Price of a Kiss (Forbidden Men #1)
by Linda Kage
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I don’t care what my cousin says; I am not the queen of impossible relationships. I mean, just because my last boyfriend tried to kill me and left a bit of a scar on my neck, then forced me to move across the country and legally change my name to Reese Randall to escape him, does not mean—
Oh, who am I kidding? For a freshman in college, I have to have the worst dating track record ever.
It’s no wonder love is the last thing on my mind when Mason Lowe enters my life. But the chemistry between us is like bam! Our connection defies logic. And he’s just so freaking hot. Being around him makes me feel more alive than I’ve ever felt before. I even like bickering with him. He could be my soul mate...except for one teeny tiny glitch.
He's a gigolo.
Boy, do I know how to pick them.
Leaning down, he hugged me and buried his face in my neck. “It feels like a dream, like I’m going to wake up any second and you’ll be gone. I don’t want to wake up from this.”
So…..this was unexpected. Lately I’ve been…off. So, naturally, my reading schedule has been disturbed. Don’t worry, I’ll save you the repetitive details. But, just know, this is definitely a new trend for me. At least, as of late. I’ve grown to hate these cheesy, overly worked smutty books, mostly because somewhere around the time I found GR, I realized just how badly I was trapped in these types of worlds. I didn’t know what I liked or how to find it. Sure, as a kid/middle-schooler, etc. etc., I was drawn toward paranormal, fantasy, peril type books-I just didn’t know it. I didn’t know there was a label for these types of stories. I just knew, when my mom took me to the bookstore, that when faced with a normal romance and a book with…edge…I was most certainly going to pick up the one with edge.
Shaking my head, I muttered, “You are so…”
He grinned. “Charming? Handsome? Intriguing?”
All three, not that I’d ever admit it to him. He appeared to have a big enough ego as it was. I scowled hard. “I was going to say confusing.”
“Ahh.” He nodded in an astute manner. “We’ll slot that under intriguing.”
“Actually, I think it really deserves its own classification.”
“Fine. Whatever you like.” Shrugging as if it made no difference to him, he sent me a look full of smug, glittering eyes.
But another thing I never realized was that there was a constant there-did you guess it?? Well, let me make it simple for you because I’m a complicated soul-Romance. I didn’t realize it, but as I read my books, the thing that made me all happy and tingly inside (naïve fool that I was) was the romantic aspect (shh, aside from the peril…self-discovery can be a beautiful thing). But, again, I didn’t realize that was the common thread. Fast forward to pre-GR and pre iPad/ereader-I realized I wanted romance, sex appeal, adult contemporary….but I was in a slump. All the books tended to be sexy and…not much else. Sure, it seemed there were nice build ups and even some cool action scenes and I even found two favorites out of the pile of crap, but something essential was missing, like a piece of my soul was absent.
I rolled my eyes and let out a big sigh. When I realized he was still just standing there, watching me, I lifted an eyebrow. “So, are you going to sit down or not?”
His smile fell flat. “You don’t mind?”
I was losing all hope that adult romance was anything different. I was like…this is what adults have always read? My mom was addicted to this? I couldn’t believe it. Fast-forward like…a year and a half? I don’t know-it was a painfully dry reading time. My friend makes me get GR and…all of a sudden I start getting emails, alerts, ‘your books are similar to’, etc. Then I made friends one by one, found books one by one….and genres started expanding and…you get the picture-My world exploded in a rainbow of Technicolor. So, back to my original point: I grew to resent smutty books. I resented how cheesy they were. I resented how I had been stuck for years in a slump with those disasters. And, hell, I even grew to resent how popular they were among my friends.
He lifted a finger to hush me. “We’re not talking about me. We’re taking about you. And you are…you’re…” He paused to shake his head.
“I’m…?” I prompted, not sure if I wanted to know where this was going, but my curiosity was too intrigued not to push for more.
“You’re quirky…and yet conventional. Innocent but worldly. Reserved yet outgoing. Candid yet guarded. Trendy but also practical. And childlike while still managing to be mature. It’s like….you’re the perfect contradiction.”
So, I concocted a list. A list of…don’ts, if you will. I follow my list with rigid precision, rarely faltering in the fear that I’ll get stuck reading another eye-roll worthy bow-chicka-wowow romance. And, I admit, the list isn’t foolproof-I still find stinkers now and then. But it’s so rare that I’m beginning to become spoiled with such a high success rate. But then there come dark times in a person’s life, and it turns out that those can really drain you, exhaust you, make you want to throw in the towel and give up trying so hard because you just don’t have time to read as much anymore and it effects the fun of it all.
“Okay, okay.” I lifted my hands to stop her rambling. “Just…keep calm and think of Chris and Liam.”
“Okay,” Eva repeated. “Okay.” She panted a few times as if she was already View Spoiler »prepared to go into labor. « Hide Spoiler When an expression of shock lit her face, she straightened and gaped at me. “Hey. That actually worked.”
With a grin, I tossed my hair. “I know, right.”
No hetero female on the planet could panic with a mental image of the Hemsworth brother combo running through her head.
Enter my forbidden little weakness. As it turns out….I do have a soft spot for tortured boys. Just so happens? They’re my favorite. The bad part about that?? Forbidden boys are oh-so-hard to find in the sci-fi and dystopian sections-at least, harder to find than in, say, the NA section. The section I studiously avoid. The section that, while alluring, is so fucking corny that it sets your teeth on edge…*starts in whiney voice and stomps foot* but I. Don’t. Care. I am tired, busy, and I just want my GD tortured male lead and I want to put in minimal work for it. So, here I am. On that side of the realm I hate. That side I swore I’d stay away from. That side that, until a week ago, I had forgotten existed until I searched my iPad and found Forbidden Men #2 from years ago sitting unread and looking oh-so-easy and ready for the taking. And take I did. And far did I fall….And never did reading something so cliché ever feel so good.
So, yeah, I fucking went there.
Dumb, you say? Nah. Just not what I normally read.
Cliché, you say? Hmm…..maybe.
Cheesy, you say? Oh, undoubtedly, yes.
Sexy? Addicting? Unputdownable…You ask?
It caught my attention, didn’t it?
After he accepted praise from them, he turned to Sarah and bent down to hug her. “You’re…my…hero…too,” she told him in her halting voice.
He looked like he might start bawling. Cupping her cheek, he grinned at her and murmured, “For you. Always.”
Rule #1 : Cheesiness. I hate it. I hate it hate it hate it hate it. Yet…sometimes, if the story is just good enough, alluring enough, I don’t care. Yeah, I mean, I do care. It’s just…sometimes the story just works for me, you know? Like, it takes all the stupid out of the inner thoughts that make me roll my eyes and just makes me…laugh. Makes me shrug and giggle and say, C’est la vie! And, hey, this book did it for me. Normally I’d be ashamed, but, why should I be? This boy, this story, no matter how stupid it was, because it was just plain moronic, really, did it for me. And you know what? I’m so happy. That’s all that matters. Rule #2: The blurb and it’s sexual content ‘warning’. Gag. Really. These make me run away, but…eh. Whatever. My bitchdar is lowered…for now. Rule #3: Genre. Tried and failed too many times, my friends. It begins to get tedious, you know? And so many more rules, really, but I proved my point: Rule book? Meet window. And Mason? Come to Mama. Just a word about him, ‘kay?? Just a widdle quick word, teeny-tiny:
SEXY TORTURED GIGOLO TORMENTED OSTRACISED LONELY MISTREATED USED HURT SEXY (OOPS DID I MENTION SEXY ALREADY) INTELLIGENT BROKEN BRAVE LOYAL—-
I lied. Suck it.
And I even loved Reese. Though, hey, those inner monologues? Psst-she’s the culprit. I went from wanting to strangle her in chapter one to loving her to thinking ‘is this chick real?’ to ‘okay she’s cute’ to…whatever. I like the girl…even if her thoughts are out of this world odd…and a lot like mine. Whoops.
What I didn’t like:
–Idiotic, bitchy cousin: Go to hell, asshole
–Twirling her lady mustache-like villain: Yeah, this is soooooo realistic, bahahah not
–How the little sister was introduced: It wasn’t bad….but it certainly wasn’t good. It felt….wrong. But, then, I don’t know how it should have been handled.
–The back and forthness
–The writing: Damn the writing!
-Probably a ton more I’ll think of after posting but ugh-so fucking tired sooo….
Mrs. Garrison had actually kind of disappointed me. She’d let me go without a fight. Humph. Chicken. I’d been all keyed up to kick some cougar ass, too.
Oh, well, such was life. C’est la vie. Maybe I could beat up the next woman who tried to hurt my man.
All in all, this was exactly what I needed. Sexy and fun and light without being too light, I fell under this book’s spell…even though it was so unbelievable. Like…so soooo unbelievable. But…eh. The inner dialogue, the quirky humor, the way they became friends on campus and his vulnerability and willingness to do so was just…perfection. I’ll never forget those moments in this book. There was a lot wrong but, sometimes wrong is right, ya know? I fell in love, despite its many flaws, and that’s really all I could ask for. Mood=lifted. Just…sigh. Shut up, Pea.