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Published by Berkley on June 5, 2018
Genres: Romance, Contemporary
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A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
Stella Lane thinks math 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 way 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. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner 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 the other things he's making her feel. Soon, 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...
I was provided a review copy by Berkley, Penguin; this did not influence my opinion of the book.
It’s release day for one of my favorite reads of the year,
‘Kiss Quotient’ by Helen Hoang!
We are fortunate that Helen Hoang is sharing an excerpt with us, check it out!
“You’ve watched Pretty Woman too many times. Kissing doesn’t mean anything, and it’s always best if you’re not thinking too much in bed. Trust me,” he said.
Her mouth thinned into a stubborn line. “This is too important for me not to think. I’d rather not kiss anymore if you don’t mind.”
Michael’s irritation redoubled, and he forced his hands to relax before he popped all his blood vessels. How the hell had he gotten himself into this? Ah yes, he’d been worried about his escort colleagues taking advantage of her. Stupid of him. His life was complicated enough without worrying about his clients. This was exactly why he had the one-session policy.
He would have backed out—it was tempting—but he’d promised. He always carried through on his promises. It was his way of balancing out the universe. His dad had broken enough promises for the both of them.
“All right,” he made himself say. “No kissing.”
“Do the other plans look okay?” she asked.
He forced himself to read them and found them pretty similar, only she’d moved from hand jobs to blowjobs and changed the sexual positions.
Amused despite himself, he said, “I’m surprised you used the terms ‘doggy style’ and ‘cow girl.’”
Her cheeks went bright red, and she adjusted her glasses. “I’m inexperienced, not clueless.”
“Your plans are missing something important.” He held his hand out, and she placed the pen in his palm with wary motions.
She tilted her head to the side as she watched him write FOREPLAY at the top of all the plans in capital letters. As an afterthought, he drew a box in front of each iteration with hard stabs of the pen.
“But why? I was under the impression men don’t need it.”
“You do,” he said flatly.
She wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “You don’t have to bother with me.”
He narrowed his eyes. “It’s not a bother. Most men like foreplay. I do. Getting a woman hot is satisfying as hell.” Besides, he was not having sex with her if she wasn’t ready. No fucking way.
Swallowing, she stared down at the menu. “So you’re saying I don’t have a chance to improve.”
“What? No.” His mind scrambled to figure out why she might say that and came up with nothing.
“You saw how I reacted. It was one button.”
“And then you slept with me all night. You were basically naked, and you cling.”
“Are you two ready to order?” the waitress interjected. Judging by the amused glimmer in her eyes, she’d caught the last part of their conversation.
Stella perused the dinner options, her nails picking at the fabric edging of the menu.
“We’ll have the special,” Michael said.
“Wise choice. I’ll leave you to it.” The waitress winked, gathered the menus, and disappeared.
“What’s the special?” Stella asked.
“I have no idea. Let’s hope it’s not woolly.”
A troubled frown bracketed her mouth, and she leaned forward hesitantly, meeting his eyes for the briefest second. “What exactly do you mean by ‘cling?’”
Michael grinned. “It means you like to cuddle when you’re asleep.”
She looked so horrified Michael couldn’t help laughing. “I confess to liking it.” Which was the truth, and unlike him. Cuddling was an obligatory thing he did for his clients because he understood they needed it. He usually spent the time counting the seconds until he could leave and go home to shower. Holding Stella had been nothing like that. They hadn’t had sex, so there’d been nothing to wash away, and the trusting way she’d curled into him had made him feel things he didn’t want to think about.
The ‘Kiss Quotient’ is a must read!
❝Michael was mint chocolate chip for her. She could try other flavors, but he’d always be her favorite.❞
What an original, inspiring, transparent and enlightening read! The fact that this is a debut by Helen Hoang blows my mind! It is seriously good! The writing, plot line, and character development were superb. I loved every word.
‘The Kiss Quotient’ is about a wealthy woman, named Stella Lane, who works as an econometrician. Her mother is pressuring her to find a man, marry and have children. But she struggles in social situations, thus making relationships difficult. Further, sex isn’t something she enjoys nor believes she’s good at. Determined to succeed, she decides to hire an escort to teach her how to have sex.
❝Girls like me have never been asked out by a single boy. Girls like me have to find their own way, make their own luck. I’ve had to fight for every success in my life, and I’m going to fight for this. I’m going to get good at sex, and then I’ll finally be able to entice the right person into being mine.❞
Michael Phan’s father left the family with financial difficulties and his mother’s illness has continued to drive the family deeper into debt. Doing everything he can to help out, he works as a tailor at his mother’s dry cleaning store during the day and as an escort on Friday nights. As he struggles to make ends meet, he worries he may one day be like his father. Between his Friday night activities and his father’s legacy, he doesn’t believe he is worthy of anyone.
As her escort, Michael doesn’t rush Stella or push her into sex. Instead, he finds ways to make her relax and learns what she needs. It’s Michael’s kindness, generosity, and understanding that makes Stella yearn for a relationship with him. Michael loves how he feels with Stella. She genuinely likes him for who he is. Both fear how the other will react once their truths are told and both know they will never be the same when it ends.
The raw and transparent way in which Hoang wrote our heroine, Stella, not only brought the character to life but may have dispelled some beliefs about women with autism. At the very least it helped enlighten readers about “high functioning” autism. For Stella, we read about her struggles to be like “everyone else”. From her conversations with others to her obsessions, it was exhausting for her to try and remember what was and what was not socially acceptable to do and say, while also keeping in mind how her words and actions affected others. These are things many of us take for granted.
The honest way in which she wrote Michael’s character reminds us that we all struggle with issues, we all have something we wish was different or that we were better at. These two characters made me think about how easy it is to judge others because they are different or their choices might differ from what we would choose to do. But those differences beg for understanding, not judgment.
A spectacular debut, ‘The Kiss Quotient’ will make you laugh and cry. It will beg you to love your perceived flaws and be understanding of the flaws you perceive in others. Make sure to pack this in your beach bag, ‘The Kiss Quotient’ is the perfect vacation read!