A classic classic damsel-in-distress story with a contemporary twist. Lana's family is anything but well off, and her mother's cancer has progressed to the point that without experimental treatment, she will certainly die -- and soon. So Lana makes the rash but reasonable (under these dire circumstances) decision to trade herself for the money needed to save her mother. Things just don't go exactly as planned. The man to whom she's offered herself is twisted and cruel, and while she knows she'll agree to anything to save her mother, she's faced with what is surely the worst case scenario. Enter her knight in shining armor.
Blake makes rich people look poor. He's from old money, the kind of money that quietly runs the entire world's economy, and when he sees a young woman looking entirely out of place with a lecherous, deviant man, he finds himself unexpectedly coming to her rescue. He's no saint, though, and in exchange for doubling the first man's offer, he wants Lana for himself.
What happens next is... Well, it's why I read romance novels.
Lana's in dire straits. Blake is the dark, troubled, conflicted hero capable of so much good but trapped in a world of apathy and privilege. Their sex-only agreement can't possibly remain just that. They're both falling, and they're both bound by their agreement and separated by the invisible but very real chasm society has placed between them. They're Romeo and Juliet with a lot more between-the-sheets action and a lot less naiveté. Lana might be innocent, but she's not blind to the harsh realities of life. Blake, privy to a much darker side of being rich, isn't self-loathing but simply resigned to his fate. Of course, you know what they say about the course of true love, right?
The second book isn't coming out till January? What the hell?!? I might die before then. Perhaps I'd be allowed to read over the editor's shoulder. Maybe? Please? It's a matter of life and death. I'm sure I can get a doctor's note attesting to that.
I went into this story thinking I knew exactly what to expect. Of course they're going to be all perfect for each other and fall in love and overcome whatever wicked witch or ex-girlfriend or metaphoric fairy tale darkness that is thrown at them. And sure, that's what I got... I think... Well, I guess the next book will tell. In the meantime, the writing is intelligent and witty, with just the right amount of every day normal as a background to the inevitable angst. But where the premise is common, the delivery most certainly isn't. It would have been easy to rush the characters into a happily ever after, to create that perfect fate far too soon, but the characters aren't overly insightful or perfect, they can't just ignore society's expectations, and falling headlong into happily ever after isn't so easy.
I need to figure out how to add a sixth star to our rating system. That is how stuck on this story I am. Is it fine literature? Probably not. But it's everything I ever loved about romance stories. And if you know anything about me, you know I don't get all girly over...well, over much of anything, really. But this story has all the classic pieces -- girl who needs to be saved... conflicted hero... seemingly insurmountable obstacles... love that can transcend all that. Despite my assumptions about the story and the characters, they surprised me, and the story completely pulled me in... Seriously gonna die here. Is it January yet?
***FicCentral received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Even so, we're far too opinionated to let a freebie influence our thoughts or the contents of the reviews we post here.