Avon Impulse, $3.99, ISBN 978-0-06-236513-2
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Rosie Callahan is held against her will, handcuffed to a bed in the back room of our hero Johann Weir’s place. He’s mad, you see, because he caught her while she and her friend set fire to his bookstore. Actually, Rosie didn’t mean to, she was dragged into the mess by her friend, et cetera. Fortunately, Johann’s hot and has a big penis (really), while she is pert, cute, looks like Zooey Deschanel in a pink dress, and her honey pot is big enough to fit every inch of him, so this can only be true love, baby.
Taken is the third title from this author that I’ve read, and I can only conclude that she’s a fraud. The author pretends to be serving up dark and edgy noir-like romance stories, but these stories are actually watered down stuff catering to the lowest denominator, just like those erotic stories that pretend to be pushing the envelope when all they offer are people having sex non-stop while feeling all guilty about their behavior. Here, the characters go out of their way to be nice and likable despite the premise they are thrust into, so the entire story feels unnatural and fake, sort of like something one would get when a virginal church granny writes an erotic story on a dare.
The characters aren’t even interesting. Johann is mopey and whiny. Rosie’s personality veers from one extreme to another. One moment she is a needy waif, the next moment she is a peen-hungry monster who wants it everywhere and right away. Instead of showing fear or anything else that one would normally feel in her situation, Rosie sasses and pouts at Johann.
He has muscles in his butt.
Is it any wonder I feel the need to comment?
I doubt I could stop myself if he begged me – a point that proves true a second later.
“Please do not look at my ass while I attempt to not listen to your underwear coming off,” he says, swiftly followed by me asking even more salacious things.
“Can you hear it sliding down my thighs?”
“No. All I can hear is the blood rushing in my ears.”
“They are cotton with Tuesday on the bottom.”
“Stop that. That is… not cool.”
“Which one? Talk of my underwear or your backside?”
“Both of them. Both of them are not cool.”
If you think the above is the hottest thing ever, then go ahead, Taken will rock your socks off. If you get fanfiction gone wrong vibes instead, well, it’s a good thing that there are more erotic stories out there.
Taken is a wasted opportunity. I find myself thinking of ways to make this one as gritty and dirty as it should be – the heroine should be 16, not 23; the hero should be much older… say, a fifty-something mild-mannered professor type who hides a dark and sadistic side. He’s the one ripping her underwear off, and she’s the one who shoves the ripped underwear into his mouth as she rides him like a demented bronco. Or something – make these characters as deranged as they should be, and push the envelope; don’t just pretend that the story is dark and disturbing, make it so.
If the author is worried about scaring off readers, then she should have just stuck with sour-faced virgins bent on seducing their brother’s best friend in some cowboy podunk town. Otherwise, why even bother with a half-arsed tale like Taken that goes out of its way to stay inoffensive and tame?