First of all, this is a short, easy, standalone read. It only took me an hour to get through it. There’s no crazy angst or improbable drama. The main conflicts are internal, and I have no problem with that, especially since this a novella. (I don’t expect crazy plot twists and long action sequences in a 23K word novella, you know?)
Ivan and Penelope are an unlikely pair. She’s young and innocent and sheltered, while he’s an older bodyguard with a dubious and dangerous past with the Russian mafia. Is their super quick courtship a little cheesy? Yes. Did I care? Hell no. Ivan treats Penelope with nothing but respect, and while Penelope is a little naive to the ways of the world, she’s in no way stupid, just young. For some reason, as a reader, I just believed that these two belonged together.
Secondary characters were a lot of fun, too. I’ll totally read Pandora’s story, if the author decides to write it. (Hint, hint. Pretty please?)
Long-story-short, this is quick, fun, alpha-licious romance with a tough-guy hero who still has some manners, and a young-but-not-stupid heroine who brings some light into his otherwise dark little world. Two thumbs up, folks. This one is highly 1-clickable.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Well...it’s not what I’d call realistic. But it’s well-written enough to avoid contributing to the stigma, I’d say. And it’s fun, which kicks the crap out of realistic, in my opinion.
Other reading suggestions
For a similar feel, I would suggest anything by Jennika Snow or Dani Wyatt. And, of course, check out the Alexa Riley backlist.