“Claim Me” is the second book in J. Kenner’s “Stark Trilogy”, and I’ll fully admit I was turned against the first book because of its very close ties to “Fifty Shades of Grey” and the tell tale billionaire lover boom that’s rampant around the erotic/erotic romance genre as of late. I rate this book slightly higher from the first not for quality, but for more that I think I followed the story a little better in the context of its cliches and beyond. However, I think this book suffered from a severe lack of story, which is why it doesn’t get any higher than my respective rating for it. There were more than enough sexy times to account for between Stark and Nikki, but very threadbare establishment, development or conflict to speak of. If recalling the main points of this story with taking out all the steamy scenes, the only thing you’ll get out of it was just the fact that Nikki suspects Stark is lying to her about things related to the business, ends up getting their secret portrait deal blown wide open, paparazzi difficulties, and Stark being indicted in Germany for a crime totally separate from the first book’s events. But it’s so spaced apart in the nature of the story that it takes a long time to get to any kind of palpable stakes. And usually if Stark and Nikki get frustrated enough – default to the steamy scenes as a release. It felt like a formula that didn’t really pay off. I will say that I still like Nikki’s audacity and when she stands up for herself to call out Stark and others who challenge her, but I don’t think there was anything substantial in this story to keep the ball rolling enough to pull me in. I felt I had to push myself through this more than I wanted to do so, and in the measure of reading, that lowered my experience of this novel than it should’ve.
I’m hoping it evens out more in the third book of the trilogy, because it ends on a promising note, but I’ll admit I’m weary since there was so little offered in this part of the story. Here’s to hoping, though.
Overall score: 1.5/5
Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Bantam.