Whatever you do, do not start this book right before bed. Or do, if that’s as soon as you can get to it. Even though I finally put it down at 3am, blurry-eyed and probably good for absolutely nothing the next day,  I knew it was worth it.  There’s a reason why this debut rocked the bestseller lists and remains a book every commercial fiction agent has somewhere in their wishlist.

The main character, Stella Lane, is wealthy, successful, and brilliant. She’s also autistic. Being touched makes her skin crawl and kissing is even worse. But when her mother puts pressure on her to date, she realizes that sex might be like any other social skill; one that comes with practice. So she does the absolutely more logical thing and hires a male escort to teach her all the ways of sex. Neither of them expects it to grow into something much harder to walk away from.

This is a high-steam erotic romance with a sympathetic, brilliant, funny, awkward, powerfully independent, sweet main character and a love interest that puts hearts and stars in our eyes. The romantic tension and physical chemistry between them is off the charts. Few authors can put as much erotic tension into a kiss as Helen Hoang, and I’m ready to devour the rest of her catalog the way Michael devours Stella’s lips. The writing craft is phenomenal, and the book should appeal to readers far beyond the romance genre. Stella’s personal journey towards claiming her best self is one we all should see ourselves in. This delightful debut goes on my re-read stack.

Visit Helen Hoang online for more information and ordering links.

(Content warning for this book: Main character has a history of sexual assault and experiences non-consensual kissing in the book.)

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