Originally read November 25, 2013
First of all, to be fair, I should confess that I’m not a romance novel reader. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy a good romance story, but only when it's just one aspect of a much larger story in another genre. When I read a romance novel, it feels a little bit like somebody extracted the romance-related parts out of a book and threw the main story away. There just isn't any meat to them, in my opinion.
So, why did I read this book? Way back when I first got my Kindle, I would snap up nearly any free book I could find even if it wasn’t my usual genre. I figured, why not broaden my horizons? In many cases, that mindset has paid off and I've enjoyed things I wouldn't normally have tried reading. But this was not the case for romance novels. I read several, and disliked nearly all of them. This book, in fact, is the one that inspired me to go through my backlog and delete every romance novel I hadn't read yet because I don't intend to ever read another one. Ever. Nevertheless, even though I might not be in the target audience for a romance novel, I read this one, I have opinions, and I want to express them.
Both of the main characters in this novel, Louisa and Luke, were seriously messed up individuals. Early on in the story, Luke physically forced Louisa into a car with him. By “forced”, I mean he actually picked her up, put her in the car, and locked the door. Throughout the book, he used physical force numerous times when she was trying to get away from him. When she said she didn't want to do something, he usually ignored her wishes. In fact, he took her somewhere she had explicitly stated she didn’t want to go while she was asleep in his car -- the car he had forced her into. Clearly this guy has serious issues and he doesn’t know how to take “no” for an answer. I don’t care how hot a guy is, this kind of behavior should be a complete turn off. I would stay the heck away from anybody who treated me like this.
Not Louisa, however. Louisa is just as messed up in the head as Luke. Every time Luke touched her, even if it was to force her to do something she said she didn’t want to do, she would get turned on by him. We’re told that Louisa is a strong woman who hates to be bullied. Telling us this doesn’t make it true. Her actions said the exact opposite. If she were a strong woman then, when Luke started manhandling her, she would have screamed and made a scene and done whatever she had to do to get away from him. And then she would have gotten a restraining order.
One could argue that perhaps Louisa had really wanted to do some of the things she claimed she didn’t want to do, and that’s why she let Luke bully her into doing them. But the fact remains that she said “No”, and Luke should have respected that. Forcing you to do something you secretly want to do is still forcing. Why would anybody want to be with a guy who does that? What happens when you really do mean “No” and he won’t listen? I think, if a sequel were written to this book, and if it were based on any sort of realism at all, we would find Louisa in an abusive relationship that she doesn’t know how to get out of.
The book held my interest, and I read it through to the end without any trouble, which is why I’m giving it one and a half stars instead of only one. However, the “romance” between these two characters held no appeal for me and I actually found it to be quite disturbing.