Between the Sheets
by Robin Wells
Published by Forever
Genre: romance; chick lit
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3.5 / 5 cupcakes
Schadenfreude. My favorite word. Oh, how I derive joy from the misery of others. And by 'misery,' I mean the "you brought this on yourself, you horny bastard" variety, not poverty or hunger.
So I looked forward to reading this book, because it offers an element of schadenfreude. Emma Jamison is a butler. She owns her own temporary butler business providing butler services to those who need it. Hired to work one weekend at a New Orleans mansion whose owners are out of town, she watches as the guest coming to visit is the President-elect. He does not come alone. With him is a lady-for-hire, whose services are provided with such gusto that the man is left dead. Literally.
Unfortunately for Emma, the press believes she is the woman providing the sexy times, and Emma's life is, effectively, ruined. Her reputation is down the toilet, she loses her business, and she loses considerable sums of money in an attempt to prove that another woman was present.
She winds up in a small Louisiana town, where she works as a housekeeping director at the "retirement home" where her grandmother lives. Grams meets Harold, a hot octogenarian with Alzheimer's, and the two strike up a (very ... wink wink) close friendship. Emma, meanwhile, meets Harold's grandson Max, who is running for District Attorney. The last thing Max needs during an election year is getting linked to Emma Jamison, the woman who supposedly killed a President.
Emma and Max like each other. A LOT. But she is leery of getting too close, mostly out of fear of ruining his reputation, and he is leery of not getting close enough. He wants to be with her, even if it means losing the election.
The story here is cute and entertaining, and it does give you an idea of what it must be like for those who wind up in the midst of scandal. The pervasive paparazzi, the tabloids, the half truths and complete untruths. I felt badly for Emma that she could not clear her name, no matter how hard she tried, and when she breaks down in sobs over yet another injustice done to her, it's difficult not to sympathize. In Emma's case, the bad luck brought on her was not of her own doing at all, but rather because some people thought it better to blame her than a call girl.
There are a couple of sex scenes, and neither is terribly hot or explicit. One, in fact, is more humorous than erotic. The love stories are sweet, and the characters enjoyable. My only quibble - and it's a big one - is the story's predictability. You know exactly what will happen before it happens, and that throws water on the fire.
As fun reads go, this is a good one. I still engage in schadenfreude, but not at Emma's expense.