As a professional author and former fanfic writer, this novel was an odd sort of wish-fullfillment romance that I never knew I wanted. Reading it was both fascinating and oddly bizarre, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. Reading about other authors and their process is always an interesting experience, because I believe there’s no “one, true way” to be a writer. The wish fullfillment part definitely comes from the multi-million dollar contract facet, not necessarily the ability to get it on with a hot, older, successful writer that I idolize!
That being said, the progression of the relationship in this novel, from faceless but legitimate online friendship to lovers, is a modern conceit that worked well for this story. Considering how online friendships can blur the line between virtual and reality, not to mention the rise of online dating, modern romance stories shouldn’t all rely on the traditional “meet-cute” for the origin of relationships.
The diversity in this novel was subtle but well-executed. Not every Muslim character needs to be a shining paragon of Islam, and not every former military professional is a straight alpha male. Kevin and Hunter were both fully three-dimensional characters whose traits created conflict without me ever feeling like they weren’t well-matched. The age difference between the characters was also a source of realistic tension.
This book was very long, but it flowed well and I never felt that parts dragged or should be cut. Though I’m rounding up to 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads, I feel that this book deserves 4.5 stars because I was not ultimately satisfied with the very ending, which ended with a sexy bang (happily for now) but not quite enough realistic communication to convince me that all would be sunshine forever (happily ever after).