So I was reading Looking Inside more or less swimmingly until I came across this: “Her long, slightly bent legs slid along his suede bedspread.” Suede? Suede?? As a BEDSPREAD??? That was it. I totally lost it. It goes without saying that I’d suspend reality for a story about a voyeuristic inner-sex-kitten librarian who works at museum and whose neck is so long she can rest her chin on her shoulder, but suede sheets – no frickin’ way.
The story didn’t begin super smoothly in the first place. See, inner-sex-kitten/giraffe librarian Eleanor keeps seeing a hot guy sexing loads of ladies from the guest bedroom of her sister’s condo, and when her sister dies a year later and leaves her the condo, she decides to:
- Make a play for him by wearing her sister’s sexy suede clothes
- Follow the sexy guy to a reading club
- Flash her sexy vajoinks at him
- Then do a sexy pole dance for him in the guest bedroom.
Yeah. Okay. You do that.
Mr Hotshot Music Entertainment Startup Site (or HotMESS) is completely turned on but also royally pissed off, and in his case I’d be as well. Let’s take a look at Eleanor’s actions, but change the gender. Imagine if a man had done that to me. I’m reading alone in a book club, seeing a hot guy (and looking’s okay – everyone does that), but then he flashes me, tells me to look across the street and then strips for me, then tells me later that he’s been looking at me having sex for a year (because I’m careless about curtains) and obsessing over me. I know what I’d do, and it’s not have sex with him on my suede bedspread.
Just hidden behind the suede curtains is a story about a beautiful woman who lacks self-esteem, is grieving for her sister, and takes the opportunity to come out of her shell and grab what she wants. It’s also the story of a man who can’t seem to connect with women and is trying desperately to understand them, and himself. Sometimes – okay, more than sometimes – that story comes through, and it’s genuinely touching. Sure, they have sexy times, but those times mean something to both of them, and they’re largely honest with each other and themselves. And it’s hot. Really hot.
But then there’s that damn suede bedspread. Other moments that make no sense. The fact that I just cannot remember the hero’s name. A revelation that came not out of left field, but from outside the ballpark completely, and which left me rolling my eyes so hard I saw my optic nerve. And so – much – suede. (I will mention in the spirit of disclosure that I received an ARC to read, and maybe the suede bedspread is not, in fact, a suede bedspread. But if it’s a typo. what could it possibly be? Sweet bedspread? Swede? Swedish? Swag? They all suck.)
Normally I quite like Beth Kery. She writes character-driven romance that are also really hot (like, really), and if her characters and situations are all fantasies, well, sometimes that’s what a reader wants and/or needs. But man, this one took the cake, and more so than I wanted. Maybe I can only take so much suspension of disbelief – like, a maximum of a few feet off the ground, rather than perching insouciantly on the top of the CN Tower like Drake, not knowing that it’s about to be flicked off at any moment by the God of Reality Checks.