The Real Deal, by Lucy Monroe

>> Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Real Deal (excerpt), by Lucy Monroe, got a great deal of buzz last year at AAR last year, both garnering raves and "winning" in the Worst Read category at the annual reader poll. It seems to be a book that engenders some strong reactions, whether for or against.

OT: Monroe has a page devoted to her Spanish-speaking readers in her site, and it's perfectly well translated, quite a rarity!

SHUT UP AND KISS ME

The most important thing in Amanda's life is negotiating a successful merger between her company and Brant Computers, a family-held competitor. It should be a done deal: Company president Eric Brant is on board with the idea. But when Amanda arrives in Eric's office, it is his cousin Simon Brant who greets her-and Simon is anything but agreeable. He's not about to give up control of the family company or lay off loyal workers. Squaring off against the sexy, brilliant, sexy, obstinate, sexy, eccentric, not to mention sexy Simon is completely frustrating-and a total turn-on. And when he walks out on her presentation, sidetracked by another one of his brilliant ideas, Amanda is shocked...and intrigued...no, furious!...and...and...and so attracted she can barely enter data into her Palm Pilot...

Simon has never met a woman as passionate and driven as Amanda, or as devastatingly attractive. He can't decide if he wants to put her on the next plane home-in the cargo hold-or kidnap her and spend a long weekend showing her exactly the kind of negotiating he likes best. Come to think of it, if the lady wants war, maybe they should engage in full-on battle...in the bedroom...and see who will be the victor. But when intimacy leads to an explosive passion, it might be time to think of a different, more permanent kind of merger...one that's less about business and all about pleasure...
The question is: is this really the worst book of 2004? Nowhere near that, in my opinion.

Yes, the business angle is ridiculous. Everything is preposterous, from the fact that it was a low-level employee like Amanda who went to negotiate a merger (a junior executive negotiating a merger of the company that employs her... a MERGER, for goodness' sake!), to the simplistic philosophy of plain BAD business sense being touted as goodness, to Amanda's move into Simon's house. Not to mention the final scenes; just what was the logic behind Amanda's ex husband being the one sent there?

The only positive thing I saw in this area was that at least, when her boss tells Amanda to sleep with Simon to manipulate him, she stands up to him threatens him with a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Yes, the writing sometimes veered into purple awfulness. And Simon's gunmetal eyes, eek! Maybe one time I could tolerate it, but not every other page, every single time she described Simon!

Yes, the whole book was way over-the top. Amanda's husband doesn't just belittle her, he tells her "fat women shouldn't expose so much of themselves" when she puts on a sexy negligée. He doesn't just cheat on her, she walks in to find him in the middle of a ménage à trois (literally in the middle, he's nailing a woman while a man nails him). Amanda's mother didn't just not love her, she wanted to abort Amanda and had her only because she was blackmailed into it. Simon wasn't just well-endowed, he had a cock so big that he feared he might scare Amanda.

And yes, every situation is loaded full of over-the-top sex, everything designed to be as "hot" as possible, no matter how contrived and ridiculous. Stuff like Amanda helping Simon to his bedroom when he's dead on his feet and then both of them falling into bed, Simon completely asleep. And of course, Amanda can't move, because he's pinning her down in his sleep and he starts groping her.

Yes, the book combined hot sex with what a friend of mine called a "Harlequin Presents morality". Amanda, at almost 30, has never had an orgasm, because her husband was inept in bed and she's too much of a "good" girl to give herself one. *snort*

But, but, but ::she says in a small voice::... I had a good time reading this. Most of my brain was saying "oh, please!", but the rest of me was full into guilty pleasure mode. And it was a pleasure. For all the flaws I saw (and I obviously saw quite a few, just read above), I could somehow put it all aside and mindlessly enjoy myself. So while I'd probably give this a much lower grade if I had to rate it objectively, on "quality", I rate for my enjoyment, so I'll give it a B-.

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