I’d read the first two books in the series and really enjoyed them, but the third book was a bit of a let down. I chalked it up to the change from het to slash romance and prayed that The Shameless Hour featuring Bella, one of the more interesting characters from the other books, would be better.
Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.
So where did the story go wrong?
Bella’s always been a woman who knows her mind, knows her body, and doesn’t care two figs for the B.S. Madonna/Whore thing the rest of the world has going on. She likes sex. She likes men. And she doesn’t think that she should need to conform to some antiquated idea that women who have sex are “bad girls” and deserve whatever comes to them. So when she has a one night stand with the freshman down the hall, she doesn’t see what the big deal is. He’s a nice guy, they had good sex, she’d like to do it again.
Unfortunately, Rafe has been raised to regard sex as sacred. Something only to be experienced within the bonds of a committed and heading toward marriage relationship. The one night stand was a mistake. Except it really wasn’t. Rafe likes Bella and wants to protect her.
And all of those protective instincts come roaring to the surface when a fraternity prank (read hard core sexual abuse) leaves Bella shaken to her core and swearing off of men and sex entirely.
I bet you can already see the problems…
Bella was a great character. She was sex positive. Woman positive. And showed that women are worthy of respect all around, it didn’t matter how many people she slept with or if she was in a committed relationship or not. I liked that about Bella. I thought Bella deserved better in the last book. That didn’t change after I finished reading this book.
Bella deserved better. And Rafe definitely wasn’t better.
First off… Rafe was so stereotypical Hot Latin Lover™ that they might as well just cast Antonio Banderas as Rafe and get it over with. Seriously. From the random Spanish. To the Machismo. To the fucking merengue. Rafe was all stereotypes, all the time. Worse, Rafe was not a good hero. He was controlling. Condescending. Especially toward Bella. He slut-shamed her. He pushed her and didn’t respect her boundaries. An especially egregious offense after she was sexually assaulted and roofied at a frat party…. yeah…
Rafe really lost me when he didn’t take Bella to the doctor after she’d been roofied. I don’t care if she asks you not to… When someone is incoherent unable to walk unaided and stumbles out of a frat house in the morning covered in graffiti you take them to an ER. You don’t know what happened. You don’t know if she was raped. If she got an STD (which BTW did happen just not from this event but from someone in the frat house so there’s that…). You don’t know if the roofie will cause a bad reaction. A dangerous one. If someone is drugged against their will, you take them to the hospital. Period. What Rafe did, or rather did not do, was unconscionable.
In addition, the treatment of asexuality was poorly done. Rafe’s prior girlfriend, the one who dumped him, came out as asexual. And she was shamed for that. Derided. Disbelieved.
Asexuality is a thing and it, like gender preference, is on a spectrum. People can be Ace and like romance. They can dislike romance but like sex. It’s all valid. Frankly I’m disappointed because the series had been so strong… I loved the first book and really enjoyed the second. But this… this book undid all of the good of the first two books.
Corey, the lead from the first book who was disabled and in a wheelchair and using assistance devices (braces, crutches, etc.) is now walking unaided… Those braces are a magical cure and so we’ve got disability erasure on top of this. I was so angry.
The only thing that saves it from being a one star was the revenge plotline and Lianne. She was the one bright spot in this train wreck of a novel. Her story is the final one in this series.
But for this book… Skip it.
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