Losing Control by Jen Frederick

LosingControlCoverWhy I read it:  I received a review copy via the author.

ETA April 2015: At the time I accepted/read the book and wrote the review, I didn’t know Jen Frederick was also Jane Litte from Dear Author.  No Jen Frederick books have been reviewed by me, anywhere, since I became aware of this and, given my existing relationship with Jane, I will not be reviewing any more of her books.  I will continue to update my personal Goodreads account with all the books I read as per usual but, consistent with my review policy, there won’t be further formal reviews of Jen Frederick’s work.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  I’d do anything to keep my mother alive.

Anything, including ask Ian Kerr for help. I don’t know much about him, except that he has more money than some small countries. And he’s willing to spend it on me. Just one catch: there’s a string attached, and not just the one I feel pulling me into his arms and his bed. There’s also the plan for revenge he wants my help with.

Every time he says my name, it makes my body shiver and my heart stutter. I know he’s going to wreck me, know there won’t be anything left of me but lust and sensation by the time he’s done with me, but even though I can see the heartbreak coming towards me like a train, ready to crash into me, I can’t get out of the way. I want what he makes me feel. Want what he’s offering.

This may have started out as something to save my mother, but now…now it’s about what he makes me feel. I’m in danger of losing everything that’s important. Worse? Ian’s whispered words and hot caresses are making me believe that’s okay.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I confess I hadn’t planned to read this one quite yet.  But I saw Mandi’s Tori’s Smex Scene Sunday which featured an excerpt from Losing Control and I decided to bump it up the queue.  You may make of that what you will :P.

I guess this is Jen Frederick’s take on the billionaire/ingenue trope but while it conforms to the trope in many ways, it breaks the mold in others and I found it a very entertaining read.  It is the first book in a series (there is another book to be released later this year, which I understand will be told from Ian’s POV but will not be merely a re-hash of what happened in this one – I stand to be corrected on that) but it does have a satisfying HFN ending, which you could take as a HEA if you really wanted to. You’d hardly have to squint.

While Victoria “Tiny” Corielli is younger than Ian Kerr, she’s 25, so she’s not as young as many of the heroines in this kind of book.  She’s also somewhat sexually experienced – she’s had a few lovers and one serious(ish) relationship.  She’s not shy about asking for what she wants – in bed or out of it.  Ian is the typical alpha autocrat who dislikes “no” but he doesn’t force Victoria so much as steamroll her. Because I knew Victoria was on board, I could go with Ian’s actions.  He is very much the alpha-carer type and that is my favourite kind of alpha male.  I don’t know that the book is different enough to convince someone who doesn’t like alphas – I wouldn’t go that far. But I did think it was a good example of the trope and the interesting ways it can be manoeuvred to tell a story.

Ian is a billionaire but at least he’s 32 so it’s somewhat believable.  You have to go along with a Midas touch when it comes to business but I was prepared to here.  And he does fall for Victoria very quickly – but he tells a story to her about himself which shows that he’s a person who decides things very quickly.  The other thing was that it was (I believe) more an instant attraction and then everything thereafter enhanced that attraction and confirmed his initial impression/hopes.

Victoria’s mother is very ill with cancer.  She is facing aggressive chemo and then a stem cell transplant – they are already deep in debt from the previous bout of cancer which went into remission three years before.  Sophie Corielli cannot work; she it too ill.  Victoria is barely making ends meet with her job as a bike courier.  She is dyslexic and cannot read or write very well and so has difficulty finding work which those skills are not required.  The set up also explains why she doesn’t have any friends – when she was helping her mother with cancer treatment before, they all sort of dropped away and after the remission, Victoria just wanted to spend time with her mother.   It has been only the two of them since Victoria was very small and they are extremely close.  At one stage Sophie had a relationship with another guy who had a son, Malcolm.  Malcolm deals drugs and mysterious other (presumably illegal) things and when faced with the medical bills which will be coming and the need to move out of their fifth floor walkup apartment, Victoria finally agrees to do some deliveries for him.

Ian has requested Malcolm help him find someone for him.  Ian wants to get revenge on someone from his past and he needs just the right girl for the job. It doesn’t involve anything illegal and it doesn’t involve sex.  Initially, Ian rejects Victoria for the role – he wants her for himself and he doesn’t mix business with pleasure.  But, he finds himself wanting to help her financially and she will not take money from him without there being some actual employment – otherwise she will just feel like she is prostituting herself.

Ian is extremely generous and he makes some pretty fast and loose moves around Victoria to improve her life.  In many ways it’s a kind of Cinderella story with a dash of Pretty Woman (but without the hooking).

Ian and Victoria have combustible chemistry and lots and lots of hot dirty sex.  Jen Frederick writes good sex y’all.

Victoria does have concerns over their unequal stations in life.  It doesn’t faze Ian at all (of course).  I would have liked to have seen more of their conversations that didn’t revolve around his revenge job or sex because I felt I was more told than shown that they got along very well outside of those things.  I was prepared to buy that their differences didn’t matter for the sake of the story but it only works if I don’t really think about it.

The story was very engaging and entertaining, written in an easy and eminently readable style.  I raced through it quickly and pretty much lapped it up with a spoon.

While both Ian and Victoria had sad pasts (and in Victoria’s case, a sad present because of her mother’s illness), the angst wasn’t quite dialled up to 11.  I believed that Ian has only good intentions to Victoria and I was glad that she chose to trust the evidence of her own eyes rather than alternatives suggested by other men with an agenda.

What else? My only real beef is the Australian character, Steve.  He is Ian’s bodyguard/driver/manservant-type.  He calls Victoria “sheila” as if sheila was an alternative to “buddy” or “sweetie”.  It is not.  It is actually very rarely used in Australia these days and only in reference to “blokes and sheilas”.  I can’t think of any time in recent memory I’ve actually heard it to be honest. My dad may have told a tall tale and used the term when I was a kid but it was never directed to a particular person. It’s part of an “ocker” Australian stereotype from the Barry Mackenzie years and really, most of us would prefer to forget it.

It’s a fairly derogatory term really – similar to how a Scottish woman might view being called “lassie” and in the same way you wouldn’t call a guy “bloke”, you wouldn’t call a girl “sheila”.  Just, no.

Ahem. Now that I have that off my chest, I will say those bits were fairly small and non-Aussies probably won’t care.  But. And still.

Nonetheless, the book was a very enjoyable read. I liked Victoria and Ian very much and I’m looking forward to reading more about them in the next book.  I’m always happy to have  the hero POV so that will be an extra bonus.  Just, please, no more “sheila”. Okay?

Grade: B+



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