Series: Standalone Novel
Published by Berkley on 6/5/18
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he's making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic...
What an absolutely sweet and heartwarming read. The Kiss Quotient is a book we both fell in love with. It’s unexpectedly deep and moving, completely sweet and romantic, and totally consuming. A refreshing standalone that won our hearts over. Today we have a double review below and an excerpt that is sure to have you wanting to read this outstanding debut novel from an author we just can’t wait to read again.
4 “Yes. This.” Stars!
The cover of The Kiss Quotient is a bit deceiving. When you first see it, you think this story is going to be sweet, cute, maybe even a little quirky with light amount of angst. And in some some ways you do get the sweet and cute, but you also get so much more than that. This book is unexpectedly heartfelt and tender, so romantic and pulse pounding and angsty. It makes you ache and cry, swoon and melt, and feel all the feels for these characters. The emotions are deep and tangible, so intoxicating, and the storyline is wholly moving. I’m honestly shocked that this is Helen Hoang debut. It’s beautifully written and well thought out. I can’t get over it. And I can’t even express how much you NEED this novel in your life.
Stella Lane has a problem. She thinks she’s bad at sex and even worse with people. With her mother hounding her to get out and date, to find her match, she knows her issues are something she needs to tackle. So she hires an escort, and that man is Micheal. Micheal Larsen has his own set of issues. Carrying the heavy burden of helping his family through a difficult financial and emotional time, his life’s been nothing short of chaotic the last couple of years. But Stella’s appearance as his client changes everything, for not only him but her as well.
Stella’s character is truly a breath of fresh air—pure, this girl is one you can’t help but absolutely love. She has high functioning autism—Asperger’s—and seems to carry that around like a badge of shame, which broke my heart. If anything, it only adds to her brilliance, made her entirely lovable. Her honesty, her thought process, her quirks are all things I adored about her. And for me, this heroine single-handedly made this book brilliant.
Stella and Micheal have an intrinsic connection together. One that was beautiful to read. I could not get enough of these two. I absolutely love the way Micheal understood Stella. He just got her. His gentleness, his patience, his tender heart were more than endearing. Honestly, I’m smitten with these characters, and I wasn’t expecting to love this story so much.
Overall, everything about The Kiss Quotient was refreshing and heartwarming. It’s a romance about two people who feel unworthy, but when they come together they find not only their self-worth, but a soulmate in the process. It’s lush and romantic, moving and unputdownable, and I can’t recommend it enough. I’m in love.
5 “This was Everything” Stars!
I have to admit that I didn’t read the blurb before I began reading The Kiss Quotient. I rarely do read blurbs, preferring to go in blind and feel everything without assumption or indication about what’s to come. I didn’t know what to expect with this storyline but it certainly wasn’t THIS. THIS was sexy. THIS was steamy. THIS broke my heart. THIS was inspiring and beautiful and romantic. THIS was refreshing and different and a little awkward and unbelievably sweet and so unlike anything I’ve ever read. THIS was thoughtful and devastating and fantastic and I never wanted it to end.
The Kiss Quotient is an eye opening, thought provoking storyline about a fierce attraction growing between two unlikely people who don’t believe they’re worthy of love. I so appreciate a storyline that pushes boundaries, that breaks stereotypes, that changes the way I see the world. The Kiss Quotient did all of these things within just a few chapters while simultaneously delivering a breathtaking romance rife with heartache and sensuality. This is a story I never saw coming, one that made my heart twinge and my stomach knot with angst. It’s a story that made my heart soar with joy and hope and possibility and romanticism. Helen Hoang, with her superb writing and stellar storytelling, took my breath away with The Kiss Quotient and my only regret is that I waited so long to read it.
I love a SMART ROMANCE. I love a good story that paints a luminous picture of adoration and attraction and chemistry and hope against the backdrop of something BIGGER. The Kiss Quotient is important. It’s a joyful, painful, hopeful story that will restore your faith in unconditional love while giving you fresh perspective on humanity and the way we connect. It’s a wholly unique, completely unforgettable love story between the most magnetic characters. It’s a heartfelt story of finding oneself, embracing our differences, allowing labels to free us rather than restrict us. It’s a FASCINATING story that’s as passionate as it is poignant, a story peppered with humor and sensuality but one that sends such a profound message about the importance of embracing one’s truth. The Kiss Quotient is a story that I will never forget, a moving story that has touched me beyond words. This is a MUST READ.
“You’ve watched Pretty Woman too many times. Kissing doesn’t mean anything, and it’s always best if you’re not thinking too much in bed. Trust me,” he said.
Her mouth thinned into a stubborn line. “This is too important for me not to think. I’d rather not kiss anymore if you don’t mind.”
Michael’s irritation redoubled, and he forced his hands to relax before he popped all his blood vessels. How the hell had he gotten himself into this? Ah yes, he’d been worried about his escort colleagues taking advantage of her. Stupid of him. His life was complicated enough without worrying about his clients. This was exactly why he had the one-session policy.
He would have backed out—it was tempting—but he’d promised. He always carried through on his promises. It was his way of balancing out the universe. His dad had broken enough promises for the both of them.
“All right,” he made himself say. “No kissing.”
“Do the other plans look okay?” she asked.
He forced himself to read them and found them pretty similar, only she’d moved from hand jobs to blowjobs and changed the sexual positions.
Amused despite himself, he said, “I’m surprised you used the terms ‘doggy style’ and ‘cow girl.’”
Her cheeks went bright red, and she adjusted her glasses. “I’m inexperienced, not clueless.”
“Your plans are missing something important.” He held his hand out, and she placed the pen in his palm with wary motions.
She tilted her head to the side as she watched him write FOREPLAY at the top of all the plans in capital letters. As an afterthought, he drew a box in front of each iteration with hard stabs of the pen.
“But why? I was under the impression men don’t need it.”
“You do,” he said flatly.
She wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “You don’t have to bother with me.”
He narrowed his eyes. “It’s not a bother. Most men like foreplay. I do. Getting a woman hot is satisfying as hell.” Besides, he was not having sex with her if she wasn’t ready. No fucking way.
Swallowing, she stared down at the menu. “So you’re saying I don’t have a chance to improve.”
“What? No.” His mind scrambled to figure out why she might say that and came up with nothing.
“You saw how I reacted. It was one button.”
“And then you slept with me all night. You were basically naked, and you cling.”
“Are you two ready to order?” the waitress interjected. Judging by the amused glimmer in her eyes, she’d caught the last part of their conversation.
Stella perused the dinner options, her nails picking at the fabric edging of the menu.
“We’ll have the special,” Michael said.
“Wise choice. I’ll leave you to it.” The waitress winked, gathered the menus, and disappeared.
“What’s the special?” Stella asked.
“I have no idea. Let’s hope it’s not woolly.”
A troubled frown bracketed her mouth, and she leaned forward hesitantly, meeting his eyes for the briefest second. “What exactly do you mean by ‘cling?’”
Michael grinned. “It means you like to cuddle when you’re asleep.”
She looked so horrified Michael couldn’t help laughing. “I confess to liking it.” Which was the truth, and unlike him. Cuddling was an obligatory thing he did for his clients because he understood they needed it. He usually spent the time counting the seconds until he could leave and go home to shower. Holding Stella had been nothing like that. They hadn’t had sex, so there’d been nothing to wash away, and the trusting way she’d curled into him had made him feel things he didn’t want to think about.
About the Author
Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since.
In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT, which comes out in June 2018 with Berkley.
She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish.
Helen is represented by Kim Lionetti of BookEnds Literary Agency.