After reading Love and Other Words a few months ago, I was really feeling another contemporary romance. I sometimes get in genre moods and this one hit hard. I think it might be the summer weather. In any case, I saw this one came highly recommended from someone whose reviews I super trust (Christine at @readingismagical) and that lots of people were giving it really high ratings for steaminess. Plus, just look at how cute that cover is! Pretty much a no brainer…and boy did it deliver.
The Kiss Quotient is about Stella Lane, mid-twenties, on the autism spectrum, super financially successful as an econometrics analyst, and looking for someone to help her practice with relationships and sex. Enter Michael Phan, a male escort hired by Stella to assist her in her educational journey. He’s super attractive and talented (no spoilers!), but struggles with self-esteem due to a less than supportive father figure and is under financial stress trying to make ends meet supporting his mother.
What a completely unique story this is, with its protagonist on the autism spectrum and a flipped script successful female meets/saves struggling male story line. And I liked it even more after I read the author’s afterwards and realized that both those aspects were done personally and on purpose. Hoang herself was diagnosed on the spectrum as an adult, after a self-realization that perhaps not all of her quirks were totally “normal,” but that she also was definitively not alone in them the way she had always assumed she was. This story is, at least in part, based on personal experiences and that underrepresented perspective is wonderfully portrayed here. Also, she said she had been wanting to write a reverse Pretty Woman story for awhile and it just fell into place for her after her diagnosis. I mean, what is not to love there?!
Other than the sex scenes (and people did not lie, they really do start right away), which were definitely enjoyable to read (no lies in this review – they got me excited!), the details of this story are what really make it special. Seeing the way that Stella does everything she can to blend in and succeeds to the point that she sort of loses herself in the process, juxtaposed with Michael’s own low self-regard and sacrifice, is just so touching. They are the types of characters that are so real, that you warm up to so quickly, that you just cannot help but get sucked into their story and cheer for their “fairy tale” ending. Each is so genuine and unique – it’s almost too much that they are able to find someone so perfect and deserving of their love. Almost.
Honestly, this is just the perfect mix of sweet and sexy. I literally could not put it down and finished it in less than 24 hours. If you are looking for something to make your heart pound, with a seamless (pun intended – read the book and you’ll get it!) and tender love story, and tons of steaminess and sensuality, then this is the book for you. And even if you aren’t looking for that specifically, I still recommend it. I just loved this book – it was such as a refreshing summertime contemporary romance!