Reviewed by Tori
Victoria has always had a crush on Rider James but he never paid her the least nevermind in high school and she pined for him in silence. Now he’s back in town to open a new business but an overheard conversation confirms that men like Rider don’t look at women like Victoria. Hurt, Victoria decides to fight fire with fire and changes from everyone’s nerdy best friend into a sex kitten with some help from a friend. Suddenly Rider is falling at her feet and all her dreams are coming true. But as she starts to fall hard for Rider’s charms, Victoria’s scared that he can’t see past the artifice to the real woman behind it.
I really wanted to like this book. The premise instantly caught my attention. I’ve always enjoyed a ugly duckling to swan trope. Unfortunately, this one failed on all levels for me. The hero could never convinces me he isn’t the shallow man we originally think he is. When Victoria overhears the Rider tell his sister she’s nerdy and unattractive, she is hurt and rightly so. Rider feels bad for what she overheard but not for what he said. He apologies then goes about his merry way. It’s only when his sister gives Victoria a complete makeover and sends Rider pictures of said transformation on the sly, suddenly he’s calling and wanting dates. He says it has nothing to do with the makeover but all his actions say it does. Once he sees her lush figure and beauty accented with form fitting clothing and makeup, he pursues her to no end. The author tries to convince us Rider has always liked her and thought her attractive, but I wasn’t convinced.
The sexual tension is minimal (this all happens in a very short time frame). We are gifted with one full love scene that while erotic, felt rushed and formulaic. A little oral, some missionary, flip her over & bind her up, get off and we’re done.
There is also a plotline used to undermine Victoria’s already low self esteem and push her into acknowledging her depth of her feelings about Rider.
The “false” fiance premise. What I didn’t understand was why the “fiance” is so nasty and condescending to Victoria but when the moment comes for her to explain herself passes, only then does she become apologetic and teary-eyed to Rider. We aren’t told why she did it to begin with, just how she was feeling.
It was overly dramatic and poorly executed.
The ending comes at you hard and fast. Everything is resolved with a few sentences and our couple finds their happily ever after.