Honest Synopsis: A lady we have no description of claims to love her life of independence and business, but then realizes within two seconds that she has been lying to herself and everyone else as she is actually miserable with all of her successes in life because there isn’t a man in it. This is all due to her twin sister getting married. A man with the description that he is an Idris Elba look-a-like is a rag-to-riches tale, but he hates money and everything that has to do with it, especially rich women. But not his Porsche. Or fancy house. This is all due to a relationship gone bad with one woman five years back. The two clash together, drawn by immediate lust that turned into a love that made no sense. But, hey. Sex is good, too.
Today, on Trashy Book Nook, I am asking the pertinent question: What drives you to drink?
I am asking this question for no particular reason.
It has nothing to do with anything that may have happened this past week.
Especially with reading a particular book.
And I am definitely not on my third hard cider while writing this post because of it.
I’m lying. Not about the drinking part. That would be dumb. I’m lying about the reason why I am drinking and why I am asking the original question. It has everything to do with the book that Tamu picked out for this week’s article: Sultry Nights by Donna Hill.
Now, to be clear — I am not blaming Tamu for this experience. Especially since she read it faster than I did and kept giving me warnings for the future that beheld me. And, let me tell you, there was a lot to behold.
We start the story out with a wedding. Dominique, the main character, is a bridesmaid for her twin sister, Desiree, who is currently getting married to the man of her dreams, which, had we read the first two books in this series about the Lawsons of Louisiana, we would have known their backstory. But as we did not follow these rules, we get otherwise nothing about them in these pages. Except that they are her sisters. And that she is the youngest and most free-spirited of all the other family members. Even when her father mentions the idea of settling down, she immediately states that she is happy to be an independent, career woman with nothing holding her down – she is at her happiest.
Until, that is, when she realizes that she is “losing” her last sister. For now she is (dun dun DUN) forever alone. Despite all of her random acts of sexiness, she wanted to feel something a little deeper. Her outward appearances are all a ruse.
Literally. We have this character go from completely satisfied with her life choices and accomplishments until toward the end of the wedding when she realizes that she is one of the few people there not a couple. Existential crisis in a hop, skip, and a jump of paragraphs.
The wedding over, we find that Dominique, Dom to friends and family, is actually the successful business owner of First Impressions, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women in need of second chances in life. Realizing that she had a massive collection of high-end clothing, and her father looking down his nose at her wild lifestyle of shopping and causing her credit score to plummet with maxed out credit cards, Dom saw an opportunity to put her fashion sense and good intentions to the best work possible by giving them to those that can’t afford it and need a leg up. However, the business began booming so quickly in the two years since it has opened that she needs to expand her business for several reasons, one of them being so she can start offering classes to help her clients as well. Dom has purchased the two floors above her, but they are in desperate need of renovations to meet her needs.
Enter Trevor, who is really Tamu’s lovely Idris Elba. I say this because there is no other description besides that he was an Idris look-a-like. So I will call him Idris in the rest of this review to make it easier. Idris is the owner of a contractor construction company. As soon as he walks in that room for his interview, BAM! Dom bangs her knee into her desk because he is so fine. Love at first hit.
I promise you, this isn’t a BDSM novel. It may be perhaps a bit of an emotional strain, but nothing physically harming. I just wanted to warn you ahead of time, in case that would deter you from the rest of the review. Although, now that I think about it, it could also deter you knowing that it isn’t that sort of novel. Pretend I wrote nothing on the subject.
Her knee swollen, this is Dom’s moment of immediate attraction, at a loss of words and walking coordination. Idris waffles the issue internally, trying to focus more on the construction he should be doing, noticing she is attractive, but ignoring it. He surveys the two floors above her business, gives her an estimate, and walks out the door seemingly ambivalent.
Dom can’t understand how he wasn’t throwing himself at her feet already, thinking, “He’s just not that into you.“ She then immediately decides that this isn’t a thing that ever happens. All men love her. Eventually.
Yes, she’s one of those women.
Idris, however, didn’t seem all that touched by the experience until Max, his partner in crime at the office, asks about how the interview went. It turns out, Idris is a millionaire extraordinaire, having built his business from the bottom up. His work for Dom will be considered part of his “good deeds” that year. He usually does pro-bono houses for those who lost theirs during Hurricane Katrina. When Max asks whether they’ve got the job, Idris says he’s pretty sure they did. But Max wants the deets on the chick running the place, which is always super important in business when it is a female. Idris explains with a wolfy smile that she is “edible”.
I should explain my feelings at this point. The first question is, “How did it go?” The second question is, “How was she?” Idris didn’t come out and say, “By the way, she was super attractive.” His friend knew she was a girl and found it important to find out whether she was a dog.
I can’t determine if this is a realistic dialogue between men or not. Either way, ugh.
I should explain, further, that I was also confused due to the fact that Idris had seemed so…not impressed when he first saw her. He was interested, but more like a professor making notes on his clipboard. “Yes, I find her attractive. I’ll make a mark here. Moving on…” So, when a paragraph was dedicated to telling us that he hadn’t felt this way since Vallyn, his girlfriend from five years prior, it jolted me to wonder what the hell kind of relationship he held with her. There wasn’t this heat described before, so why does he suddenly want to eat Dom like a box of chocolates?
Dominique comes back to the family home to find that both of her sisters are in the kitchen. Because that is what sisters do immediately after their wedding day. After a weekend of clubbing, going to a spa, and shopping, the ladies reflect on their time together before they depart. Both married sisters agree, having a partner is much more fun than being alone, especially when you meet that special someone. They do the typical, “Oh, you just haven’t met that right guy yet,” thing that women in relationships say when they forget what it is like to be single. They also bring up a valid point that Dominique isn’t looking or worried about looking anyway — remember, Dom was an avid independent before the end of her twin sister’s wedding. No one knows the sharp change in events but Dom. While they gush, Dom starts to remember a conversation she’d had with her Aunt Jacqueline at the wedding. It was about how the single life isn’t all that grand when you realize you are the only one there to support yourself.
Because, you know, friends and family aren’t that great for those sorts of things. You need a man for those sorts of things.
She gets upset with her sisters quickly, who have only been talking of how great their lives are as married folk the entire weekend. Before the sisters are able to leave, she states that she has met someone. And it’s Idris.
Yes, you’ve heard correctly. She tells her sisters in a fit of jealousy and anger that she has met someone who is more than a 30-day fling, and it is Idris. No one taunted her for being single. No one said, “You’ll be alone forever.” No one was doing anything but just talking about being happy they had found somebody, so she blurted out this new information to fit in.
And, spoiler alert: this never comes up again. She tells her sisters that she has a boyfriend; they never question it; they never call her to see how things are going; Idris never finds out that this has happened.
If this does anything for the book, it proves that Dominique is a selfishly driven woman who makes awkward proclamations her bitch.
The next scene has Dominique calling Idris to tell him that she would like to see his design offers now that he’s seen the place to confirm that she would have a contract with them. Wishing to seduce, and impress, she says for him to meet her at a fancy restaurant she likes. She happens to know the owner, too, so she would call ahead to get a nice spot.
Idris agrees and promptly shoves his chair so far back that it topples and hits the wall with enough force to cause any hanging frames to go lopsided.
You must be as confused as me about the situation at this point. Dom was as happy as can be and not at all demeaning, and yet he found it needful to assume she was being a horrible human being by inviting him out to dinner to talk over details. And he is so furious by this act that he almost flips a table. We don’t know why, but Idris is immediately assuming that Dominique is a rich lady who flaunts her money life-like Ke$ha in a music video. I say this because if there was any dialogue or moments during their first meeting to give off this impression, we didn’t receive it, not even in Idris’ head.
We find out later that, despite five years passing, Idris is still furious about the high-class Vallyn. And, without knowing Dominique in the least bit, he automatically assumes that she is exactly like Vallyn. So, this allows his actions to be warranted. Wipe that forehead clean of wrinkles and get those brows un-knit. It makes sense. Totally.
Also, here’s another kicker: Idris hates the rich so much that he assumes the worst of everyone who is within that income bracket, and yet he allows his friend to get him fit for a tailored suit. And he owns a Porsche. And he plans on using these things to make Dominique realize who she is dealing with because he assumes that Dom has assumed he is a low-class idiot. He wants to prove her wrong….somehow.
I’m on my fourth hard cider, by the way. Strongbow Gold Apple, if you want to go grab one. They’re pretty good. I’ll wait.
So, Idris gets to the restaurant and he doesn’t seem angry anymore. He seems to have forgotten his mission once he entered and saw how edible Dominique is. They begin enjoying themselves while eating. Dominique charms him with gossip on every patron in the place and her knowledge of what food is best on the menu. Vallyn happens to enter the scene without recognizing Idris, but she leaves just as quickly, so the drama quickly dissipates without Dom even realizing something is wrong… until Dom says that she would like to pay for dinner.
CHAIR SLAMMED TO THE WALL AGAIN.
Okay, that doesn’t happen at the restaurant, but Idris is livid that Dominique is trying to “flaunt her money”…even though it is, as she explains, her right to pay as she asked him out and is asking for his business. Both Dom and I are confused as he is obviously more angry than any normal human would be in this situation. He storms out like a child, leaving me to wonder what is attracting Dominique to this character anymore.
Here’s a really fun game: every time weird things happen between characters, take a drink. If you don’t want to remember this post at all by the time you’re done, make that a shot. I will allow you to determine what that means. You can also add in any time you feel as if the message of this book is to adhere to the male agenda in order to be happy in a relationship and life.
Max talks a bit of sense into Idris about how silly he is being the next day since, seriously, all she was trying to do was pay for a bill. Dominique, determined to use this contractor company, goes to his office to make an apology…despite having no notion of what she should be apologizing for. They agree to start over, shaking hands, and both realize how they are both really attractive people. Damn, they’re sexy. Resist, the both of you! Before my hearts pounds its way from my chest!
Dominique likes the plans and says she will meet him at a bar later to give him the down payment in the form of a check at a lower key bar. He agrees. Dom then reaffirms that she will have Idris all to herself, and she won’t be an outsider to her sisters ever again.
Healthy, Dominique. How have you survived this far, anyway?
I hope you took a drink with on that.
Now, get excited folks! This is the scene we have been all waiting for.
Dominique looks fantastic, of course. Idris, again, seems to forget that he is supposed to be super angry at any woman who is above a certain income. They swap stories and drink. And Idris gives her a ride home, only to be invited inside…
They drink coffee. They dance. She plays the doe-eyed female of being scared in an empty house, convincing him to stay. And then they (gasp) start making out. And it turns into something that is so. Much. More.
They have sex, is what I’m saying.
It was okay.
I say okay because the author has a way of calling certain things “her pearl”. And that makes me think of the vagina as an oyster. And it just… am I the only one here? Please, tell me that didn’t make you giggle and feel a bit uncomfortable reading that. And if it didn’t, think about that whole metaphor for a while and get back to me.
And maybe take a drink.
It gets worse. The chapter ends on a moment of ecstasy. They’re in tune, and this means forever! And the next page is Dominique trying not to cry while Idris takes a shower. And when he gets back, quickly dressing, Dom is checking her phone and not making any eye contact. They are both angry with the other, he leaves in a hurry, and both wondering what the fuck is up with the other.
I…guess they both tried to act super cool after all the sex, as if it wasn’t a big deal, and they both read that the other didn’t really care, so they assumed the other was actually a big jerk and…? I have no idea. I searched back and forth through the book a bit, thinking a page was ripped out, even questioned Tamu the next day, but something happened post-coital that we’ll never know. The two just aren’t talking to each other anymore.
And, what’s more, Dominique ends up having a mental breakdown the next day at the office, realizing she is in love, lonely, and that the whole situation is a lost cause.
This is what happens when you don’t know someone, get to drinking, then have sex afterwards, people.
Fifth bottle of hard cider. Cheers.
Idris starts his work on the renovations, and, despite her attempts not to, Dominique still ends up running into him. It could be because she is really bad at timing. Or maybe…it’s fate. Either way, after a few days of this, Dominique takes a leap to help with the renovations (she’s watched HGTV, people — it’s cool) and apologize for whatever happened that night, in which Idris SLAMS HIS CHAIR INTO THE WALL.
SLAMS HIS CHAIR INTO THE WALL = assumes Dominique believes she is slumming.
Dominique leaves, immediately upset. She receives a call from her brother, Rafe, and she ends up spilling the whole situation to him her raw state. He listens, then tells her that guys don’t like females who take control of the wheel, so to speak.
The exact line: “Although we love to have a woman come on to us, we still like to feel like we’re in the driver’s seat.”
That’s right! This is the advice her older brother gives her. Not, “Dominique, you are smart, clever, and gorgeous. If he doesn’t see this, or think that your personality is a problem, fuck that shit. Also, what is his address so I can gut him personally?” Not, “Who is this guy? He’s made you upset, and I will fuck him up! I will hurt him so he can’t have any options with anyone ever again!” Not even the simple, “Fuck him. Here’s another contractor who could help you out.” Because, in case you haven’t noticed, she comes from a family of rich people with many ties throughout the communities. Nope. The answer is to quiet down and give up your control so he can be happy.
Don’t worry, though, it’s cool. Idris comes to her office after she snaps the phone shut (who, by the way, has decided Rafe is right) and apologizes by making out with her and saying they should try to be a couple to see what becomes of it. And she forgives him because taut muscles. #duh
He also says that he has rules for their dating. First, they aren’t to mix business with pleasure — he can’t have the distractions (except, you know, when he decides to go to her office and start making out with her. Then, it’s totally cool). Second, he will choose the places they go and he will pay.
Now, I get that the point that is trying to come across is that he doesn’t like rich females flaunting their money, but, here is my point…
Get the fuck over yourself, Idris. It’s great to be romantic and a gentleman, but you can be that without telling your woman to change herself and step down. Because that isn’t romantic, nor is it being a gentleman. Also, it has been five years since Vallyn. Five. Fucking. Years. Since there hasn’t been any mention of other relationships with rich ladies being dicks, I’m thinking you really should have gotten over this already. Plus, both of you can pay for a meal quite fine — this isn’t as if one of you is a pauper. You have a Porsche and she has a mansion. I don’t think it matters who pays for what at this point, and that shouldn’t be a defining moment in your relationship. And if you both are going to make a big fucking deal out of this, fucking keep a jar that the opposing non-paying partner will put a matching donation of whatever the meal cost into it; all of that money can then be donated to a charity once a month.
See how smart I am? I’m a fantastic relationship therapist. I’ve got this in the bag.
Back to the story.
They decide to restart their relationship (AGAIN), and just before Idris is going to pick up Dominique for what can now be considered their third date, he has a random visit from (dun dun DUN) Vallyn. It turns out, she has tracked him down because she had gotten pregnant with his baby and that is why she left him. Her baby is his child, and she wants his child support stat.
Whoa. This is insane information. This is just… world turning. Idris now has a five-year-old girl to look out for, even if he doesn’t want anything to do with Vallyn. This child deserves to know her father, and he should really start considering his options and figuring out what this will mean for the rest of his life, even dating career…
Idris goes on his date with Dominique anyway. Because that is what makes sense after a world shaking revelation. You also keep that revelation a secret for no reason. And then, after a great date, and several weeks of great nights after, you don’t do anything about the revelation. You just have a great time with your new girlfriend and continue to renovate the two floors you’ve taken on. Nothing is amiss.
Dominique, unbeknownst to any and all of the situation, thinks things are going fantastically. She even begins to contemplate having Idris’ baby as one tends to do when you’ve been with someone for a little under a month, especially when that month is filled with horrible miscommunication.
To keep the plot moving, since Idris refused to do it, Dominique’s aunt, Jacquie, who just so happens to be a famous photojournalist, reveals this shocking news to Dominique with pictures of Idris with Vallyn and an unknown little girl, looking intimate in another town. Since Jacquie came across this scene and took pictures, she also did some digging and found out that (gasp) Idris’ construction business is actually (gasp) super successful, which makes him actually (gasp) rich and rather famous. She shows Dominique the newspaper clippings, which cause her to go wild with rage and hurt because….she was dumb and never did any research on the company that she was hiring? That she automatically assumed that Idris was poor, which confirms Idris’ initial assumption of Dom? Seriously, the way this man has been publicized (he has a picture of himself with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt), even if he were humble to an extreme, of course his business would still be well-known. I can understand being startled by the fact that he could have a family you didn’t know about, but this revelation of him being rich and his business being rather famous is only a shock due to bad research on a company you’ve hired.
She quickly runs away from the situation to her friend’s house, who gives her revelation about relationships: communication.
I know what you’re thinking. Communication in a romance novel?! Wouldn’t that take away from the drama of it all?
Yes. Yes it would. Thank all the gods.
Dominique drives in extremely stormy weather to confront Idris about the information she was given. Idris then treats her like the adult she is and tells the story of what has happened with Vallyn in the past. They then make out and decide to make love in a hot tub during a storm because nothing says “saucy” more than being in a conductive environment during a thunderstorm with lightning all around you. Obviously, super romantic.
But it isn’t over! Not only do they declare their love for each other, but Aunt Jacquie has more news! You see, Jacquie, being that famous photojournalist, gave Dominique only half of the story. She dug around even more (because that is what really good journalists do — they dig around for information and stop when it gets interesting rather than continuing to find the whole truth right away) and found out that Vallyn was lying about the squirt, Traci, being Idris’ daughter. She even has the birth certificate to prove it (I’m unsure whether that is legal or not). And Vallyn is poor as fuck! IN YOUR FACE, VALLYN — YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD HIDE BUT IN YOUR FACE.
I hope you are already on hard cider six, like I am.
Let’s skip to the ending.
- Idris shoves this information in Vallyn’s face, who is distraught.
- Idris shows no mercy and leaves her with the words “We live and learn.”
- Dominique has a party to show off the new renovations.
- It is super successful and even her father, the fancy DC politician, has arrived to see how it turned out.
- Idris gets all smoochy about how wonderful of a job Dominique is doing.
- No one thanks Idris for his hard work on the renovations.
- I take another sip of my drink.
- Idris admits to meeting Dom’s father; discovers both have passion in them.
- Idris almost admits that business and pleasure can be balanced. Despite everything now being finished and, since they’re together, this means that the job is done and it wouldn’t happen again if they’re super happy together. Unless they need renovations elsewhere?
- They make out.
- Dominique realizes that Idris will nurture their love for the rest of her days.
- I finish off my drink
There’s also an epilogue. And it’s awesome.
The first few paragraphs are about a letter Idris wrote to Vallyn, where he tells her that he can’t stand knowing that a little girl is without any help (i.e. he feels like a jerk for leaving things the way they were), so he and Dom had set up a trust fund that Traci can use when she is 18.
Traci is currently 4 years old.
We then are left in the last few paragraphs with Idris telling Dominique that they need to go on a trip for their honeymoon, which is his intro into “Marry me.” Dom makes a joke out of it by saying she only will if she gets to drive his Porsche. HAHAHAHHAHA GET IT?!
The Things I Left Out Of This Review:
- The confusing way this relationship turns about. The descriptions in the book about everything can get rather intricate, but there is a lot of anger and assumptions over nothing happening in this book. As mentioned, there were often times I thought I was missing a page, or that a page was stuck together. I realized it was confusing enough explaining what was happening without me adding in too much of the “wait, what?” moments. That’s right, there are a lot more of those moments than what I said.
- Dominique did tell one other person about her fake-boyfriend-gone-real, and that was her best friend Zoe. But it didn’t matter. Because it never came back. Just like her sisters didn’t.
- Chemistry. The sexy scenes felt forced somehow. Like we were supposed to know sexy times was happening, but tried giving the least amount of detail as possible, leaving anytime something was said about it a bit jolting.
- Characters. There’s a lot of them that didn’t do much. It’s the last in the series, so maybe if you read the whole set it makes more sense? Like cameos.
2/5 garbage roses. Readable, but ultimately makes you angry at every twist and turn in frustration because you don’t understand why anybody is doing anything. Plus, the extra message that says women shouldn’t drive. Drinking helps with this.
Funniest Disturbing Line: Heat sluiced through her veins, filled her body, loosened her inner thighs and made her tiny pearl stiffen and twitch.
Your Lesson From The Book Line (so you can find love, too!): A man likes to feel that he’s in the driver’s seat.
Sultry Nights Writing Review Playlist:
- Molgera by Theophany; featuring guitar by Alejandro Pérez Heinze; Vocals and Flute by Laura Intravia