Sugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Sugar Bowl #1
Publisher: Loveswept on May 24, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult), Erotic Romance (Adult)
Sela Halstead lost her innocence in a way that no sixteen-year-old should ever have to endure. She’s spent years trying to forget that night even while wondering about the identities of the monsters who brutalized her—until a telltale tattoo flashes across Sela’s TV screen. The incriminating ink belongs to Jonathon Townsend, the millionaire founder of The Sugar Bowl, a website that matches rich older men with impressionable young women. Obsessed with revenge, Sela infiltrates Townsend’s world, only to come face-to-face with a tantalizing complication: Beckett North, his charismatic business partner.
The tech mastermind behind The Sugar Bowl, Beck always gets what he wants, in business and in bed. And yet, for a man who’s done every dirty thing imaginable, there’s something about the naïve, fresh-faced Sela that sparks his hottest fantasies. Because with her, it’s not just about sex. Beck opens up to her in ways he never has with other girls. So why does he get the feeling that she’s hiding something? In a world of pleasure and power, the shocking truth could turn them against each other—or bind them forever.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Sugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett
The Hook: After a horrific experience as a teen, all grown up Sela sees her rapist on TV, promoting his business that hooks rich, older men up with much younger women. Stronger now than she was back then, she sees this as her opportunity to bring him down, so she changes her appearance and sets out to infiltrate his business. What she doesn’t count on is his business partner Beck, a man who may have been in on her assault all those years ago.
The Verdict: Ugh. I know there’s an audience for books like this, but I am definitely not it. While I knew the plot would be a bit dark, I didn’t expect it to make me hate every single character, including the one I should have been rooting for.
Sela’s definitely got some baggage, which makes perfect sense, considering what she’s gone through. Unable to really trust men or herself, her relationships have been rather unemotional, an attempt at pretending to be normal. When she sees one of the men who raped her on TV, doubly disturbing now that he runs a kind of dating service, she puts everything else aside to get to him and get revenge.
Beck is the guy she falls for along the way, but the way these two quickly heated up the sheets just seemed so contrived. I don’t read a whole lot of books that include sexual assault, but when I do, I look for a respectful telling of the woman’s story, and this was so far from that I don’t even know how to describe it. That’s not to say that victims of sexual assault or abuse don’t do things that some would say are completely irrational — how can anyone who’s been so hurt be completely logical in their actions and reactions? But for me, Sela quickly became a dark caricature without any real substance, and Beck was just a conceited ass. I’m sure that’s not what Bennett was going for in writing the characters, but there just wasn’t anything redeeming about any of them.
Fortunately, I didn’t pay for the book or even get an ARC. Pretty sure I grabbed this one at the library, since it was on the newly released list and I’d never read anything by Bennett before. I kept reading, sure that a book by such a popular author would somehow get better, but I just felt more disgusted with each new page. Now, I’m not sure I can crack open another of Bennett’s books. For those that enjoy darker and somewhat over-the-top romantic thrillers, this is probably a perfect book. But me? I think I need a shower.
p.s. If you’re a fan of Bennett and can recommend books/series by her that I might not find so icky, please let me know!
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