His Every Need -- Terri L. Austin
Book 1 of Beauty and the Brit
2014 Release -- Sourcebooks Casablanca
Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Erotica
Okay, so it was probably my fault for not thoroughly realizing what I was getting into with this book. It was definitely not what I was expecting, but to be honest, it's not like His Every Need was a terribly bad book. It just didn't work out for me. If you can get past the set-up and some of the scenes that make you go "Hmm...", the rest of the book really is quite enjoyable.
In order to keep her family home intact as well as save her family from falling further into debt (which apparently would ruin and tear them apart), Allie Campbell agrees to become the "mistress" of wealthy, British businessman Trevor Blake. Their agreement (with a signed contract and everything that Allie doesn't even bother reading before signing) states that if Allie agrees to be at Trevor's every beck and call and satisfy his every need and every whim, he will forego the debt owed to him by Allie's father, allow them to keep their house, and pay off all of their debts as well as medical bills.
I'm... thinking I should have realized this wasn't the type of insightful Contemporary Romance I had been expecting, but that's really my fault. This book is a straight up Erotica Romance wherein decisions made on both sides of the coupling does no more than find excuses to bring the man and woman together despite the many triggers I found that had me grimacing. And every little action and word always finds a way of making one side lust after the other, which ultimately either leads to foreplay or sex or both for no other reason than because our hero and heroine are always horny, 24/7.
Basically, in my personal opinion, there are a lot of triggers to this relationship that had me questioning the basis of which Allie and Trevor fall in love. I just found it hard to accept the basis of their entire relationship, even if things grew into more comfortable territory if you can forget about all the other stuff I don't agree with: mainly, the frightening speed at which Allie falls for Trevor despite the entire situation of him being an arrogant, nasty asshole, and her having been bought as a mistress.
To be fair, His Every Need wasn't written badly. The premise was interesting enough to hook me and the dialogue and the characters had style.
But the entire first half of the book had me rolling my eyes multiple times and even zoning out. I just couldn't quite understand how someone who was supposedly as sensible as Allie Campbell managed to get herself into this situation unless she was on her last straw of choices. But she readily agrees to become Trevor's mistress for the sake of her family (which should have been commendable, but at the same time, kind of stupid). And despite all the arrogance, the rudeness, the spite, the nastiness, and the somewhat extortion by Trevor, she can't help but feel something for him the moment he casts his smoldering eyes on her or touches her or... stuff.
Granted, she was the one who agreed to sell her body to him for the price of keeping her family together. But the things that Trevor says to her and the way in which he speaks to her and treats her really doesn't make her seem like anything more than an old-age sex slave with no freedom... Of course, it's not like she really acts like a sex slave since she counters his demands regularly, so at least kudos to that.
But it's a bit disconcerting how quickly Allie falls for him even though he's the man buying her body like she's a some helpless sex slave and his unyielding treatment of her like she's nothing more than a worthless sex slave. Little moments of realized niceties don't make up for constantly being treated like crap.
And no, it doesn't help that Trevor's personal stance on the situation is that he DOESN'T want to have anything to do with Allie, erego, he doesn't want to touch her at all. He only agreed to the entire mistress contract because, after one meeting with her, he's found that he likes riling her up and he likes looking at her big boobs. Because the fact is, he does want to touch her and he is lusting after her and he doesn't show much restraint upon being around her.
Then again, Allie wasn't exactly the nicest girl in town, and just as well, she doesn't exactly honor their agreement or their contract (no matter how ugh I feel about the contract). Because Trevor does his part and pays all her family's debts and medical expenses and lets her family keep their house... but she won't even bother to show up to have lunch with him when it's part of their agreement that she be at his every beck and call.
So... I don't know.
By the second half of the book, the relationship grows into a sweeter, more agreeable one and you actually do grow to like all the characters. The one caveat of the love story is that its an extremely predictable one in its execution and development:
Allie is a good girl who gets roped in with the bad boy, Trevor. The two of them fall into a whirlwind lust too easily despite the fact that they don't like each other. Then feelings start to abound as they learn more about each other. And while the arrogant asshole of a rich man has grown soft and tries to do little things for the girl, he's unwilling to admit that he's fallen for her. At the same time, Trevor has his own childhood scars that are supposed to explain away his nasty behavior and his tendencies at being a heartless jerk. And, surprise, surprise, Allie is the one who will help him mend his hurts and make him realize that love DOES exist in this world. There's bickering, there's hurtful word exchanged, there's niceties and heart-warming moments, then there are multiple not-so-sexy sex scenes with garish dialogue, the final BIG SPLIT UP due to REASONS... and then a typical Happily Ever After.
If one can safely get past the questionable set-up from the first half of the book, one might actually find the rest of the story line lightheartedly enjoyable. There were some FEELS near the ending that DID manage to get to me. There were a scattering of scenes and side plots that bugged me. But at the same time there were other scenes and developments that were agreeable. Just as well, there were certain parts of the book that were written quite amusingly and cute.
Final Thoughts: When I started reading His Every Need it was out of interest to see how a woman could end up in a situation such as Allie Campbell's. I was expecting a more clever situation set-up, but found myself a little disappointed. Then I continued on with the book out of sheer curiosity at how things would play out despite being a little annoyed. By the end of the book, I really will admit that things smoothed out and enjoyment was had.
It's just unfortunate that the book started out the way that it did and the love story has such a fragile first impression to work with. It really makes it kind of hard to feel good about the coupling of Allie and Trevor even though I kind of wanted to like their relationship by the end of the book, because the development of the love story in the middle was probably better than I give it credit for.