The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1) blurb:
Stella Lane thinks mathematics is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases – a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with and far less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French-kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice – with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. Gorgeous and conflicted, Michael can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan, from foreplay to more-than-missionary position.
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses but to crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…
This story was so cute. I loved the characters, the situations and the writing. Definitely a highlight of the year, and one I am glad that I eventually picked up!!
So, meet Stella. She’s obsessive about data and the way that it works, but she doesn’t really get people. But that’s ok because they tend not to get her either. Until she finds one that just might get her after all.
I must say, for a romance novel, I found this one a bit twisty with the plot – or maybe it was that the characters were far more than the usual two-dimensional ones that I normally read about. Both Stella and Michael had DEPTH. Like, Pacific Ocean DEPTH. There were reasons and motivations, and sometimes they had the most surprising pieces of their character that I was not expecting at all.
I also really liked how their families played big parts in the story, and not just as pressure points. Both main characters had really supportive and loving families. They may not see eye to eye on everything, but you got the sense that if they made a final decision, it would be backed by those closest to them.
The romance itself was a bit hot and heavy, but also gentle. It was the slowest of slow-burn, as Michael introduced new concepts to Stella, to ensure he was checking items off her list of course! But it was also sweet and not at all uncomfortable or forced.
There were a couple of sections where Michael contemplates some things around having an influence over Stella, which I did baulk at, but I think the point was for the reader to also think about this type of situation – not that he would necessarily do this.
I believe the author, Helen Hoang is an #ownvoices Autism writer, and the way Stella’s Asperger’s was handled felt considerate and careful to me, although I only have some experience with the Autism spectrum. Once when I had a research role, I had a boss with Asperger’s and he used to come and ask me the randomest questions (once about the mating habits of pandas, which has ZERO relevance to my job), but Stella reminded me so much of him in very little ways, like not being aware that something they said was quite funny. I thought it was handled quite well.
Overall, the book was a solid 5 stars for me. And, I’m very much looking forward to reading The Bride Test this month!