TITLE: RELEASE ME
AUTHOR: J. KENNER
Details: no. 1 Stark Trilogy
Received from Random House
When Nikki Fairchild first met Damian Stark she was still in the beauty pageant circuit she hated. Although she felt a strong attraction to him she found herself completely tongue-tied. When he left with another woman on that occasion she had the impression that he was sorry he had to leave, but that, she decides, was probably wishful thinking.
When Nikki meets Damian again she has finished college, left her overbearing mother and Texas behind her and has just started a new job in Los Angelos. She is at a private showing of erotic paintings with her boss who hopes to meet the rich and powerful Mr. Stark to interest him in sponsoring a product he’s developing. Nikki is there as the beautiful body to help clinch the deal. From the moment Damian and Nikki set eyes on each other there is electricity in the air. He intimidates and irritates her yet she feels a constant and irresistible pull towards him. And the pull appears mutual. In fact, Damian has a proposition for her; since he can’t find an erotic painting that works for him he wants her to model for one. He wants her to model for this picture for one week; one week during which she will give herself to him completely. In return he will give her one million dollars. Since Nikki has dreams of starting her own company and is secretly excited about spending a week submitting herself to this man, she says yes. But, agreeing to his terms means showing all of herself to Damian and that includes the scars from the past she so desperately wants to hide; scars that may scare him away for ever. And she’s not the only one with issues; Damian has a few of his own and he is determined to keep them secret, even from the woman he feels irresistibly drawn towards.
With personal issues between them and outside forces determined to destroy Damian, these two lovers have the odds stacked against them. The question is whether or not the forces that pull them together are strong enough to combat those that are trying to keep them apart.
If you think the above description of the plot sounds (vaguely) familiar you are right. There are quite a few similarities between this book and the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E.L. James and Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Trilogy. But, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Everywhere I’ve looked this book is advertised as a read for those who enjoyed those two series. So, when I saw the negative reviews by people who complained about this being a book about yet another young and incredibly handsome billionaire with a troubled past I had to wonder if the people who wrote those reviews actually bothered reading the blurb before they decided to read the book. If they had, they would have known that they were picking up a read that would remind them (strongly) of those other books. And if you receive what you’re asking for you really don’t have a good reason to complain in my opinion. Yes, indeed, there are strong similarities between all these books, in fact it is reaching the stage where I feel that “Troubled Billionaire” could almost become a genre all of its own. But really, that is nothing new. I mean, are we also going to complain about harlequin/Mills & Boons books having similar and predictable plots? The only fair way to judge a book is, in my opinion, on whether or not the writing is any good, the story holds your attention and the characters are believable and well-developed. And as far as those criteria are concerned, this is not a bad book at all. The writing is definitely better than what I found in the Fifty Shades books and the story held my attention. Maybe some of it was a bit predictable but that didn’t stop me from turning the pages and wanting to find out what was going to happen next. As for the characters, they also come with traits I have come across before. But I felt that they had enough unique traits to make them interesting, especially since they are not as black and white (or dominant versus submissive) as they are in the earlier works.
Having said all that, I do feel that from now on I will have to be a bit more selective when it comes to my erotic fiction choices. I’m going to have to steer clear of troubled billionaires for a while or run the risk of turning into one of those reviewers I’ve spend so much time giving out about above. Mind you, I still intent to read the third Crossfire book and wouldn’t be at all surprised if I also end up reading the rest of this trilogy - if only to satisfy my curiosity – but other than that I’ll be looking for different sort of kink from now on.
This is the perfect read for anyone who wants a story that closely reminds them of the Fifty Shades and/or Crossfire books. Just try not to be upset when you get exactly what you’re asking for.