Make Me Want
Make Me Want is one of the first books from Harlequin’s Dare line, a new imprint that is meant to be hotter than their others. Since I’m a fan of Katee Robert, I was looking forward to see what she could bring to the range as well as getting an idea of what to expect from the other books. If they’re all like Make Me Want, you can expect Dare books to be short and steamy, but relatively light on deep emotions or complex plots.
Lucy Baudin wants to get married to advance her career, because she thinks the law firm she works for looks down on her for being single. She decides to enlist her ex-husband’s friend Gideon Novak to play her matchmaker. Gideon is actually a head-hunter, but Lucy is confident he can transfer those skills to finding her an eligible bachelor who would be interested in settling down to a sort of marriage of convenience
There’s more to her request, however. Lucy’s ex belittled her sexual skills and cheated on her – a fact that was revealed to her by none other than Gideon. The end of her marriage left her feeling insecure about sex, and she knows she will need to overcome those feelings in order to succeed in a second marriage. She decides to ask Gideon to give her, for lack of a better term, sex lessons.
Okay, so this part was weird. Robert brings her usual skill at writing sex scenes, so everything that happens between Lucy and Gideon in bed (or on the couch, or in a dressing room) is hot. However, I found the premise of her asking him for sex lessons so flimsy that I couldn’t get past it. I like the idea of the matchmaker falling for his client, which worked well in Jane Graves’ Heartstrings and Diamond Rings. I would have been fine with Gideon, who has been crazy about Lucy since before she married his friend anyway, trying to set her up with potential husbands and floundering because he wants her for himself. They still could have gotten it on just as often out of pure wanting. The whole idea that he needed to give her sex lessons and neither of them would develop feelings for each other was too absurd. Especially since Lucy is somewhat inexperienced and had been abstinent for a couple years prior.
This left me feeling conflicted about Make Me Want. I liked Gideon fine. I liked the matchmaking. The quality of the writing is good enough. Lucy is an insecure mess but that kind of character can work in the right circumstances. But I just couldn’t ever get on board with the overarching premise, and that’s a killer. It makes the plot seem too thin in between the sex scenes, and the attachment Lucy and Gideon share feel too forced, when it could have sprung naturally from shared attraction and friendship.
This was a quick read, and one that I was eager to come back to each time I could. I zipped through the book in a few days without trouble, so I’ll look for more from Robert and the Dare line. I just wanted more oomph from the story. I really like books where one or both characters have been pining for the other for years and they finally see their moment to give in, but while Make Me Want had that, it would have been more impactful without the contrived sex lessons concept.
I’m interested to see what else Harlequin Dare puts out. It does have a higher heat level and more sex scenes than the other Harlequin titles I’m familiar with, but I would say that the sex is pretty vanilla compared to what you see in other high-heat books being put out by other publishers. It may be naughty for Harlequin, but plenty of readers won’t be at all scandalized by Make Me Want. The next book from Robert is Gideon’s friend Roman’s story, so I do look forward to seeing if it satisfies a bit better than this title.