Series: The Kiss Quotient, #1
After whizzing through The Bride Test in an afternoon and finding out at the end it was book two in a series. Duh! I thought that I’d missed a trick, not ring book one first. Having now read The Kiss Quotient, it’s evident that’s not the case – each book stands alone, they complement each other. It is not a prerequisite to read in published order, though it does help. Nevertheless, it was my excuse to read another installment in this likable world, with friendly characters that I’d already grown fond of.
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic..Goodreads
To sum up The Kiss Quotient in a nutshell: it was very sweet surrounded by fairly deep themes.
Michael is an escort who is almost filled to the brim with self-loathing for his current circumstances. Stella has a mother who sees her Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as a hindrance to settling down. Whereas Stella is happy with her life which mainly resolves around her job. But accepts that perhaps she could use a professional to assist her in an area where she has very little experience – sex.
What goes right…and wrong!
Michael and Stella meet, hit it off and the terms of their deal changes to encompass relationship tasks, rather than just sexual expertise. Their story is interjected with family, co-workers and fantastic sounding home-cooked meals. Naturally, Michael’s escorting history makes an awkward turn or two in the plot which is to be expected.
Stella’s ASD presentation is similar but different from that of Khai’s from The Bride Test and that was wonderful to see – the reality of the spectrum: that there is a range rather than definitive behaviour. Also, it made me reflect more on how you are treated if your condition is known by friends and family.
There are themes that start here and feature across the series (to date): interfering but loveable mothers, fathers who are mainly absent, sons who are strong and have stepped up and daughters who are vibrant go-getters. Plus the big headlines such as poverty limits your choice and labels you. It makes you doubt your skills and abilities. And being different is just being different, there is no right or wrong in it.
Helen Hoang writes perceptive romance novels with a diverse, inclusive cast. They are fun, humorous and sexy. I am really looking forward to book three The Heart Principle, only sorry that I have to wait until 2021 until it arrives.
4 Stars – Really Liked It