Plus One

Plus OneBy Scarlett Parrish

Publisher: Carnal Passions
Publication Date: November 18, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Purchased

Something doesn’t add up…Lydia’s looking for a job not a lover, but after her interview at Saint Joseph’s University, she ends up with both. There’s a need for discretion despite her bright pink hair and Doctor Spencer Flynn’s candy apple red Mustang; after all, she’s an admin assistant now, he’s a lecturer in applied mathematics and they work together. So they conduct their liaisons behind closed doors which is all right with Lydia; she’s never experienced chemistry like it.

‘Discreet’ soon begins to look a lot like ‘secretive’ and a last-minute cancellation of a date prompts Lydia to rethink her role in the relationship. Braced for a break-up, she’s amazed when Spencer confesses the secret he’s been keeping all along. His loyalties are divided and when Lydia’s attempts to hold on to his attention backfire publicly, she wonders if playing house with a mathematician is a zero-sum game…

Goodreads Summary

Long, wild hot pink hair and nice, steady jobs generally don’t go hand in hand for Lydia Waverly but she’s determined to keep trying to have both.  While applying for an administrative job at a university, her interview – that’s not really going all that well, as usual – is interrupted by a frantic man waving papers around and sputtering about notes and a presentation.  It turns out he’s in desperate need of someone who reads shorthand – and guess who does.  With a little push from her interviewer (it’ll look good for her chances for the job, after all), Lydia heads off with Spencer.

As Lydia works on transcribing his notes, she watches Dr. Flynn and thinks he isn’t quite what she’d have pegged a math professor to look like.  By the time she’s done, she’s already fantasized a few things and she’s happy to accept his offer of a ride home in his very un-math-professor candy apple red Mustang.  A molten kiss tells her Spencer was watching her too.

Lydia gets the call a bit later telling her she got the job – and later, gets the visit from Spencer she’s been waiting for too.  The two decide there’s no reason not to continue their relationship, they just need to be discreet, but as time passes, what’s discreet to Spencer starts to feel like he’s embarrassed to be with her to Lydia.  Then he starts checking in on her when she’s with her friends, asking her about changing her hair and reacts furiously when she does something she thought he’d like but is evasive about his life away from her – then cancels a date that was important to her.

They’re a little harder to find lately since older woman/younger man stories have gotten so popular, but I’m more of an older man/younger woman fan.  In this story, Spencer is forty-two and Lydia is twenty-three, and with the story told from her point of view, there are some things that Spencer does or feels that are probably either exaggerated or blunted – he’s a pretty extreme guy at some points in the story, but I also found him to be really emotionally detached from Lydia for most of their relationship.  They had super hot, curl-your-toes sex, but I never detected a lot of affection from him for Lydia.  He was in and out of her bed a lot and later on, picked at her and got mad at her a lot, but except for some small flashes of generally being nice and nervous about being in a relationship, that was it.

Lydia, on the other, hand was a riot of emotion.  For a while, she was also seemingly only interested in Spencer for the sex, but then she genuinely was interested in him, wanted more from him and was hurt when he seemed ashamed of her.  She had a hilarious group of friends that teased her about Spencer and worried that he was changing her.  When she did something wild thinking it would please Spencer and he went ballistic, accusing her of just trying to get his attention, she started to think about whether or not she needed to tone her personality down for him and eventually did end up doing one of the things she said she wouldn’t do for anyone.

Up until the last few chapters, I was still pretty happy reading this.  Then Spencer did something so cruel to Lydia that it just flabbergasted me.  It was so out of proportion to the situation that I still can’t quite figure out how to justify it with the same Spencer from the rest of the book, even the ass he’d become close to that point.  While I believed the HEA, I was pretty disgusted with the sorry, miniscule apology and grovel attempt on Spencer’s part that was in no way proportional to what he’d done.

My Summary: As an erotic novel, this was excellent – I loved Lydia and her friends, as much as Spencer annoyed me at times, he was a definitively drawn character, the dialogue was funny and sharp and the erotic elements were scorching.  As an erotic romance, this was only okay.  I didn’t really feel there was much of a romance building between Lydia and Spencer throughout the book and when I end the story believing in the HEA but still wanting to smack the hero with a curtain rod, it’s not a good thing.

My Rating: C

Barbara

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Comments

  1. No – we must love (or at least like) the hero. That kind of demeans the heroine too if she caves to the apology if he's that big of a jerk. I've read a few books like this lately where the guy is so over the top and then a simple apology gets us an HEA. I kind of don't believe in the couple after that. HEA or not.

  2. He did something just so horrible at the end..I was almost prepared to let his earlier jerkhood go, but this was over the top. It made me sad because while Lydia seemed fine with it, my stomach hurt.She has another book out now that I want so badly to get because it's sort of being talked up on Twitter, but then I read in reviews that the H/h don't even say I love you by the end. Ordinarily, I can sort of do that (In Cara McKenna's Willing Victim, the H/h don't, but it's still an implied likely HEA to me), but the way this ended, I don't want to take the chance that I'll be hurt by the book.

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