Debt by Jessica Gadziala
Published by Self-published on July 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I was just supposed to be helping my father settle his debt, work out a payment plan, set things right.
Little did I know that cold, calculating, dangerous Byron St. James didn't want his money back. Oh, no. He wanted me as payment...
* This is a 'jerk who redeems himself' story. And make no mistake, our hero IS a jerk to the heroine for a good part of the book. If that isn't your thing, this might not be the book for you.
I’m battling a book slump that even my beloved Shelly Laurenston’s books didn’t completely take care of so you need to keep this in mind while reading my review. I really don’t want to seem overly negative since there were parts of the book that I enjoyed. I picked up Debt not only because of the slump, but I’ve been on sweet book overload and wanted something with some bite to it. Debt sounded like it would have plenty of dark WTF-ery to fit the bill.
Pru’s Dad is a gambling addict who, although he supposedly loves her, keeps leaving some pretty big messes to clean up. Since she was old enough to snag a fake ID, she’s been dragging his useless carcass out of casinos and even more unsavory places and putting her life and dreams on hold to keep him afloat. Debt opens with Pru taking him to a meeting with Byron St. James, someone he has run up a boatload of debt to so she can work out some kind of arrangement to pay it back. She has no idea that the payment demanded will either be her basically becoming Byron’s slave, or her Dad’s life.
Byron was a Grade A ass to the point the man could be the poster child for alpha-holes everywhere. His demands on her, from the uniform required to the fact that she must place herself “on his six” at all times in case he wanted anything were quite ridiculous. There is also no magical change in Byron’s personality as the book progressed. He stayed a jerk all the way through. He did promise that no harm would come to her so it doesn’t quite fit the “dark” genre I was expecting. Humiliation was about as bad as it got. The promised redemption of the hero in the synopsis plus some other little things pretty much clued me into the fact that not all was as it seemed with Byron’s reasons for taking Pru.
As for Pru, she gave me the doormat vibe from the beginning and never lost it. She could have little outbursts and make smart mouthed comments, but as my family saying goes “In order to be a doormat, one must lay down”, and this chick laid down a lot. She might have squawked here and there, but she still let everyone walk all over her.
My biggest issue with the book was that I just couldn’t believe in the relationship between Byron and Pru. Doormat or not, there are no sexual vibes out there strong enough for me to think a heroine can overlook a guy being a complete jerk every time he opened his mouth, much less the fact that he kept dangling the threat against her father if she didn’t comply. Nope. That’s just too much for me to swallow down.
Despite my relationship doubts, the sex scenes were smoking hot. I mean freaking steaming. Byron had some skills and he put them to use. I may have to put the book in the re-read pile just for those sex scenes alone.
Pru’s unrealized potential due to her Dad’s actions and the way she was raised seemed to be the theme of the book, but in the end, because of her repressed personality and her doormat tendencies I just didn’t see it. Debt tried hard to be a dark book, but it never quite made it, especially when the real reason why Byron decided to have Pru become his slave surfaced. What made the book work in a way, was the fact that even the biggest alpha-hole of all time can have a sweet side, even if you have to get a microscope out to find it. I know many of my book friends will be swooning over this and I completely understand why. It’s well written and sexy, it just didn’t give me the book buzz I was expecting.
Spice’s Rating: 3.5 Even Alpha-holes can have Hearts Stars.
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