Series: Dream Man 4
Read on: July 10-14, 2012
Synopsis from goodreads:
Stuck in a colorless world, Tyra Masters decides to chuck her old life and starts searching for something. She doesn’t know what it is until she meets her dream man. The goateed, tattooed, muscled, gravelly voiced motorcycle man who plies her with tequila and gives her the best sex of her life. But she knows it isn’t the tequila and sex talking. He’s it. He’s who she’s been daydreaming about since she could remember. Until he makes it clear she isn’t who he’s looking for. Tyra slinks away from his bed, humiliated. The problem is, he’s her new boss. She just may or may not have forgotten to tell him that part. Kane “Tack” Allen has a rule. He doesn’t employ someone he’s slept with. And he lets Tyra know that in his motorcycle man way. Tyra fights for her job and wins it using sass and a technicality. Tack challenges her that if she hits his bed one more time, she loses her job. Tyra is determined to keep her job and keep away from Tack. But she makes a big mistake. During their head-to-heads, she lets it all hang out and shows Tack she is who he’s looking for. And Tack has had a good woman slip through his fingers, he’s not about to let that happen again. Although Tack colors Tyra’s world with a vibrancy that’s blinding, being with him means she has to live in his Motorcycle Club world. Full on, no holds barred. And since Tack’s world, not to mention Tack, is a little scary, Tyra isn’t so sure. It’s Tack’s job to convince her.
I follow a lot of book blogs and after some discussion about Kristen Ashley’s books, and how they were horrible, but cracktastic, I thought I had to try them. I knew going into it that I’d be encountering a hot mess full of things I knew I’d hate, but I did it anyway. Maybe some of my readers have managed to go your entire lives without deliberately reading a bad book, in which case, I commend you. I, on the other hand, think bad books have their appeal. They’re more fun to live tweet, anyway, and more fun to read out loud to friends over drinks. If that makes me a bully, as defined by the Internet police, then I own it, because you can’t make me stop reading the book crack.
First, let’s start with the writing. It’s bad. I don’t often notice prose unless it’s wonderful or terrible, but I noticed it here. It’s repetitive and juvenile, and often doesn’t make sense. Here is an example of the repetitiveness.
The steel arm tightened around my waist and my neck twisted, my head tipping back as Tack growled, “Only I call you Red, Red.”
“Why do you only call me Red?” I asked.
“Because only I do,” Tack answered.
Yep, that certainly makes everything clear. The book is full of gems like that. After Tack, our supposed hero, treats Tyra like dirt after their tequila-filled night together, she’s understandably pissed, but she has to work with him. Tack reluctantly gives her a job, and then the two continue to strike sparks off of each other in a manner described by that passage. It’s the kind of romantic banter where the heroine is never allowed to be right, because that would, I don’t know, lessen Tack’s bad-assitude?
I could get past the characters. Alpha-hole heroes and stupid heroines are a stable of romance fiction, after all, and clearly this is Ashley’s brand. It’s not my cuppa, but I knew it wasn’t going to be when I started. What was harder to overlook was the pacing. The beginning moves along at a nice clip, but the early banter goes on a shade too long, and for the most part, the romantic tension is resolved a little over three quarters of the way through the book. With a lot more pages to go. There were some suspense subplots added to the mix whose purpose I didn’t quite understand, but I have to admit, I liked the final confrontation with the bad guys. I’d have liked it more if there hadn’t been a random chapter of POV switches to every secondary character ever, but she had me during that part completely invested in the outcome. After that, there was a long, drawn-out denouement, which was beginning to wear on my patience before the book finally, mercifully, ended. I wish Kristen Ashley had the services of a good editor, someone who could have told her to cut a lot of her extraneous verbiage and improve the pacing. Sadly, this is not the case.
What saves this book from being a complete failure were the unintentionally hilarious bits. I giggled at the name Tack. Tack also has buddies named Dog, Brick, Hopper, Tug and Rosco. (You do not know the depths of my disappointment to find out that there was no Boss Hogg. Or, for that matter, Hammer, Nail, Screwdriver, Socket Wrench and Pliers.) I also giggled that bad-ass was a shortcut for everything, and I’m sure it was used at least two dozen times throughout the text. I had to admit that I liked Tack’s gritty, no-nonsense approach. He was a jerk, but he didn’t get neutered throughout the story and was a jerk right up to the end. He didn’t get redeemed by love, or by the heroine’s magic vagina. Admittedly, now the heroine is living with a bunch of thugs, which isn’t my particular romantic dream, but I suppose it works for her.
I enjoyed this train wreck of a book despite myself. I bought a couple of other Kristen Ashley books, and may get to them eventually, but I’m not sure that I’m in that much of a hurry. I recognize that I had a lot of problems with the author’s particular brand, but the stories are oddly compelling. Not enough for me to give this a higher grade, but compelling nonetheless.
Final Grade: D+
Up next: Two books about adorable beta werebears and the insane women who love them.