November 20, 2014

REVIEW: One Night Promised (One Night #1)

One Night Promised (One Night #1), by Jodi Ellen Malpas
Published July 17, 2014
Publisher: Forever Romance
Format: e-book, purchased
Genre: adult erotic romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 3 STARS

(From Goodreads) Livy notices him the moment he walks into the coffee shop. He's heart-stoppingly stunning, with a blue-eyed gaze so piercing she's almost too distracted to take his order. When he walks out the door, she thinks she'll never see him again. Then she finds the note he left on his napkin . . . signed M.

All he wants is one night to worship her. No feelings, no commitment, nothing but pleasure. Every defense mechanism Livy has adopted during her solitary life is at risk of being obliterated by this confounding man. He's obnoxious but well-mannered. He's a gentleman but aloof. He's passionate but emotionless. Yet the fascination is so powerful, Livy can't deny him... or herself.

M awakens something in Livy, something deep and addictive that she never knew existed -- and that she fears only he can satisfy. But she senses that behind the fast cars, fancy suits, and posh apartment, he's aching inside. To have him, body and soul, she'll have to brave his dark secrets. Delving into his world and breaking down his defenses become her obsession - an obsession that could shatter her heart beyond repair..

Where do I begin? One Night Promised is going to be a hard book for me to review. I had some serious problems with it - so many that I very nearly DNF'd it several times. But, I kept hearing that the last 15% made all the BS worth it, so I wanted to hold on until then. In the end, I was glad I did, because all those other reviewers were right. 

Livy has led a very sheltered life for the past seven years. She lives with her grandmother, has no real ambitions beyond learning to work the cappuccino machine at the coffee shop in which she works, and only hangs out with her mostly gay BFF. And then Miller happens. He walks into the coffee shop, insults her, and then completely turns her world upside down. But, both Livy and Miller have some pretty heavy secrets to work around, and by the time they figure them out, it could wreck them.

My first mistake was entering into this book thinking it would be a repeat of Jodi Ellen Malpas' This Man series, which I loved. I knew that One Night Promised also took place in England, also included an alpha male and also included secrets on his part, just like in the This Man series. Right away, however, I realized that having those preconceived notions gave me one strike before even cracking the spine. 

The differences between the This Man series and the One Night series were apparent right away. The first difference I noticed was in our female MC. Livy was no Ava - not by a mile. Livy was very nearly ridiculous. She has sheltered herself so severely over the past seven years of her life, that even completely benign and innocent altercations with anyone other than those she's familiar with cause her to react in over-the-top and unbelievable ways. For instance, at a waitress job early in the book, when she is handed a $50 tip from a rich guy, she's so opposed and uncomfortable with it, she throws it in the garbage. THROWS A $50 BILL IN THE FREAKING TRASH. Who does that?

Livy lives with her meddling, but sweet, grandmother, and is loathe to leave her. She never knew her dad, and her mom took off years before. Livy went through some wild lifestyle stuff when she was 17, and after coming to her senses, kind of swung to the other end of the spectrum. The other thing about Livy that bothered me a lot was that it seemed like she had very little self-control or self-respect when it came to Miller. He wasn't always nice to her, but because he made her lady bits tingle every time she locked eyes with him, she continued to pant after him. I swear, she lost her mind every time they were in the same room. It was infuriating. I just wanted her to woman up, tell Miller to shove it and make HIM come crawling back to her instead of the other way around. 

Oh yes - Miller. He was no Jesse Ward. Yes, Miller was controlling and alpha and manly. What he was NOT was charismatic and charming, which are absolutely essential characteristics when dealing with a control freak. Without the endearing qualities, the guy just seems like an ass - which was pretty much Miller most of the time. As a character, he was flat and stiff. There was no depth to him. The only thing that drove me onward was his secrets. It was apparent immediately that he had them, and I hate feeling out of the loop, so I was determined to figure them out. He wasn't very forthcoming with them, even after Livy spilled all of her darkest and deepest skeletons. It made me wonder what was so bad that he was so afraid of the full disclosure. 

The reader doesn't find out until around 85% what Miller's big secret is, and it really is a doozy. Honestly, I feel kind of stupid that I didn't see it coming, because after it's revealed, I remembered all the signs earlier that pointed to it. The revelation of the big secret ended up going hand-in-hand with a crazy cliffhanger. The two things put together accomplished what I had previously thought impossible. As soon as I was done, I downloaded the second book in the series, One Night Denied, from NetGalley. I actually started reading it right away. Surprising, I know. But, what can I say? Over the course of this entire book, Livy's and Miller's relationship became way more interesting than the characters did on their own. It was hot and angsty and drama-filled, which are all good bookish things. Stay tuned for more on the second book in this series.   

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