Victoria Bright3 out of 5
I didn’t mean to hurt anyone, especially him…
I was living the dream. I had a great career as a romance author, a successful boyfriend, and am the daughter to a New York power couple. With my standing, my family groomed me to be perfect. Despite having it all, something was still missing.
In an attempt to break away from my privileged, suffocating life, I was in pursuit of finding my own path to happiness. After my literary agent gave me a risky writing assignment, I set out to write a best-seller that took me completely out of my comfort zone and into the arms of another man. He was only supposed to be a research toy, falling in love wasn’t a part of the plan.
As I become tangled into a huge web of lies, I quickly find out that I have a life changing decision to make. Do I choose to continue living a life of comfort, stability, and misery or do I take a chance on the unknown to preserve my happiness?
Arianna wants to break away from her privileged life, she wants to become a best-selling author and prove to the world (especially her parents) that she can succeed. Her publisher dares Arianna to step outside her romance comfort zone, to write erotica. The only problem is where to find inspiration?
I swung from loving to hating this book, and everywhere in-between.
It's funny, well-written, and has that fantastic quality of grabbing you and pulling you along. And when I say funny, I mean it actually made me laugh, giggle and turn the page for more.
Gia, the best friend, was brilliant. I loved her. She was completely insane, she led her life how she wanted to live, and didn't care what anyone thought.
Gia is a strong, confident woman that has embraced her sexuality; so she's the perfect person to coach Arianna from the sidelines.
Zane, the more-than-willing research assistant to this little experiment, is great. He's really sweet, incredibly hot, and definitely goes for what he wants. And best of all, he has minimal cliché cringeworthy moments. (Maybe it's just my cynical unromantic self, but nothing spoils a story more for me, than when an alpha male starts spouting those lines. So don't worry, fellow non-romantics, this book is all clear!)
Julius, Arianna's boyfriend and future husband, is the major complication. Their families have come to an arrangement, keen for their offspring to marry into the money and social status they were born to. They either marry, or they get disowned.
Julius is a prick. He is an almighty f.... ok, deep breath. Bravo to Bright for having written a character that stimulates such a response. He is very unlikeable, but he's so relaxed and can be subtly cruel to Arianna - not enough to push her over the edge, but just enough to keep her downtrodden. Oh, and every time he called Gia a whore, I wanted to smack the bastard!
And then we move onto our star, Miss Arianna Donatelli. I liked the character herself, she's a nice girl, slowly exploring what she wants, and what she's willing to sacrifice.
But her choices throughout the book a) completely confounded me, and/or b) pissed me off.
I actually struggled through the first chapter as the scene was set. I didn't get why she and Julius were together, and in what respect. It sounded like two friends had hatched a plot to keep their families' money, because otherwise, why would Julius (who had every woman look at his gorgeous self) even start seeing Arianna (who he constantly puts down for being overweight). But it turns out they are not only in a relationship, they are living together, with the intention of getting engaged one day.
I didn't get why Arianna was there in the first place. She hates Julius. She finds him sexually attractive, but as she admits that random guys are always checking her out, to confirm that she is attractive and can hold her own. I think I would have found it more believable if she thought herself in love with Julius, or crushed on him, something emotionally binding. Because logically, it didn't weigh up, and I was shouting from the first page to get the hell out of there.
After all, she proved that she's got spirit (loved the bathroom scene!)
The other character I struggled with was Arianna's dad. He spent the first three-quarters of the book being the silent supporter of Arianna and her dreams, being a real dad. He challenges Julius, and it's clear that he wants the boy to step up and be good enough for his daughter.
At first, I thought that he was just humouring the farce of an arrangement, waiting for Arianna to get some nerve and make her own decisions. But then the way he came down on her, threatening to take away everything the family money paid for, and was willing to follow through without blinking... all I could think was how cruel this sweet character had suddenly become.
One final point, which is me completely jumping topic - I like the cover, it's very classy. Is it just me that'd prefer to see a curvier woman represented for this series?
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