A friend of mine from book club mentioned that she’d read some romance novels by C.M. Owens and really enjoyed them. I was intrigued, always ready to find a new, favorite romance author. I went on Amazon and quickly found Hooked on the Game (2014), the first book in the Sterling Shore series for free! So that worked out perfectly. Unfortunately, even though there was sometimes some good heat and connection between the leads, I found the whole thing preposterous.
Raya Capperton is a focused college student, determined to get through school. Unfortunately, her roommates have just been kicked out of school for a prank, and she cannot afford the rent on their house. Then her obnoxious, rich-boy neighbor, twenty-one-year-old Kade Colton, has another house party. Some boys from the party grab a nearby bulldozer and drunkenly crash it into her house, doing significant damage and luckily not killing her.
Kade is brought before a judge pretty much the next day because that’s how the court system works. The judge wants him in trouble for his actions but Kade’s dad is there and proposes something else. Kade’s dad says that Raya, since she’s lost her home, should stay in Kade’s sweet digs. Raya will keep him in line and Kade must ask Raya for permission to have parties. Kade is really, really mad but has no choice but to let Raya live with him.
This story line had me rolling my eyes excessively, but I was ready to forgive it if we just needed it to get our story going and the rest could make more sense. Kade is very rude to Raya and is a giant asshole. Then Kade’s dad says he has to take Raya shopping because all of her clothes were destroyed. Kade takes Raya to some fancy boutique where the salesgirl immediately grabs Raya’s breasts. There is a lot of grabbing Raya’s body throughout this book and she doesn’t seem to mind. I found it annoying. Anyway, the salesgirl is jealous of Raya and puts her in some kind of corset that is way too tight. Raya can’t breathe and Kade has to come in and save the day by loosening the stays. Then he sees all the bruising on her from the bulldozer accident and he’s mad and sad because he didn’t know that she was hurt.
The book goes on like this with the two getting closer together. Once Kade becomes nicer, the two do have some good interactions, but Kade’s character doesn’t make any sense. The college scene feels incredibly fake and doesn’t make any sense. Also, what’s keeping the two apart doesn’t make any sense. It was very frustrating for me to read, and I think I’m done with C.M. Owens.
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