Emilia Stone (Mia to her friends) has noticed something. Everywhere she looks in the gaming world in which she’s immersed, there’s a scantily clad female character — often in need of saving. Independent to a fault, she can hardly relate, and she doesn’t hold back those thoughts on her popular gaming blog. When it comes to saving, she’s more than capable of taking care of herself, even if it means boxing up half her lunch so she can have leftovers for dinner, having her cell phone cut off for lack of payment, and auctioning off her virginity. After all, she can take care of herself, and if that means handing over her first time in order to pay for her mother’s medication, the mortgage on the family’s ranch, and medical school — which she’ll never get into if she doesn’t pass this test — then so be it. Too much value has been assigned to so-called “purity,” and she’s going to get her money’s worth.
Adam Drake is a long way from his troubled childhood, and he’s earned every bit of it. While most his age are just starting out in their careers, still burdened by student loans and a general lack of direction, he’s built a business empire that guarantees him everything he wants — and what he wants is to spend every free second working. Or at least that’s what he thought.
This story was soooo not what I’d thought it would be, and that’s a wonderful thing. I certainly don’t mind the dashing gazillionaire saving the destitute virgin left with no other option than to sell herself to the highest bidder; if written well, it can be one hell of an entertaining story. But this one’s altogether different, and that’s what made it such a fun read.
Adam is a powerful man in the business world, but he’s not perfect, and for all he’s been through, he doesn’t have that self-loathing martyr thing going. He doesn’t play that “You’re too good for me, so I’m pushing you away despite my feelings” card, and even though he throws out some mixed signals here and there, he’s generally just a good guy.
Mia’s not some helpless victim, either. She stands to lose a lot if she doesn’t get his money, but she’s also got a lot going for her. She’s a popular blogger, has a decent job, and has a great support system in her mother and her best friend. Auctioning off her virginity isn’t exactly a last resort; it’s a misguided attempt to take better control of her life. Suffice it to say, these aren’t your cookie cutter characters.
So about that editing… Actually, it wasn’t bad. Either I was to engrossed in what was happening to notice (not likely), or this is one of the few stories I’ve read lately that had a damned good editor. The only thing that made me pause is the apparent confusion between the correct cheer Hear, hear, and the oft-used Here, here – the latter of which is overwhelming (mis)used by those same people on Facebook who assume that their, there, and they’re are interchangeable. Then again, that phrase popped up in describing comments left on Mia’s blog, so maybe it was a subtle way of pointing out that even in fiction, most people online have no clue what words they’re actually using? Let’s pretend that was it, so I don’t get all twitchy. Clearly, I’m way too affected by grammar crap.
I have to say I was really surprised by this book. I expected it to follow the usual recipe for this sort of plot line, but it strayed wonderfully. Mia is portrayed with much more strength than you normally see, and Adam isn’t that tortured, cold megalomaniac whose icy heart just needs a chance to thaw. Sure, there’s some miscommunication, and both hesitate to lay their hearts bare, but overall it was a refreshing change of pace for a popular plot line. And really, who among us book nerds can’t appreciate some geeks? If you like a little awkward awe with your romance, check it out. It’s a really fun read.
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