Avon Impulse, $4.99, ISBN 978-0-06-238042-5
Historical Erotica, 2015
While Desire Me Now is a spicy romance with love scenes that go considerably into some detail, I hesitate to consider in erotic romance, as the only moment it goes beyond vanilla sex is when the hero’s mistress goes down on him in the prologue. Of course, he then ditches her as she, an independent businesswoman, is looking for marriage and he’s not the man to do that marriage thing. And you know what they say: when a man tells you that he’s not the marrying kind, what he’s really saying is that he’s not going to marry you. Indeed, Nicholas Riley quickly moves on from bye-bye banana splitting to lusting after a damsel in distress.
Given that the ex-mistress doesn’t play any impact on the rest of the story, I can only suppose that her inclusion is the author’s way of telling her readers that career women will never get any man to marry them and hence, it is far better to be a damsel in distress. I know, there are men in real life who are like that, but in a genre that tells me fictitious stuff such as how rakes and playboys make the best husbands, I’d think the author can lie harder to me now and then. Oh well.
I’m talking about this because the rest of the story isn’t very memorable. Our heroine Amelia Grant is on the run. Her wastrel nasty brother wants her to marry some bloke, but she refuses and hence has to flee because she will never marry unless it’s by her own choice. So she decides to get a job as a governess through an agency, and ends up getting drugged and nearly raped by another nobleman. She manages to flee, only to have her purse stolen from her. She gives chase and nearly gets run over, until a handsome stranger – our hero, of course – saves her.
Because she reminds him of some woman in his past (don’t ask), Nick sets her up at his big, fabulous mansion and even takes her in as his secretary even if she has zero experience in being one. Oh, and he also wants to have sex with her a lot, and this time, Amelia gets super randy at the sight of his hotness, so she tries very hard to be coy and demure even as she wrestles with her shameful desires. Also, because the author wants to distract me from the fact that Amelia is created solely to be in distress from the very start, she has our heroine goes immediately from victim mode to Sassyrella Sasses It All mode the moment she is safe in Nick’s protection. That’s how we know that the heroine is feisty, witty, courageous, humorous, et cetera – and for good measure, in case I don’t get the memo, Nick marvels as how feisty, witty, et cetera Amelia is while she sasses him.
Amelia is everything that mistress isn’t. She puts out eagerly, but immediately wails that she feels so ashamed of the naughty things she did with Nick, and that’s how we all know that she is not pure whore but rather, pure goddess worthy of love. Meanwhile, her brother plagues her, and she feels compelled to hide secrets from Nick or tries to bumble her way alone – she doesn’t want to inconvenient Nick, after all – with the predictable result of her sinking deeper into the smelly stuff. This story ends with a cliffhanger, as when this one was first released, series were a thing as everyone wants to draw out her stories into at least three books just like EL James and Sylvia Day did. Still, this one ends in a high note that can be considered a closure for readers who don’t care about reading the next books in this series.
Desire Me Now is okay, I suppose, as it’s readable and there is nothing about it that is particularly awful. At the same time, though, nothing about it is particularly memorable either. Nick is a bland hero designed to rescue the heroine and give her a life of luxury, Amelia is a damsel in distress with unrealistic mood swings that go from one “I’m a victim! Wah wah wah!” extreme to another “I’m a sassy sassbell! Behold my sass!” extreme with nothing in between, and everything about the conflict feels contrived and calculated to draw out the entire thing for as many books as possible. A lukewarm three-oogie score feels about right, then.