Review: Take Me Down by Lauren H. Kelley

take me downReviewed by Shelly

This drives me nutty – the description of this story says it’s a stand-alone in the Suits in Pursuit series. I saw that and assumed (that’s what I get for assuming) that this is a single book that can be read independently. Then for further confirmation on my theory, I see that it’s 288 pages and I just know it’s going to be a single book in a series. That’s not what happened. Instead, what happened was… on the last page of this story, this is what is saw – “Coming soon. The story of Ashley and Sebastian continues in Down with You.” Who does that?

Maybe I would have been happier if there was even an HFN that might placate my need for an HEA in my romance, but nope I didn’t even get an HFN. I wish I could say that there was some storyline that would make the premise of reading a 2nd book about this couple promising but there’s no compelling adventure, suspense, mystery – nothing other than the yes/no/maybe mindset of one of the most unlikable heroines that I’ve read this year.

Ashley Ann Turner just found her latest live-in boyfriend having sex with another woman in her bed. After kicking him out of her bed and her apartment, Ashley decides to take her dog for a walk. While she’s out walking her dog and talking to her best friend Kerrigan, she has a short run-in with a stranger who was trying to do her favor and return something she dropped. Ashley is notably upset but she’s also notably rude to the Good Samaritan. Somewhere along the line Ashley loses her dog (this will rear it’s head again later).

Being the best friend that she is, Kerrigan takes her down to Key West for some time away. While on the plane, Ashley runs into the Good Samaritan. His name is Sebastian Stone and tells Ashley that the ‘odds of me taking you out and screwing you are pretty good.’ He goes on to tell her his take on the meaning of traditional dating. I guess that’s how it is – that the guy says these things that are clearly uncouth and the woman is so turned on by his good-looks that she turns a blind eye and deaf ear to everything else. I wish I could say that this is something I like in romance novels, but it isn’t – not one bit.

Ashley’s been a one-night stand kind of woman for the past few years. She’s also one contradiction after the other. I don’t know how she was portrayed in either Book 1 or 2, I’ll take a guess that she’s the ‘sassy, out-going, smart-mouth, bed-hopping best friend to Kerrigan’s more shy personality but they’ve got a bond that’s based on some commonality that makes their friendship work’ – or some such nonsense. In one breath, Ashley’s adamant that she’s only interested in sex but in the next breath she’s got a live-in boyfriend; and she’s hurt that he slept with someone else. What happened to the just sex thing? This doesn’t end there. After meeting Sebastian on the airplane with that awesome introduction, she tells him he rude and calls him an ‘a*shole’ but decides to go out to dinner with him but not to sleep with him. At this point I’m completely confused because she’s a sex only kind of woman, the guy is clearly offering that to her but now she’s offended and calling him names. This is repeated several times over the course of the story and it’s more ridiculous each time that it’s mentioned.

Something Ashley says to Kerrigan sums her up for me – ‘I’m not like you, Kerri. A man looks at you and he sees a lifetime. A man looks at me and he sees the next thirty minutes.’ It seems to me that most people will treat you the way you present yourself – either in looks or in actions. I think I might have been able to have some kind of empathy for Ashley if I could have found out why she still had pictures of her ex-fiancé in her home because motivation always matters, but all that dies for me with one of Ashley’s selfish actions. There’s a scene in Key West after Ashley and Sebastian have sex that’s very disturbing to me, mainly because of the safety issue. Ashley left Sebastian handcuffed to his bed – when I say she left, I mean she walked out the door, shut it behind her and didn’t give him another thought until hours later. She left him no means of getting out of the handcuffs, she didn’t leave a phone within reach, she didn’t notify anyone to check on him – she did nothing until hours later. Then when she did decide to check on him her version of doing something was to call his room. With the way that she left him, I’m not sure who she thought was going to answer the phone in his room.

Sebastian had his own issues going on – his wife, Ella, and their relationship before her untimely death and the betrayal by Stephen, who I’m not sure if he was a friend or just someone he worked closely with. I guess all that would be somehow vetted out in the next book, which based on the way this was written I’ll not be reading. I’m not even going to start on the sexual chemistry between Ashley and Sebastian because that would just make me annoyed with the way that was described. I really wanted to like this story because I’m always on the lookout for a good IR romance but I just couldn’t because neither of the characters had anything likable or redeemable about them.

Happy Reading folks!

Rating: C/D

*Book provided by publisher via NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon

Take Me Down
by Lauren H. Kelley
Release Date: July 18, 2014
Publisher: LoveSpin Publishing

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