The first red flag was thrown up VERY early on in the story, not even at the 10% mark, I think. Charlotte, our heroine, an ex cop, strolled out to talk to our hero and she was wearing...6-inch heels. Now, I don’t know about you, but I can stroll in 4-inch heels. I can wear 5-inch heels if I don’t have to walk around a bunch. But 6-inch heels? That’s venturing into stripper territory, and it takes a special kind of woman (with incredible balance and ankle strength who isn’t bothered by her toes being crammed ruthlessly into the pointy tips of her shoes by gravity) to stroll in 6-inch heels. And since Charlotte was an ex cop and not, say, a retired supermodel, I was instantly thrown off guard in a that-wouldn’t-happen-in-real-life kind of way.
So then, the hero, Aiden, proposes a plan to Charlotte—a plan that would allow her to get even with the crime boss who ruined her cop career. And even after pages and pages of description about how untrustworthy and crooked and generally unpleasant Aiden is, Charlotte quickly agrees to his plan. Hmmm...seems unrealistic. Red flag #2 has been thrown at this point.
What’s Aiden’s plan to take down the big bad mob boss, you ask? Well, pretend to be engaged to Charlotte, of course! Again...really? That’s Charlotte’s part in the plan? To play your fiancee? That seems not only unrealistic, but also highly ineffective. How would Aiden’s dating status mean a damned thing to a rival mob family’s boss? What’s that sound you hear, folks? It’s the sound of red flag #3 being tossed into the air. (Note to all of you who enjoyed the book and are hating me right now: I realize there was probably much more to Aiden’s plan that played out over the course of the book, but I didn’t have the patience to wait around for it. The whole “pretend engagement” plan seemed like such an obvious, ham-handed way to set up a romance that I was instantly bored and yawning as soon as I read it. If things got better later on in the story, well...I’m still not sorry I quit reading. So we’ll just agree to disagree, m’kay?)
And that’s when Charlotte goes to Aiden’s house (you know, Aiden, the dangerous, ruthless crime dude that Charlotte has been talking about nonstop, saying how untrustworthy he is?) and casually suggests that they should have sex, because no one will believe they’re engaged otherwise. Sexy shenanigans ensue on the desk in Aiden’s office. That one didn’t even throw up a red flag for me, folks. I just quit reading at that point. That’s when I decided I didn’t even care what happened to Charlotte or Aiden. I would recommend that Charlotte look into getting counseling for her split personality disorder, though. Her shift from oh-my-God-this-dude-is-scary to hey-let’s-bang-to-help-sell-the-plan was NOT normal. Not. At. All.
Long-story-short, this one just wasn’t my cuppa. Maybe it’d appeal to someone who isn’t bothered by completely unrealistic plots and moody heroines in stripper heels. (*shrugs*)
Full disclosure: We received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
Contributes on almost every front. Ugh. Just...ugh.
Other reading suggestions
I’m on the outs with romantic suspense right now, so I’m not going to recommend any. (Hey, no one is the boss of me. I do what I want) So, for a fake boyfriend story that’s all kinds of awesome and funny and sweet, try Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely.