Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Coercion by Lux Zakari #review

Title: Coercion
Author: Lux Zakari, 2014

Valerie Mercer has undergone a transformation. No longer labelled as the overweight ugly duckling, she has followed her aunt’s advice and has shed kilos. The only problem is that she’s lost none of her insecurities.

Michael Vartanian doesn’t know what he wants. And his on again, off again relationship with his girlfriend Breeze is a source of great discontent to both of them. Even though he can’t seem to stay away from her, he still has a wandering eye. Also, the thing that I picked up from him is that he purposefully avoids facing up to his own shortcomings. I don’t blame Breeze for treating him the way she does. The boy needs a serious wake-up call.

If you’re looking for a new adult-type romance with a HEA then this is not going to be the story for you. As always, Zakari writes authentic characters who make poor decisions and have to deal with the fallout from their mistakes.

The bottom line is that Valerie’s insecurities mean that Michael basically walks all over her. His blatant callous attitude would send any girl with a shred of self-worth running. Not so with Valerie, who spends months moping after this fiend. A sexy fiend, but a fiend nonetheless. She has no rational explanation as to why she allows him to use her, and she keeps going back for more.

I can understand that this might be a turn-off to some readers who want a gallant badboy type with a good heart. Michael is most emphatically not the man you are looking for.

Their sexual encounters are steamy and illicit, but they are tainted by Michael’s casual cruelty. Valerie makes the prime error of mistaking lust for love, and my heart ached for her even as I wanted to deliver a swift slap to the side of her head.

Yet there is a glimmer of hope. Valerie’s pain is a crucible for her, and although she goes through a difficult time – don’t we all at that age? – she is stronger for it, and I enjoyed seeing her learn to stand her ground.

This isn’t my favourite of Zakari’s writing, but it’s nonetheless still good. There’s a wry, barbed undercurrent that’s present in all her works I’ve read so far, and she weaves an eminently readable slice of life, love and passion.

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