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Under Contract (Falling Under) by Jeffe…
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Under Contract (Falling Under)

by Jeffe Kennedy

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Under Contract by Jeffe Kennedy
Book #3: Falling Under Series
Source: ARC from author
My Rating: 4/5 stars
My Review:

Round three of the Falling Under series proved to be a mixed bag for me and I discovered some of the things I didn’t like about this read were also some of the very things I appreciated. Confused? Let me explain . . .

What I didn’t like:

Ryan and Celestina: Lord have mercy but these are two of the most screwed up creatures on God’s green earth! Though Ryan is a tremendously successful businessman and has more money than Fort Knox, he has no idea how to be a human being. Given his background, his interactions with other humans is totally understandable and at times, almost laughable. Celestina, through almost no fault of her own has found herself in a terrible financial situation and getting out isn’t going to be easy. With her two young nieces to care for and no real life skills to fall back on, she has got to make a ridiculous decision that will absolutely get her out of financial debt but will make her a virtual slave on a whole other level.

The sex: I don’t normally dislike the sex in the books I read and I can’t say I totally disliked this sex (it is sex after all!) but it involved a type of kink that I personally find hard to tolerate. With no judgement at all on my part, I simply cannot understand any relationship that requires one person to call another person, Master. While everything in this read is totally consensual and all above board, it just isn’t a kink I can get into.

Now you’re wondering if I didn’t like the two main characters and the sex in an erotica read, how can I possibly be at four stars? The better question you should be asking is, how can the two things she disliked about the read also be two of the things she liked/appreciated most about this read?

What I liked:

Ryan and Celestina: Maybe it is precisely because these two are so laughably broken that they work so well together. Once Ryan allows himself to feel some real feelings he realizes how inept he is with human emotions and the basic human condition. Bless his heart, he sure tries to make things right with Celestina but he often ends up making a bigger mess of the situation. It takes Ryan an awful long time (and one really funny conversation with his tech guru) to figure out that a woman is more than a business proposition and/or a long-term project. When the chips are down and Ryan is about to lose everything, he tries some good old fashioned honesty and I’ll be damned if it doesn’t work. Celestina is a cat of a totally different color. For the vast majority of her life, she has allowed others to simply do things, take care of things and this has left her with very little in the way of basic life skills. Sure, she is a super-talented designer but she didn’t pay her income taxes. Sure, she has suffered a lot of loss in her young life and she has done a fine job of caring for her nieces but she married a guy she didn’t love so she and her twin could both be married and be more connected to one another. In so many ways, Celestina is at once as childish as she is a mature adult.
The “relationship” between Ryan and Celestina is certainly hot but it is built on a shaky foundation at best. Getting to an HEA for these two almost never is on so many occasions but honestly, who but each other would put up with these two??

The sex: As I mentioned above, the Master/slave thing going on in this read just isn’t for me but it ended up being one of my favorite parts of the read. How so? This particular type of sex makes perfect sense for the overall plot line. Anything else really wouldn’t have worked given the overall setup, direction of the story, and the two main characters. Additionally, I really appreciate the fact that Kennedy doesn’t offer the same thing in every single read. Believe it or not, the same type of sex in read after read really does get boring and predictable. Even though this sex wasn’t for me, it is something different and there are plenty of readers out there who are going to totally enjoy this.

The contract: What a twisted mess Ryan and Celestina get themselves into. While Ryan sees the arrangement from a purely business and sexual perspective, Celestina sees it as selling her soul one deviant act at a time. Though Ryan tries to reassure her about the arrangement, it is awfully hard not to feel like a whore when you are selecting sexual scenarios from a drop down menu on a tablet. Though this arrangement is completely unorthodox, it makes for very interesting reading. The reader isn’t privy to what is on each menu nor what Celestina has selected until her appointed time with Ryan. In this way, the reader stays hooked wondering what new naughty is going to show up next.

The Bottom Line: Just keep signing me up for Jeffe Kennedy reads because obviously, even when I have some issues with a particular story, I still end up liking the overall read. Kennedy has a way of just pulling me into her twisted little world and taking me on a ride I don’t always expect. Under Contract is certainly an erotic read but it also has its fair share of moments that are heartbreaking, infuriating, ridiculously funny, and just plain sweet. Kennedy’s books may have a lot of sex in them but they also have a lot of substance and that is the greatest reason I keep coming back to her!! ( )
  arthistorychick | Aug 2, 2015 |
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