The premise of Break, the new adult contemporary romance by Vanessa Waltz, is not a new one. You sort of know going into it exactly what to expect, but that’s not an unwelcome feeling in my mind. I sat down to read yesterday with a craving for a story with a young, pretty protagonist and a good-looking, rich love interest. And that’s what I got. Does anyone else sometimes have the desire to read something new but also want to know exactly what to expect? It’s sort of comforting.
This was a breeze of a read; I could hardly believe when I looked at the progress marker on my Kindle and saw that I was fifty percent done with the book! This would be a fine stand-alone novel, but according to Goodreads there’s a sequel called Crash. It looks like it follows the best friend of Jessica, the main character of Break. So that’s interesting. But we’re here to talk about Break – so I’ll stop getting ahead of myself!
Jessica has a degree in English and no job to speak of. She’s broke, and she’s tired of relying on her best friend’s kindness when it comes to bailing her out of financially-tricky situations. She comes from a broken home and suffered abuse as a result. Despite all of these things, Jessica is a sweet person; she volunteers at a soup kitchen whenever she can afford the bus fare to get there. She means well, but her life is a mess. How is she going to make the money for rent this month? This combination of factors makes Jessica a narrator worth rooting for, although at certain points during her narrative I wanted to shake her for various infuriating reasons.
By chance, she happens upon a dating site for rich men looking for sugar babies. Despite protestations from her friend and her own insecurities about men, Jessica signs up for the site. She immediately receives a reply from Luke Pardini, the incredibly handsome heir to a multi-billion dollar industry. Luke is looking to fool his terminally-ill father into believing he has a girlfriend, in order to save his stake of the family fortune.
The chemistry between Jessica and Luke is apparent from the beginning, but they both fight to keep things platonic for the sake of their business arrangement. As the lines between business and pleasure start to blur, I wondered how their story would end.
(I mean, I think I knew the general ending, but how they get to that point was surprising.)
The one factor of this story that threw me for a loop: the sex.
I am all for a sexy love story, and I know that the new adult genre is often described as “young adult stories, but with sex,” but the intensity of these scenes felt like they’d be at home in a book for a more mature audience. They were well-written and steamy, but they were shocking, too. So consider this a disclaimer: there are scenes in Break that may not be for someone who’d rather keep it clean.
I also felt puzzled by the intensity of the sex scenes, as Jessica suffered abuse in her childhood that still haunts her. It was as if that facet of her personality was forgotten in these scenes, and only cropped up when relevant to the plot.
Despite these issues, I’d recommend Vanessa Waltz’s Break to anyone looking for a short-and-sweet ( / sort of dirty) romance with a happy ending.
Published: February 2014
Received: Free copy of Amazon