I know there is much more to a book than the sex scenes. In fact, I have read some very good books that had no sex scenes in them at all. But just like bad sex can ruin a relationship, so too can it ruin a book. Especially when the book was just ok to start with.
OK. That sounds harsh. Let me back up a little.
And Then She Fell is the latest installment in Stephanie Laurens uber-huge Cynster series. It focuses on Henrietta Cynster, who has come to be known as "the Matchbreaker." She has made it her mission to help young ladies weed out the fortune seekers among potential suitors. At 29, she doesn't really believe marriage is in her own future. But when her younger sister asks her to don the Lady's crystal necklace and seek out her hero, she agrees to try.
It just so happens that she has recently ruined the marriage prospects of her brother's best friend, James, who desperately needs to wed to earn his inheritance and save the livelihood of the people who work his land. When Henrietta learns of the mess she made, she agrees to help him find a new bride. And of course, they end up falling for each other.
The romance wasn't bad. Both James and Henrietta were pretty likeable characters. It was easy enough to root for them to make a go of it, though neither was truly remarkable enough to thoroughly invest me. There was a little extra oomph worked in when someone starts trying to kill Henrietta and James must save her over and over again.
But then they get to the bedroom and it was all over the top figurative language and ... just... see for yourself:
Her maidenhead ruptured and she didn't even flinch; instead, the honeyed walls of her heated sheath tamped tight around his rigid member, the ultimate velvet vice...
Clinging, gasping and utterly in thrall, they reached for the peak, the thunder in their veins escalating, the thudding of their hearts a single beat that swept them on, whipped them higher.
Until they broke through the clouds and ecstasy beckoned, as hot as the sun and more brilliant than the stars...
That elemental tide of pure sensation wrecked them, wracked them, then, like flotsam, flung them high and far, out and into the void.
To where glory rolled in and filled them, healed them, sealed them, fused and remade them.
Then, with a gentle hand, set them floating free, bliss-filled on a golden sea.
In the second love scene, alliteration joined the party.
Reassuring, restating, revisiting, and reiterating, they dived in again, plunged in again, seized and surrendered and shared the scintillating delights once again.
I could not stop rolling my eyes. Which made it very difficult to keep reading. Yet I did. And the big villain reveal was a total fail, because he was nobody we had even met before in the course of the book. Can you spell anticlimactic?
(*sigh*) I know a lot of people love Laurens' early work, but this is my fourth try with her. The others were so-so. After this, I just don't see me reading her again.
*ARC Provided by Avon *ARC Provided by Avon