REVIEW: Claimed By Him by Red Garnier
Dear Ms. Garnier:
I’ve been a fan of yours since “Satin Sash” for your ability to write emotionally charged love scenes and I’ve read everything you’ve written, although most of it has been shorter works including this one. I still think you write great sex scenes but the actual falling in love and character arcs need some work.
This is a short sexy story featuring the best friend of the brother and the little sister. Unfortunately while there is a lot of “she’s all grown up now and stirs my pants” there isn’t a ton of much else. I enjoy a good erotic romance as anyone else, but I really need more character interaction outside the bedroom.
Chloe Lexington is a beautiful, delicious princess but the baby sister of Graves Buchanan’s friend, Daniel. Graves is a self made billionaire, creating advanced robotics and weapons defense systems for the US government as well as the private sector. (And yes, I thought Iron Man but Luke Preston, the underwear billionaire, has the personality of Robert Downey Jr. in this series). He grew up in foster homes and likes somewhat deviant sex, or so we are told, and therefore despite his intense attraction for Chloe he will not act on it.
When Chloe gets tired of waiting for Graves to accept a year’s worth of subtle invitations, she boldly propositions him. But Graves doesn’t want to sully her. It should be noted that Graves’ deviant sexual desires never really manifests itself. His pity me attitude was a little tiresome and I guess I should be grateful that this is a novella because that kind of conflict would have eventually frustrated me in a longer book.
Chloe is a virgin, unfortunately, at the age of twenty-five. I promise you authors that if you give your heroines one or two previous sexual experiences, we will not think that they are sluts unworthy of the hero. Despite her untouched status, Chloe pursues Graves until he succumbs. And then they have rocking good sex throughout the story.
We don’t get too much of the fun interaction between Graves and Daniel and there is always so much potential in those relationships. They have one fight and seem to make up without a big fuss. Boo on that.
Probably the best male character in the book is Luke Preston, manwhore extraordinaire. You could almost hear the Bow chicka wow wow play every time he entered stage right. The book isn’t going to linger long and for $1.99 maybe it’s just right. I was a little worried that this was going to be a serial, but it ends with a conclusion and HEA. C+
Agreed! I can’t wait for the virgin trope to go away already.
The underwear billionaire sounds intriguing — of course he’s getting his own book, right?
So, as a reasonably attractive and successful woman who remained a virgin until 25, why is it so unbelievable? I’m not some religious devotee and I’m from NYC so not in the woods. I and a few of my friends didn’t hop on the bandwagon of high school/college sex. Since I’m one of these, I find it believable. What I think romance needs more of is women who’ve had umpteen sexual partners and the heroes that love them.
@Anon: It’s not an issue of believability. I do find it plausible that a woman might remain a virgin into her twenties or even beyond. It’s more of an issue of societal expectations. Until recently, the virgin trope was pervasive in romance and didn’t seem to reflect reality, which was that a woman might not be a virgin when she met her husband and she might have multiple sexual partners in her lifetime. There has always been a double standard in romance, where men are playboys and women are expected to be sexually innocent — their sexually can only awakened by the hero. The female characters who aren’t virgins are often portrayed as antagonists and “sluts.” (Slut-shaming goes hand in hand w/ the virgin trope.)
Anon, I hope you didn’t take any insult from my annoyance with the trope. I would never think that a woman who remained a virgin into her twenties was doing so because she was super religious or sheltered or too unappealing to have sex with. I don’t fault anyone for their own decisions. What a fault is a culture where a “pure” woman is more worthy of love than one who isn’t a virgin. Our society seems to be changing, yet this heavily loaded trope persists in romance. That’s what I meant by my flippant remark. :)
Plus, virgins are way overexposed, like dukes and millionnaires. In addition, it seems like very few authors are willing to take the trope and do something interesting with it or make it actually matter to the character or plot. As Gillyweed said, it’s usually just shorthand for “this character is desirable”.
(also a 25-year-old virgin)
Loved she was a virgin! So many contemporary (majority anyway) romances are non virgins, it’s nice to have some that are. Yes, there are still some of us virgins around (i even know of some guy friends too that are choosing to wait, not for religious reasons either). Attractive, successful, normal women who are choosing to wait for a very meaningful and loving special someone. Nothing wrong with being a virgin or having a heroine be one one a romance novel either.