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Review: Temptation – K.M. Golland

on October 12, 2014

TemptationTemptation (Temptation #1)
K.M. Golland
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2014, eBook
Free on iBooks/Kindle

Alexis Summers is 35 and the happily married mother of two children. After taking some time off for motherhood, she’s returning to work as a concierge for City Towers, a prestigious hotel in Melbourne. On the first day she meets the boss, Bryce Clark when she manages to spill coffee on them both. To her surprise, Bryce is incredibly understanding. Alexis soon sees quite a lot of Bryce when it turns out part of her job is to report to him personally – she learns that Bryce is single despite all the wealth he has accumulated and that he’s looking for The One.

And he seems to think Alexis fits the bill.

Despite the fact that she’s married and happy, Alexis can’t stay away from Bryce. She finds herself promoted to the role of his personal assistant which means that she spends nearly all day with him. He’s funny, smart and very attractive and Alexis is finding the temptation of Bryce harder and harder to resist. He’s made it clear that he always gets what he wants and what he wants is Alexis and he’s willing to stage a long and dedicated campaign to achieving his goal.

I’m just going to throw it out there: Bryce Clark is a bigger creeper than Christian Grey. Here’s why:

  1. You’re standing too close. Their first meeting occurs after Alexis buys a white hot chocolate before work. She turns around and immediately bumps into Bryce who is standing behind her, spilling it all over both of them. Honestly, who stands an inch behind someone at any time, because that’s weird, but when they’re most likely to be carrying a hot drink, it’s not just creepy it’s also stupid. My copy of this book also includes the first chapter of the second book, which is from Bryce’s point of view and renders this scene even more skin-crawling.
  2. Keep your hands to yourself, buddy. After she spills the drink on them both, Bryce whisks her off to Versace and buys her a $2000 dress for her to wear, because I don’t know, he’s rich? And he needs a replacement suit. Anyway, when she’s trying it on he comes into the change room she’s in and zips it up for her. What?! I don’t care if he is your millionaire boss, most people would holler blue murder at that. I’ve never been to Versace, because I can’t afford that but most stores have separate change rooms for a reason and that reason is for people like you, Bryce.
  3. Your time is my time. Alexis starts as a relatively bottom-of-the-rung assistant concierge or something, which is probably fitting for someone who has been out of the work force for some time. However in the blink of an eye she’s promoted to Bryce’s personal assistant despite the fact that she has no experience or qualifications in this area – it’s mostly just because she once answered a phone when Bryce’s previous assistant (his sister who goes on maternity leave about three minutes after Alexis arrives) was in the bathroom. That means she gets to spend all day, every day with Bryce!
  4. Your job may require….sleepovers. Here’s this creepy room I prepared in advance. Alexis needs to take a shower at work, so of course Bryce leads her to his personal bathroom where it’s all decked out with the products she likes to use! This is on top of the spare bedroom in the penthouse that contains an array of designer clothing in her size for those times she may need to work so late it might be better if she stays over. And Bryce obtained the information on her personal preferences by having his sister call her 6yo daughter and speak to her. Firstly – crossing some lines in a big way. In so many ways I can’t even begin to describe. Secondly, I’ve got a 6yo. Okay mine’s a son, not a daughter, but he wouldn’t be able to identify anything I use personally because funnily enough, he’s not in the shower with me when I’m washing my hair or cleansing my face, etc. He also probably can’t read “L’oreal” or “Garnier” or “Yves St Laurent” or whatever. And any random that calls to speak to my 6yo would be told to buzz off.
  5. I won’t unless you say yes, except for all those other times when I will. After they kiss, Bryce claims that he won’t do anything unless Alexis gives the go ahead….but this is only sometimes true.
  6. Life is a Demi Moore movie. Bryce seems to think that he can play with other people’s lives, to get what he wants. This includes going behind the back of the woman he apparently loves and offering her husband money to sleep with her. I think Bryce is supposed to seem like he’s “freeing” Alexis to do as she chooses rather than be bogged down by her loyalty, especially when he holds information that discredits Rick, Alexis’s husband. But the whole thing feels really lazy – we’re told how fabulous Rick is, how great their marriage is, how happy they were. And that just gets blown out of the water with one or two lines.
  7. It all amuses me. The smirking. Oh god, the smirking. Bryce smirks his way through this entire book. Arrogant smirking. Cheeky smirking. Adorable smirking. So much smirking. I think the worst is when he seems to find Alexis’s struggle amusing. Yes, she’s attracted to Bryce, seemingly because he’s a rich man who is attractive, because that’s primarily what she mentions. But she’s also married with children and to go with Bryce would be to break up a home, affecting her children who knows how much and for how long. And despite the fact that Bryce is apparently in love with her, he seems to give no real thought or have no real concern to her children (other than feeling that perhaps her son would enjoy his observatory) and how this will affect them. When Bryce is smirking about her hesitancy or reluctance or conflict or attraction to him, it made me like him even less than before. And he spends pretty much the entire book smirking. It’s ridiculous. Smirking isn’t attractive.
  8. Stalking: it’s what I do. This is perhaps, the worst one of all. Bryce is clearly crossing lines, finding out about Alexis and using that knowledge to ‘woo’ her and in the book it’s portrayed as charming and cute. She teases him about stalking her and he responds all the time with ‘it’s what I do’ and she seems to think this behaviour is perfect fine. It isn’t. It’s weird, Bryce. You’re sitting up there in the penthouse of ‘City Towers’, googling or facebooking or consulting people that know Alexis so that you can find out what she does and likes. You pop up everywhere, at the clubs she goes out to with her friends etc dripping money and oozing your particular brand of ‘charm’ which is mostly just sleaze covered in creeper. It’s supposed to be evidence I think, of how much Bryce ‘loves’ Alexis but how can you love someone you barely know? What you should know Bryce, is that Alexis is a wife and mother. And all of the moves you’re putting on her, this campaign you’re waging, is gross.

Alexis doesn’t get a pass either. She’s weak, spineless, childish and ridiculous. She drools over Bryce whilst trying to remind herself half-heartedly that she’s married and then she seeks his attention constantly all the while rebuffing him in ways that aren’t really actually saying no. When she thinks Bryce is paying another woman some attention during a business meeting she undoes some buttons on her blouse and serves him drinks (which is not her job, it’s someone else’s), flirting with him all the while, just so he doesn’t forget her. It’s pretty pathetic. I hate the term “tease” but Alexis skates close to the line. Also her lack of real concern for her children and how they could possibly be affected by her potential actions is very off-putting. She is swayed by Bryce and his non-existent personality and her husband is swayed by the ridiculous $500,000 per annum salary Bryce offers her. In reality this is a dangerous situation and anyone who was happily married either wouldn’t feel the temptation or if they did, would remove themselves from its path. Instead Alexis chooses to place herself squarely in its path more and more each day, crossing the line into inappropriate workplace relations and we’re supposed to believe it’s all okay because Bryce is actually a much better man than her husband anyway.

Apart from the utter dislike I had for both characters, the writing itself didn’t work for me either. The story feels poorly paced, so many loaded looks and small, supposedly heat-filled moments as well as Alexis’s fantasies that all should lead towards the explosive climax (pun not entirely unintended). Instead the consummation feels anti-climactic and didn’t really deliver the pay off it should have. There’s also a subplot (I think?) revolving around Bryce’s cousin Gareth and I can only assume this is supposed to escalate throughout later books in the series because it seems to inexplicably peter out here and Bryce’s justification of Gareth’s continued employment and vague assumptions that he’s ‘taken care of’ the issue don’t really show Bryce as a dynamic CEO and multi-millionaire. In fact I’m not entirely sure how Bryce made any of his money given his sole occupation in this novel is Alexis.

From here on I can only assume that Bryce and Alexis find their HEA because they’re both so ‘me me me’ that they deserve each other. But I won’t be reading the rest of this series to find out for sure.


Book #201 of 2014


Temptation is book #76 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

2 responses to “Review: Temptation – K.M. Golland

  1. Deborah says:

    Oh I think the characters would DEFINITELY frustrate me too much to read this! I don’t read much romance but it’s rare (isn’t it?) to focus on tempting a married woman away from her hubby?

    • It is unusual, yes. I find the idea relatively distasteful but I think if you’re going to go in that direction, it needs to be handled very carefully and thoughtfully. This book doesn’t do that at all – Bryce basically goes in like a wrecking ball and Alexis is like a 15yo being noticed by a boy for the first time. It lacks any finesse and any real consideration on what it’s like to actually be married but having feelings for someone else. There’s no real conflict, it’s all Alexis gushing over how hot and rich Bryce is.

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