My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The fine ladies at the Smart Bitches site periodically do a Save the Contemporary campaign featuring, as you might guess, contemporary romances. And not too long ago, they played up the author Julie James, who at that point had released a total of three novels. I was interested, so I went ahead and bought all three of the titles. Just the Sexiest Man Alive was the first of these.
And, unfortunately, it was the one I liked the least. I do not read as much comtemporary romance, in no small part because that’s the romance subgenre most likely to remind me that in many ways, I’m just not the target audience for the standard heteronormative relationship story. I need something else in the story to hold my interest, which is why I like historicals, paranormals, or romantic suspense more. In this particular case, we’ve got lawyer Taylor Donovan assigned to give legal coaching to the actor Jason Andrews for his upcoming courtroom thriller–and while I might have had fun with this as a plot concept, it fell over hard for me for one simple reason.
I.e., I found our hero Jason to be a self-centered jackass. More than once he pulls selfish crap on Taylor that made me want to haul off and punch him one, and left me wondering what she could possibly see in him. That he ultimately does something less selfish for her, supposedly a sign that he’s having a change of heart, doesn’t play well since I don’t buy that he’s genuinely learned from his mistakes. I never got any sense that he realized “I’m being a selfish prick here and I should stop it”, much less “I’ve got to tell her I’m sorry”.
It’s a shame, too, because James’ writing is not bad. I am happy to say that I did like the books after this one better. For this one, though, two stars.