I am a big fan of Parker’s books as tends to write a solid and usually emotional story and frequently pushes the boundaries of my comfort to the edges. The blurb alludes to a fake relationship between a female participant of the Snow & Ice Games and a boy band member, I imagined both H/H would be younger but was a little surprised when I found out the heroine is twenty. I don’t read a lot of new adult, but because I trust that Parker usually gives a good story, I gave it a shot.
Rowen is a contender for a medal in the luge competition. She is confident in her body and with its abilities. She has a huge crush on the lead singer for the current hot boy band, License to Game. By sheer coincidence, Zane, the lead singer of said boy band, has a passing interest in Rowen and ends up going to the Snow & Ice Games (SIG) to arrange a surprise meeting with her. It was kind of cute, but could have been embarrassing for her. Luckily she handles it well. For kind of silly and superficial reasons, they decide to engage in a fake dating relationship during the SIG in the hopes that they will both benefit from the exposure. I love a fake relationship, but this didn’t work as well for me. It felt forced and the rationale weak.
Rowen has a lot of agency over her body and sexuality and had no issues voicing her desires for Zane. In fact she was the one that kissed him first and moved their physical relationship forward. That is not something I see frequently in romance, so it was a little different. Her mother passed away ten years ago and her dad is very involved in her life and her career, in fact so involved they get in an argument about her having sex with Zane. It was weird. Her dad also adds to the conflict of the story and it felt forced and I didn’t care for it.
One of the things that really bothered me was that Rowen was frequently described by Zane as a “girl”. So much so that girl appears in the book 64 times, of course not all are in direct relation to Rowen. Meanwhile the word woman is used 8 times. It was hard for me to reconcile this hard working athlete who has confidence in her body and abilities and agency over her sexuality to continue to be referred to as a girl.
Their fake relationship quickly changes once they spend some time together and have sex. The book is pretty short, 164 pages according to Amazon, so there are only a few sex scenes and they are decent. The whole book felt a little fast and perhaps if it was a bit longer, the story could have felt deeper and I would have connected to it better.
Overall, I just didn’t connect with the characters or the story. The dad was a weird component for me that didn’t feel authentic. Rowen was a strong badass women and the conflict diminished that for me a tiny bit. This is book one in a series and I won’t be rushing to read the next ones.