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REVIEW: Fated by S. H. Kolee

Dear Ms. Kolee:

Your first book featured a possessive, jealous hero who in real life should be locked up far away from real women. (For the record, I enjoyed this book but the hero is creepy). This story does not follow the same path and some readers looking for the jealous, possessive hero fix might be disappointed. I appreciated the change and believes that the broader range of storytelling bodes well for future Kolee books.

Fated S. H. KoleeCaden Riley is a famous photographer known for his erotic photographs. He is rumored to have slept with some, if not all, of his subjects. How else does he capture their rapturous expressions during climax and release? Lauren Sloan is recruited by her roommate to be her temporary replacement for Caden as his personal assistant. The roommate is going on an extended trip with her photographer boyfriend.

Lauren isn’t sure she wants to work for Caden who comes off as arrogant and cold hearted but the money is too good to turn down and the stint is only for three months. Lauren does not initially like Caden. She acknowledges that he is attractive and sexy looking but he’s not very nice to her or the people that he does business with. In short, there isn’t a lot likeable about Caden and I appreciated that Lauren isn’t immediately thinking with her private parts when it comes to asshole heroes. Lauren’s resistance to Caden and the occasional opinion that he has to drag out of her intrigue him.

It is apparent early on that Caden has no appreciation for Lauren’s boundaries. He wants to get Lauren into bed. It’s hard to say whether his motivations initially are simply because he is intrigued and he wants to photograph her or if he actually has feelings for her. The story is told in the first person from Lauren’s point of view and while some things Lauren observes fairly well, others aren’t well articulated.

There are limitations in Lauren’s storytelling such as rather than show us Caden’s problems through dialogue and action, third party confidences are used to reveal important backstory. Her roommate shares some and so do Caden’s father figure and attorney which sometimes seemed out of place, particularly when Caden demanded privacy and discretion above all else.

The primary conflict is emotional. Caden wants to photograph Lauren and she resists. When the capitulation arrives, both protagonists’ feelings deepen but Caden has a hard time with relationships because he saw his loving father kill his mother who admitted to be cheating on him. He fears he has the same obsessive, destructive genes in him and tries to remain unattached.

Lauren’s past sexual encounters haven’t been good and she’s suffered abuse. She wonders whether she can ever enjoy sex and when surrounded by the pictures of ecstasy depicted in Caden’s photographs she begins to long for what he has captured in, and maybe even provided to, other women. But this explanation isn’t well foreshadowed making the transition from resistance to surrender rather abrupt.

I really really enjoyed Lauren who tries hard to set up boundaries with Caden and is fairly emotionally honest throughout the book. There is one scene where she tells Caden that she is not damaged, that’s she deserves more than he can give her and basically tells him off. I think I’ve been waiting for a heroine to make that speech since forever.

The ending fades a bit in emotional intensity but there’s a lot of positive storytelling in this book and I’ll be anxious to read the next Kolee contemporary. B-

Best regards,


P.S. So I know that the Calla Lily plays an important role in the story but many readers have commented on how unfortunate it is on the cover. I didn’t mind it so much.

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. carmen webster buxton
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 12:20:22

    Re: Calla lily


    When I lived in Hawaii, I was told the Hawaiian name for the anthurium was “little boy plant.” I don’t know if that’s true (it’s not actually a native species) but I always remembered it.

  2. pooks
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 14:01:54

    Aside: the links to the review of the Chocolate book aren’t working.

  3. Jane
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 14:22:49

    @pooks – thanks, fixed.

  4. pooks
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 18:10:07


    For some reason I still can’t get to it.

  5. Nicole
    Jan 04, 2013 @ 19:42:08

    I enjoyed this book. I really liked Lauren; she reminded me of an Anne Stuart heroine (smart but slightly crabby).

  6. Jane
    Jan 05, 2013 @ 19:11:52

    @pooks: You may have to refresh the page.

    @Nicole: I liked her a lot too. I felt she was portrayed realistically and I liked her internal strength.

  7. Barbara
    Jan 05, 2013 @ 23:38:33

    I haven’t gotten to this one yet, but re: the calla lily – I picked this one up partially because of it. I’m getting bored with all of the panting, half-naked couples groping each other on the covers of NAs. You can almost tell by how the couple is kissing on the cover what the story will be like – sweet little almost kiss means a romantic, emotional story; couple holding hands is probably a friends to lovers story; hot naked clinch is some explosive book about damaged people who can’t stay away from each other but have to be together.

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