Series: The List #1
on January 30th 2017
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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As the millionaire owner of a chain of computer shops, Simon Traxel isn’t normally hands-on with mundane repairs. But when a fretful brunette shows up with her fried laptop and killer green eyes, he makes an exception. And as it turns out, she needs more hands-on help than Simon imagined.
Brainy soil scientist Cassie Michaels has spent her whole life feeling like a grungy tree trunk beside her delicate flower sisters. To make herself more interesting, Cassie invented stories about her wild sex life—stories she’s expected to retell in vivid detail at a bachelorette party. Cassie’s attempt to catalog her biggest whoppers goes awry when she spills wine on her laptop and lands in Simon’s shop with her sexy list frozen on the screen.
But Simon’s interest is piqued, and the two strike a deal to make Cassie’s make-believe sexploits a reality. From steamy public romps gone hilariously awry, to sexy antics with kitchen utensils, their quest to conquer The List is equal parts scorching hot and adorably awkward.
As they near the end of The List though, Cassie and Simon second guess their pledge to shake hands and say goodbye when they cross off the last item. But will Simon’s big secret make that the one fantasy that can never come true?
Simon and Cassie are so perfect in this story in their averageness. Their chemistry heats this story, but it is also a bit of their “average joe” life that makes it easy for the audience to associate with the characters and therefore, put ourselves into the story.
Cassie Michaels is the boring sister. She’s a character that all of us book geeks can empathize with. She is us and from the beginning she easily wins our heart. She knows that she is boring. She has a PhD in soil for God’s sake. She also knows that she doesn’t enjoy the same things as her sisters. She doesn’t care about marrying the perfect man, and wearing the right fashions, and being a perfect hostess. So she tells her sisters stories of her erotic escapades to get them off her back. Too bad they are all lies.
In the story Cassie has gotten into her current predicament while she was drinking just a little too much wine which she then spilled on her computer keyboard freezing it on her Fuckit List of stories she has told her sisters. If she hadn’t been telling lies in the first place, then she wouldn’t have had to write them down so she wouldn’t forget them when she sees her sisters and their friends at her sister’s upcoming bachlorette party. But really, are they lies or fantasies?
Cassie then meets Simon at the computer store when she brings in her laptop to see if there is any way to salvage it. Simon is your perfect geek fantasy. A former awkward brain who grew into his handsomeness, still wears his geek glasses, and now has rock hard abs to go with them. While Cassie can hope that he won’t notice the giant sex list frozen across the screen, there is no way Simon misses that. In fact, after the adorably awkward explanation from Cassie, Simon knows that he really, really would like to help her fix her computer problem and help her cross off all the items on her list.
We see that Cassie is the perfect match for Simon when in the opening scene a beautiful woman who isn’t very overt in her attention to Simon, gets the brush off. He isn’t interested in the gold diggers, no matter how on display they are, and the shy, barely put together Cassie is what catches his eye immediately.
Simon and Cassie take on the challenge of no-commitment sex in order to make true Cassie’s Fuckit List. In fact, they have so much fun at it, neither of them wants to finish the list. As the list grows shorter, will either of them have the courage to ask for more?
This story is much more than a simple erotic story. Yes, the underlying premise is to get from one erotic situation to the next, but more than that Simon and Cassie have such great chemistry. They laugh through some of the items or they can simply hang together while they make plans to cross off their next item. Under the guise of crossing off the list, they are a forging a wonderful bond. Unfortunately it is Simon’s fear that is the biggest obstacle for their future and the only downside to this story.
Simply put, Simon is an average guy who has become very successful. He is the owner of a chain of computer stores which keeps growing in the state. Simon has become rich and is getting richer. The former high school geek has also found that once the women he dates finds out just how much money he has, they decide that Simon is their key to a lavish lifestyle. Simon is more interested in taking care of his sister who has down syndrome. He has started a special work program in his stores for people with down syndrome and he advocates for health services for people like his sister. He prefers quiet weekend adventures with his sister, than partying the weekend away.
I think Simon’s fatal flaw was his inability to learn from his past failures and apply what he has learned to his new relationship. We have seen this flaw many times before. As they spend more time together, Simon comes to realize he doesn’t want to get to the end of The List. He likes Cassie but instead of recognizing the differences in her from the women he has chosen in the past, he focuses on how all those other women failed to look past his money. They didn’t want to spend time with his sister. This does nothing but highlight Simon’s inability to pick the right kind of woman or his inability to recognize what makes Cassie special.
He is also didn’t learn from his prior mistakes of introduced woman to his sister prematurely, rather than wait until he was certain of his own commitment to these women. Each time he breaks up with the gold digger, he sister keeps asking about the women he was dating.
I understand that as long as Simon doesn’t tell Cassie he has money, she can’t ruin his fantasy that she would be different from the other women who want Simon to pamper and indulge them. She can’t fail him, if he never gives her a chance to.
Instead of listening to Simon’s constantly growing lament about how he wished things could be different with Cassie. I would rather have seen him realize that she was different from his usual date. He can see that she is different than her own sisters who are more concerned with status and money, so why can’t he take that next step to understand that she isn’t like the other women he has dated. If he knew Cassie at all, she would be understanding of not hurting Simon’s sister and why Simon hesitated to tell her about his money. It doesn’t go so well for Simon, or Cassie, in the story when he is found out.
I thoroughly enjoyed Cassie and Simon and their exploits and just wish we didn’t have to listen to Simon lament so much, rather than just have him man up and give Cassie an opportunity to prove herself as better than the others.
One of the items on the list is that Cassie wants to kiss a girl so they end up at a strip club looking for someone willing.
The dancer moves back, slipping her hands out of my dress more hastily than she put them there. She smiles at me again, a saucy expression that seems to say, “how was that?”
I nod and smile back as I shove my whole pile of two-dollar bills onto the stage. I’m more turned on than I expected to be, and I glance back at Simon again, wondering if he’s noticed.
The disco ball flickers in the reflection of his glasses, but beyond that, his eyes are molten. His gaze locks with mine, and we stare at each other across the room.
Beside me, the dancer has moved on to Kristin. I hear Kristin giggle when the other woman slides into her lap, but I barely notice. Spectators on all sides of us are cheering, but I’m still locked in Simon’s gaze. We’re twenty feet apart, but I can feel him like he’s next to me. Inside me. I lick my lips and touch a hand to me cleavage, which feels like it’s on fire. He smiles, and mouths three words that send a searing bolt of lust straight through my core.
I want you.
My mouth goes dry. I want him, too, more than I’ve ever wanted anyone in my life.
Kristin grabs my hands, and I break the force field of Simon’s gaze to turn back to her. “Wasn’t that fun?”
I smile and nod like an idiot. “Yeah. I guess I can cross that off The List.”
Wait. Can I? There was technically no kiss. I’m trying to decide whether to give myself a mulligan on this one when Kristin presses for more.
“You have a list?”
“Yeah.” I give her a sheepish smile and shrug. “It’s a stupid list I made for my sisters. Long story. I was supposed to kiss a girl, but I think getting groped by a dancer is close enough.”
“Oh, sweetie.” She grins and puts her palms on my shoulders. Her eyes are pretty and blue, and she’s close enough for me to see a smattering of freckles on her nose. “See that guy over there? The one by the bar wearing the red T-shirt.”
She gestures with the tip of one manicured finger, and I glance toward the bar. Standing off to the side is a tall guy with a handsomely-stubbled jaw and dark eyes that are fixed on Kristin. He’s smiling a little, but there’s a heat in his expression that reminds me of the look I just saw from Simon.
Simon, whose gaze I can feel on the side of my face.
I turn back to Kristin. “Is he your boyfriend?”
“Husband. It’ll be five year next month. Want to know the best anniversary present I could give him?”
“What?” I’m surprised by the breathlessness in my voice, and I think I might know what she’s going to say.
“To see his wife–a tired mother of two–kiss another woman.”
There’s nothing in Kristen’s pretty features that says “tired-looking,” and my heart pounds with the knowledge that I want to kiss her. Not the same way I want to kiss Simon, but also not just for The List.
I want it for me.
Before I have time to think about it, I lean in close and brush my lips against hers.
She’s soft–softer than any man I’ve kissed–and I feel myself melting into those lips. Suddenly, I can tell we’re both into this. Her tongue touches mine, timidly at first. I respond like it’s the most natural thing in the world, tilting my head to deepen the kiss. She gives a soft little sigh, and I tunnel my fingers into her hair, letting those silky curls slide between them as her tongue brushes mine again. It’s a sweet kiss, but still passionate. Not a kiss to make me swear off men, but one I’ll remember for a good long time.
I draw back first and slowly let go of her. I smile into those blue eyes, and Kristin smiles back.
“You’re an excellent kisser,” I tell her.
She laughs and tosses a look back at her husband. He’s walking in our direction, and I suspect Kristin is about to get very, very lucky. “I’ll tell him you said so.”
I didn’t even realize the song has ended until several people stood up around me. I get to my feet, surprised to realize my knees aren’t shaking anymore. I scan the room for Simon, hoping he saw the kiss. Hoping he looks at me with even a fraction of the desire I see on Kristin’s husband’s face as he hustles her toward the door.
I turn at the sound of Simon’s voice. He’s standing behind me with my coat in his hand and a smoldering look in his eyes. I don’t know what makes me glance down at the front of his pants, but I smile at the evidence that he’s as turned on as I am. My pulse hammers in my ears, and I find myself having a very tough time swallowing.
“Want to get out of here?” His voice is low and suggestive, and I wonder if we’ll even make it home. We took an Uber here, neither of us wanting to drive if we were going to be drinking.
I’m regretting that decision.
I like my lips and nod. “Let’s go.”