Ellora’s Cave, $5.99, ISBN 978-1419911507
Contemporary Erotica, 2007
I wish I can cheat and use the much nicer cover of the edition released independently by the author, but I suppose the cover for the Ellora’s Cave edition isn’t that bad. Just like with some of the past reviews of titles in the Torrid Tarot line, I am reading the original edition of Divine Assistant by Red Garnier, and I have no idea whether the edition out there at the moment has been revised, expanded, or tinkered in any other way.
If you ask me, the real struggle with this one isn’t with delivering the sexy stuff, although the result is quite lacking in that area—no, this is an effort by the author to make constructive dismissal a sexy kind of foreplay. Patrick Holden does all he can to be an asshole to Lucy Divine because her hot porn star body (his words, not mine) makes him wish that he is living out his own adult film with him in the starring role, culminating in him finally finding an excuse to fire her. Well, she collapses on the spot and requires him to watch over her… take in her underwear… so hot…drooling over an injured woman like that… so sexy… Well, it is, people, because he’s hot, rich, and packed in the crotch, so that’s all a woman needs from a man to offer her pot and beg for his honey.
I’m afraid I can’t overlook the constructive dismissal aspect of the plot to appreciate the rest of Patrick. Oh, once he’s had the heroine, he puts on this protective and possessive act, which only makes him doubly creepy of an asshole. The heroine seems to have to keep getting injured in order to maintain his attention (no, I’m not kidding), and the emotional angst faced by the heroine stems mostly from her being concerned that she is acting like a slut (her word, not mine). I don’t get it. This is supposed to be an erotic romance, right? Why is the heroine then so concerned about acting like a slut? Honey, we celebrate sluts in this genre—that silly bint can stop moaning like a boring broken record player, and go mount that photocopy machine now, thanks.
Oh, and Lucy also has to deal with nasty secretaries that hate her because they know she is far more special than them. Again, I can’t help feeling that this is a result of the hostile working environment perpetuated by Patrick in his effort to keep himself from, I don’t know, because it’s not like bosses across the world have never slept with their employees before. He’s single, to boot, so it’s not like he can even use a pregnant wife and seven kids as an excuse for the way he treats Divine in this story.
Sadly, the sex scene isn’t long or explicit enough to make up for the unpleasant premise or the distasteful hero. In fact, my reaction is more “Girl, why are you putting out to him instead of suing the hell out of that used-douche POS?” than “You go, girl!”
If Red Garnier had succeeded in anything here, it’s to make the premise of boinking a hot and very wealthy dude a most unpleasant experience to read about. So… congratulations?