Heat Factor: It’s pretty hot. Except for the chlamydia. Chlamydia is not hot.
Character Chemistry: He fills her, pussy and heart (which might be one of my favorite lines EVER)
Plot: Chlamydia brings people together
Overall: Undeniably fun
Once again, I have to thank Holly for this reading adventure. It was super fun. Dani needs to stop making scenes based on wild assumptions, but other than that, I was 100% on board. Oh, and breaks are stupid. It’s a relationship or it’s not. Please.
Here’s the deal: Dani found out on her wedding day that her fiance was cheating on her with his assistant. So instead of saying, “I do,” she makes a big scene in front of all her family and friends and dumps him. Then she ends up at a bar down the street from her apartment and starts antagonizing the bartender who doesn’t think she should hook up with some random guy(s). She tells him she doesn’t think he can find a clit, so naturally they end up in bed together and have mind-blowing orgasms. Bonus: Ryan, the bartender, has a frenum piercing. So that’s interesting. Non-bonus: He has a terrible haircut.
These two have a few false starts, which isn’t terribly surprising when Dani is pissed that Ryan gave her chlamydia (he didn’t), and Ryan is pissed that Dani accused him of giving her chlamydia in a big scene in his bar (and follows it up by puking on the couch in his office). I don’t have anything against big public humiliations, per se, but I am really uncomfortable when characters do this when they clearly don’t have all the facts because they haven’t communicated with the person they’re humiliating. It physically hurts me.
Fortunately Dani’s best friends take all these false starts as a sign and give Ryan Dani’s phone number. Because even with all the preceding hot mess, these two are just super into each other. The rest of the story is Dani and Ryan having a great time together (I mean great. All the orgasms great.) – but since Dani is coming out of a long-term relationship and Ryan is a free spirit, they’re undefined. Which is, of course, fine until it’s not. Uh oh!
Other than presenting this as a light-hearted rom-com, Berg discusses some interesting themes, which beef up the content. For the low-hanging fruit, there are some frank discussions of STI transmission and treatment that take some of the taboo out of the whole thing. Like, unsafe sex is a bad idea, but just because Dani ended up with chlamydia doesn’t mean she should be slut-shamed. In fact, her best friends are very sexually active with multiple partners, but Dani, who has very few sexual partners, is the one who ends up on antibiotics.
Berg also examines bias beyond the slut-shaming when we see Ryan, who presents a bad boy appearance with his tattoos and his bartending and his ripped jeans, compared to Scott, Dani’s ex, who is a nine to five office sort of guy with his button-down shirts. But Scott is legitimately awful and doesn’t respect Dani at all, while Ryan is an absolute dream of a man. Similarly, Ryan’s best friend hears about all the escapades with Dani from Ryan and refuses to let go of the idea that she is batshit crazy, even though she was going through some stuff (seriously) and Ryan understands this and they’ve moved forward. Basically we need to examine our biases and let go of corrupt data.
And finally–at least for purposes of this review–we get to explore what is a healthy relationship. The fact that Ryan might be the rebound guy that Dani’s using to recover from her not-marriage is really hard for him when he realizes he might be more invested in the relationship than Dani is. Of course, this happens at some point with every relationship until it’s properly cemented and there’s a solid foundation of trust – rebounds notwithstanding. Berg captures this really well when Ryan tells Dani,
“You should be able to talk to whomever you want without me wanting to Hulk smash their faces. The insecurity…this feeling…that’s the problem. Not you.”
YES! It’s not some external BS! It’s the fact that the protagonists are insecure because they don’t know where they stand with each other! This is so rare in smut and I was so glad Berg hit the nail on the head here. Even if it did precede a remarkably stupid decision on Ryan’s part. But all’s well that ends well. And this book sure does.
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