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Jasmine Haynes

REVIEW:  The Principal’s Office by Jasmine Haynes

REVIEW: The Principal’s Office by Jasmine Haynes

Dear Ms. Haynes:

I’ll confess that I had become disenchanted with your work. The grown up hookers with a heart of gold series followed by two dark and somewhat unromantic stories made me gun shy. But a free book of an author I’ve liked in the past? I can’t resist at least giving it a try and I am glad that I did.

The Principal's Office Jasmine HaynesRachel Delaney is a newly divorced single mom sharing custody of two teen boys with her ex husband. Before her divorce, she was a homemaker. Now she is working at a receptionist for a local company but her small salary doesn’t allow her for many extras even with her ex picking up the tab for the mortgage. Her eldest, Nathan, is playing Rachel against his father like a pro, starting to hang out with a bad crowd, and acting perpetually angry. Rachel would like something just for herself and while a lover would be nice, she’d settled for a vibrator.

Rand Torvik is a believer in the law of attraction or perhaps the universe reshaping things that were meant to be. He sees Rachel three random times – at a grocery store, outside a sex store where Rachel bought her vibrator, and in a local coffee shop – before approaching her with his interest. Rachel isn’t looking for a relationship but she wouldn’t mind calling on Rand for a little adult time. This suits Rand just fine.

In some ways, Rand and Rachel’s sexual interaction is much like a courtship. Even in this erotic book, their first encounter is relatively chaste, at least between the two. Rand’s neighbors are exhibitionists and Rand essentially sets up a first date atmosphere with wine on his upper balcony and a cinematic view of the neighbor’s hot tub antics. Every encounter that Rand and Rachel experience explore a few more fantasies from video taping themselves to participating in some exhibitionism themselves. Inevitably their physical connection brings them emotionally close. Rachel and Rand’s relationship is put on hold when she discovers that Rand is her son’s new principal, a man that her son hates.

As Rachel becomes more sexually adventurous with the encouragement of Rand, she gains confidence at work with the encouragement of a co worker. I felt that Rachel was blossoming into the person she could have been, not because she had a job and a lover, but because she began to identify herself as an individual and it was through those two vehicles that this came about. I enjoyed her recognizing that her skills as a mother translated into managing fractious co workers.

The one weakness in the story was Rand. The story could have been written in the first person because despite scenes from Rand’s point of view, he remained much of a mystery. He had little character movement and everything he did was exactly right. He knew exactly how to nudge Rachel into loosening her inhibitions, guessing exactly what would turn her on. He was able to turn her son around with exactly the right methods. I found him too good to be true and in many ways a flat character. I was also puzzled by his mantra that the laws of attraction bound his actions. The way he conducted his life didn’t seem as metaphysical as his philosophies would indicate.

The ex husband storyline was fairly predictable and while it was used to propel Rachel’s storyline and exhibit her newfound personal strength, I didn’t find the ex husband’s actions particularly believable which worked to lessen the tension that I believe it was supposed to present.

I did love the subtle sex positive, pro woman message in the story. A repeated mantra is that Rachel deserves to have it all. She deserves to be viewed as a good mother, an upstanding member of her community, and most of all, she deserves to have great sex. Rand is happy to stand by her side to make sure all of those things come to fruition, particularly the great sex part. It seems that full length erotic romances are a wasteland of late so The Principal’s Office, even at the trade paperback price, might be worth it. B-

Best regards,

Jane

  • The Principal’s Office by Jasmine Haynes * $0.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • REVIEW: Yours for the Night by Jasmine Haynes

    REVIEW: Yours for the Night by Jasmine Haynes

    Dear Ms. Haynes:

    0425229998.01.LZZZZZZZDr. Brooke Magnati has come out as the face behind the prostitute Belle Du Jour. Dr. Magnati was finishing up her PhD and running low on cash and decided that having sex for money would be a way for her to keep her day job, make ends meet, and presumably have time to herself. Magnati as Belle du Jour wrote a number of bestseling books regarding her life as a prostitute and Showtime has an adaption of this series called Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

    Why bring this up? The social messaging of this book is that sexual commerce can be an empowered female concept. Problematically, the stories really don’t play out that way. Instead, as one person mentioned to me, this is Pretty Woman done three ways. Each story in this collection is about a high class courtesan/prostitute/call girl who leaves the empowered life of hooking when a fabulous looking guy who happens to be super rich marries her. A woman is matched with the client. The client pays a fee to the company and the woman gets paid through “tips” or other forms of compensation (jewelry, clothes, etc) if the client is happy with the “date” which is how the agency and call girls refer to the client appointments.

    The Girlfriend Experience. This was the weakest and least favorite of the collection primarily because Marianna was so irritating.

    Thirty five year old Marianna finds herself in a financial fix when her father won’t give her a loan. Marianna has a good time blaming her problems on her father. After all, he and her mother want her to have a lifestyle that fits their image of wealthy and successful while Marianna would like to be read books to kids and do other good deeds. Unable to be successful in real estate and unable to live a less expensive lifestyle, Marianna is unable to make ends meet. Her girlfriend gives her the idea of becoming an escort. At first, Marianna is aghast, but her friend tells her that not only is it sexy, getting paid for sex, but it’s also powerful.

    Okay. "Doesn’t it make you feel sleazy and dirty?" Marianna was dying to know.

    The smile was slow to grow on Jewel’s lips, but when it came, it was sexy, sultry, secretive. "Getting paid for it is the hottest thing I’ve ever done, and so damn sexy. This is better than a one-night stand, and you don’t have to worry about how to get rid of him in the morning. Oh my God"-’Jewel rolled her eyes-’"if a one-nighter is looking for a relationship . . ." She punctuated with finger quotes. "If I decide I don’t like a guy, I tell my consultant not to put his calls through."

    After his wife died, Chase Ramirez focused all of his attention on raising his daughter. She’s a sophomore in school now and Chase is suffering a bad case of boredom. He exhibits signs of serious depression: ” Yet as hard as it was to get up in the morning, if he didn’t have work to occupy him, he’d simply die. And he needed to stick around for Krista.” Clinically, this would be known as suicidal ideation. Anyway, Chase’s buddy convinces him that he just needs to get laid and provides a number for an exclusive call girl company (Marianna’s in fact!). The idea of buying someone for sex appeals to Chase. The anonymity of it, the immediacy of it, and of course, the transient nature.

    In Marianna, Chase finds the perfect antidote for his loneliness. Bonus, even his daughter likes her.

    *****

    Payback. This was the best of the collection because it actually takes some time to explore both the positive and negative sides of sex and commerce.

    Dominique Lowe is a long time contractor with the call girl agency.    She was once the perfect wife of a wealthy man until she found out she couldn’t have children.   Edward, her ex, cheated on her, impregnated a young woman, divorced Dominique and married the pregnant girl.   Dominique was humiliated and hurt.   Making men pay for sex was one way in which she enacted revenge against her ex.

    At a party, Gabriel Price watches an interesting tableau play out across the room. A woman encounters a younger pregnant woman and an older man comes and ushers the young pregnant woman away.   The woman, Gabrielle, is hurt and vulnerable and this appeals to Gabriel.

    Gabriel and Dominique engage in a torrid limo encounter after which Dominique hands him her card and suggests that he call up and ask for a date, through her agency. Dominique is encouraged to date Gabriel without the agency involvement but Dominique is adamant that she is only in control through the agency set up:

    "I’m a courtesan, Isabel. I can’t go back to a normal life with a normal relationship. I like the power too much. And a man is never going to accept what I do for a living. You know it as well as I do." She snapped her purse closed as if that solidified her decision on the matter. "He pays like everyone else does."

    Dominique’s post divorce identity was so strongly wrapped up in her work.

    When she was with Gabriel, Edward ceased to exist. No other man had done that. Not the sheik with his thirty-thousand-dollar gift. Not Trevor with ten thousand dollars or diamonds and emeralds. No amount of money, no present, made her forget. It only gave her power when she imagined showing Edward her worth to other men.

    Gabriel made her powerful without the symbol.

    Unfortunately, Dominique was sure that Gabriel was just fascinated by her because she was something new and shiny to him and repeated engagements would wear down the novelty. While Gabriel would like to pursue something more meaningful, Dominique keeps trying to return it to a business transaction. She finally comes to the realization that no amount of money or perceived power will restore her and that with Gabriel, she has the opportunity to move forward.

    Triple Play. This story is the most outre of the collection. Noelle St. James is kind of a sex addict. She loves sex, all kinds of it, with all kinds of people. Courtesans provides her an opportunity to get paid for doing something she craves. Lately though, something is missing. Like an adrenaline junky looking for her next fix by taking on increasingly risky adventures, Noelle is no longer satisfied by her “dates.”

    Fortunately, Dax Deacon arrives on the scene. Dax has a fetish that ordinary dating can’t fulfill. He loves to watch. Recognizing that most women won’t enjoy being constantly asked to have sex with others, Dax has turned to the professional sex trade and in Noelle, he finds the perfect partner. Nearly every fantasy that he can dream up, Noelle wants to act out. In this, they find the perfect partnership.

    One thing I did like was that all the characters are older. The heroes are in their forties and the heroines are late 30s to late 40s. There aren’t too many books that feature protagonists over forty and this collection makes a good case that older doesn’t mean less sexy.

    The sex scenes in the story are well done and the book is as hot as you’ve ever written. So long as the reader totally focuses on the fantasy, these stories are both romantic and sexy. I never did, however, buy into the idea that getting paid for sex, particularly in the manner that these women were paid, was empowering at all. Being a courtesan in the historical time period was empowering because it was one of the only ways a woman could be truly independent. In modern times, however, I have a hard time believing in this fantasy, no matter how convincing the pen of the storyteller. C+

    Best regards,

    Jane

    This book can be purchased at Amazon or in ebook format from Sony or other etailers.