Stud by Jamie K. Schmidt
Released: July 25, 2017
Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “What were you going to use the six million dollars you stole from your sons?” And because I was behaving myself, I didn’t add “Botox?” to the end of that sentence.
Stud. When I think of a stud, I kind of smirk. They tend to be more corny than sexy in my eyes. Even so, the cover and blurb swayed me and I’m no worse for the wear. This is my first Jamie K. Schmidt novel and I…liked it. It was a little frenetic and off beat, however, sometimes that works if the material isn’t too heavy and let’s face it there isn’t much heft to stud-falls-in-love- so overall, I found myself forgiving of the oddities that creeped about in Stud.
Terri Cooke wishes she could give Mick Wentworth a piece of her mind. The infuriating stud muffin walks into her coffee shop every morning expecting his regular order at 8:57 on the dot, without ever acknowledging Terri’s presence—except for staring at her cleavage. And yet she can’t deny that Mick Wentworth has an animal magnetism that’s stronger and richer than any espresso . . . which explains why Terri says yes when he suddenly, inexplicably asks her out.
After the morning coffee run, Mick’s day is all downhill from there. His family’s marketing firm is dysfunctional in more ways than one, so to save the business, Mick desperately needs to impress their newest client. When he learns that Terri’s a fan of their trendy product, he tries to get inside her head. It doesn’t hurt that she’s the barista he’s been lusting after for the past five months. But as things heat up with Terri, Mick finds that a little steam is just the jolt he needs to turn his whole life around.
I love that the style was alternating POV. I love alternating POV so early on, I’m in my sweet spot. Terri feels very cool and accessible and I like her voice. She is big sister and primary caretaker to her brother who is suffering from an incurable disease (think ALS- but not) and she endeared herself to me with her dedication and pure love and loyalty to her brother, Billy. Disability in romance isn’t very prevalent – at least I haven’t come across a ton of it and it was refreshing to see it handled so well. Terri left her lucrative career in marketing to care for her brother in his declining health and is working in the thankless world of caffeine commerce as a barista. Terri is smart, funny and she was awesome, until she had a secret lobotomy and started behaving like another woman. Not a bad woman- I kind of liked this new Terri, only it was distracting to meet one Terri and then be smacked in the face with a Terri who made a habit of behaving very counter character.
Mick is the-little-Stud-that-could. It felt like the author wanted him to be worse than he actually was. Stud has a sort of negative connotation, and Mick didn’t live up to any of it. Sure he was handsome and well-built, and it is suggested he could have his way with the ladies, only, Mick was a nice guy. He was professional and seemingly the lone sane member of his family, a family that owned a profitable marketing agency that was embroiled in one salacious scandal after the other. It all seemed pretty ridiculous. His mother, an executive, was sexually harassing an employee who was suing the company, his father was arrested and facing jail time for embezzling millions of dollars from the company and his brother was entrenched in an extra-marital affair with a secretary-who he’s managed to also get pregnant AND said pregnant mistress is currently working as Mick’s personal assistant. Just too much. Too far-fetched and I can only suspend so much reality before my eyebrows raise in open rebellion with my eyeballs as they roll at this particular outlandish plot’s development. As the series of ridiculous events escalated, my interest waned and I eventually I came to the conclusion that less is way more and the story would’ve been best served with a third of the faux drama and the focus narrowed to Mick and Terri navigating their personal turned professional turned personal relationship.
Mick and Terri have a magnetism they are both eager to explore. He infuriates her with his unaffected and haughty latte ordering skills (he’s a *snapper*) and she teases him with her sexy little wiles and spunk. They scratch their respective itches and just when the going is getting good, Terri stumbles upon an opportunity to work for Mick’s firm, and (perhaps scarred from is irresponsible family) Mick firmly puts the breaks on their physical interlude.
He started packing up this things. “Mostly because I was dead serious.” I gave him a fishy look.
“You don’t want me to suck your dick?”
“I don’t think those words ever came out of my mouth.” He stood up and slung the laptop case over his shoulder. “Where are you going?”
“Home before I start thinking with my dick and I wind up in trouble.”
“I like trouble,” I said.
“You are trouble. Don’t get up.” Leaning down, Mick kissed the top of my head. “Thanks for tonight.”
“Thanks for the Chinese food.”
“See you in the office on Monday.
Now, all they have between them is their mutual goal of launching a client’s popular video game expansion and repressed passion. It was in these chapters that I really enjoyed Mick, yet lost Terri. Terri isn’t very respective of Mick’s hard-line against fraternization and a few times I can’t help but think if the tables were turned, I’d think mighty low of the male character’s antics. I didn’t look too closely at it, but there is definitely an argument to be made for a sexist double standard and attempt to undermine, but as I said, didn’t look too closely there. My attentions were needed elsewhere.
Propelling me to a bank of elevators, he swiped again and the doors opened. “After you,” he growled, and I realized that the fire was still there. “There aren’t any cameras in here,” he said as the doors closed. “Why would . . .” I had enough time to say before he whirled me around so I faced the back of the elevator. I could see him unbuckling his pants in the shiny surface of the elevator wall. I had to slap my hands out when he hauled me back against him. “Bend over.”
I heard the crinkling of a wrapper and then saw him slide a condom on his cock. Lifting my dress over my back, he plunged his cock inside me. “Mick,” I cried out, my eyes rolling back in pleasure. He fucked me fast, his thick length pounding into me. My pussy clenched and spasmed around him. God, that felt like heaven. My hands scrambled for balance as he pummeled into me. My breasts almost shook out of my dress. A scream lodged in my throat.
Wowzers this was a sexy novel. Passionate and the sensual tension was well executed. I didn’t like that it seemed as if Terri went from a shy barista with quick wit who hasn’t had sex in more than a year right to a love ’em and leave ’em, commitment-phobe, casual sex fiend who could barely keep herself from bouncing in Mick’s lap every chance she got. Aside from that disconnect, their mutual attraction was palatable so I guess, mission accomplished- sort of?
Ultimately the three-tiered plot resolves: Mick’s criminally inclined mother and father are ousted from his life and he gets the girl and his business in a way that makes him happy (seemingly). Stand-alone as it is, the HEA is acceptable though I didn’t buy that Mick, who spent the whole novel after a very specific professional goal, would just abandon it…but what’s fluff romance without “insta” something (Insta love, insta hate, insta satisfaction, etc).
Stud works as a fun, sexy read if you don’t look too closely at the details. I don’t much like reading or recommending books with caveats, you know, “oh it’s great, but only if you read it/look at it like this.” Either a book is a good bet or it isn’t and the reader shouldn’t have to augment or change much to get into a space to enjoy it. That being stated, I think there is an audience for this sort of novel as it is…pleasant. I just would have enjoyed it better if the characters would have lived up to their characterizations and had fewer distractions with regard to the zany plot. There is a place for outlandish and idiosyncratic plot devices and it felt misplaced in Stud.
(I mean, the hero wasn’t even studly!??!!? That alone drove me crazy.)