrid asshats that they were), but who did she think was going to support them when she got herself thrown in jail? But I looked past that and kept reading because I liked Chloe’s spirit and I liked Aiden.
*Don’t keep reading if you don’t want spoilers*
*Last change to avoid spoilers*
OK, for those of you still with me, after Aiden stalks Chloe and finds out what she’s doing for a living (stripping...in a country where it’s illegal), he offers to pay her more at her day job (in his office) so that she can quit stripping. She stomps her foot and refuses. You know, as one does when an extremely wealthy man you trust offers to help you out of a potentially dangerous situation and asks absolutely nothing in return. After her refusal, he threatens to have the club shut down if she doesn’t quit. Instead of, oh, I don’t know, QUITTING AND TAKING HIS HELP, she decides to let the strip club owner set up an auction...for her virginity. Sigh. Yes, she’s a Canadian virgin who, in Dubai, has just agreed to participate in a virgin auction.
At this point, I think Chloe is a stubborn idiot, Aiden is a semi-crazed stalker, and this whole notion of a virgin auction is the kind of crazypants, wackadoo plot nightmare that I simply DO NOT have patience for these days. But, I persevered and kept reading.
Of course, Aiden, the kinda stalker, finds out about the auction and buys her. But he won’t take her virginity, because REASONS.
My other big problem with Chloe and Aiden is that they never really talked to each other all that much. They were both going through stuff, and they didn’t have a lot of adult conversations that would lead me to believe they stood a chance as a couple long term. They were both fairly immature in the communication department.
Now, if I was able to set aside the banana-pants plot twists and turns, I’m willing to admit that the writing was pretty decent and the sex scenes were plenty spicy (if you’re looking for that kind of thing in your reads). I’m just pretty sure I aged out of new adult romance and heroines who put their lives in danger unnecessarily in the name of independence. But, you know...to each his own. Whatever.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It’s not stigma-y, just...weird.