Review copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
I'm sad to say that I didn't really care for this book. I wanted so badly to like it but the more I read, the worse it got and the more frustrated I became. The BDSM aspect is extremely light, uneven and not realistic at all. The heroine is no heroine at all and was the main reason that I didn't care for this book. An uncomfortable scene towards the end made the hero look very bad and didn't seem to have much of a point except to make the reader squirm and/or to make borderline rape seem okay...
I want to start with what I liked about this book. The writing was very good. As unlikable as some of the characters were, I found myself really enjoying the writing. I think this author knows how to tell a story. Up until 3/4 of the way through the book, I also loved the hero, Parker. Parker is pretty much mostly blind. He can see fuzzy shapes and light and darkness but that's about it. I liked how he was able to live his life fairly independently (he still had to have a driver) and be a successful business owner. I thought it was absolutely clever for the author to have him be a massage therapist because that is totally believable! If you think about a massage, the room is dimly light anyways so if you're really good at your job, you could probably give a massage without looking. Of course, Parker is built, attractive, and rich which makes him pretty easy to like! But he seemed to have a really upbeat outlook on life and didn't let some stupid ol' disease get in his way. Unfortunately, towards the end of the book, the author makes you wonder if Parker is living under the premise of "Fake It 'Til You Make It" because a lot of things kind of catch up to him and he doesn't seem to be keeping it all together.
One of the things that I didn't like about the book was what happens to Parker when he finds out "Ann"'s true identity. There's a scene that's probably a hairs breadth away from rape and I really didn't see a point in it. I found it extremely distasteful. The author could have given Parker plenty of other ways to vent his anger and frustration and I just didn't think what he did matched his character up to that point. I also didn't like the author's attempt at adding the BDSM element to the sex scenes. I think it was poorly done, mostly goofy and not really very sexy at all. Lastly, the heroine, Kelly, is pathetic. Now, I have my own views on celebrities and their privacy. I think if you get paid millions of dollars to act in a movie and that you expect hard working people to fork over $20 to go see, losing your anonymity should not be a big surprise and you can't really be THAT upset over it. Everybody knows how being a celebrity works now. That's not to say that photogs should be taking photos through windows or with long angled lenses onto a boat or into someone's backyard. I also don't think they should be allowed to take photos of celebrities' kids. In fact, I think photogs who do those things should be prosecuted. But you're not going to get sympathy from me when you're beautiful and richer than I'll ever hope to be and you complain because people want your autograph when you go to Whole Foods in Brentwood or whatever the place is that you ALWAYS SEE CELEBRITIES. Sorry, that's just my view. Unfortunately (at for the purposes of THIS review), this is pretty much what defines the heroine's personality. Her desire for privacy... as she books more ad campaigns and does more press junkets. If you're rich, why don't you stop living in LA and NYC? I mean, come on. Then the heroine reveals that she lost a baby - she was stillborn at around 8 months. Jesus, that's awful and tragic and what the hell is the point of it?? Her whole story was depressing and I couldn't muster up one bit of sympathy, compassion or even any kind of fondness for Kelly. Especially after she had several opportunities to tell Parker who she really was and didn't because she chickened out. Why not tell him? You're a giant movie star, beautiful and he loves hanging out with you... why continue to hide it? I found Parker's rage completely realistic since I didn't ever like her.
I hate giving this only 2 stars when I wanted to like it so much more. The author's entertaining writing can't make up for a heroine that I couldn't get behind. Random depressing, vaguely offensive scenes and character histories make this a book that, I'm sorry to say, I don't think I could recommend.