Continuing my glomming of every book in this series, this story is set around another edition of Endurance Island, the fictionalized version of Survivor. Annabelle was a contestant on a previous EI, where she fell in love with Kip. She spent her time on the island cuddling with him, while Kip played her for her jury vote and interviewed that she was gullible and stupid. A year later, Annabelle is known as the Idiot Slut. Groupies come to the restaurant where she waitresses to see “bimbo Annabelle and her slutty McSlutterton boobs.”
She’s trying to move past it when the producers call. Would she like to compete again on Endurance Island: Power Players? Hell no, she says. But what if she had a guaranteed payout, and she could redeem her reputation, and beat Kip? Since her real life kind of sucks, she decides to take another chance. But she’s learned from her mistakes — she won’t wear a lot of makeup or skimpy clothes so she won’t appear slutty, and she definitely will not fall for or kiss any guy.
To shake up the show, the producers decide that everyone will compete naked. Yep. I can’t help thinking that they will spend a lot of money to blur out all the nudity on tv, and that is my regularly scheduled commentary on the improbable logistics of fictional reality tv. We get a brief cameo from Kandis and Brodie, recent stars of Bedroom Games. They’re still together and happy, and Kandis still doesn’t want to get naked on tv, so they’re eliminated.
Also returning from Bedroom Games? Jendan, the nice guy stuntman who was in a secret alliance with Kandis. He’s competing because he’s tired of fulfilling the Nice Guys Finish Last prophecy. I was so happy to see him as the hero, because I like nice guys, and he kind of got screwed (but not literally) last time.
So the contestants are paired up, and of course Annabelle is paired up with Kip. Kip immediately comes on to her, but she shoots him down quite efficiently. She wants to be portrayed as strong, smart, and capable, so she won’t give the cameras any footage showing weakness. Kip takes it like a douche, saying, “You’d be lucky to get me. You’re no prize.” And then he doesn’t help out at camp, leaving Annabelle to make fire, boil water, and build shelter. She needs him to compete in challenges, so she can’t let him die, unfortunately.
I liked Annabelle. She wasn’t trying to win, she was trying to redeem herself and move past her naive mistakes of the past. And she rocked it. She’s smart and tough, and she refrains from pushing Kip into a fire, which is a feat of strength in itself. She deserves someone like Jendan, who sees all of her awesomeness and worships it. When they end up alone together, Annabelle is very straightforward about not getting involved on the show. Jendan feels screwed (again, not literally), but he respects her.
The competition shakes out with Annabelle never giving up, even when she makes hard decisions. She gets her revenge and her redemption. And then after the show? She totally gets the guy. He’s such a sweet, normal, nice guy, and also very sexy, and I would fall for him in a second.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Jessica Clare
Release Date: July 15, 2014