Just when I thought another romance novel couldn’t possibly surprise me – Ladies and Gentlemen, lo and behold, The Proposition!! A perfect ratio of sweet and romantic, a super-sized amount of scorching hot lovin’ and convincing sexual chemistry, with just a dash of angst, this is the perfect recipe for the type of story that will please anyone looking for a book to curl up with and escape into, all the while having a goofy grin plastered all over your satisfied face. Piece of advice though – do NOT forget to have an industrial-sized fan handy because it’s gonna get hot!!
“Have you ever wanted something so bad you think you’d die if you didn’t have it? That the mere thought of it keeps you up at night. You can’t sleep, you can’t eat, you can’t drink. You are so consumed by that desire nothing else matters, and you’re not sure life is worth living if you can’t have it.”
Emma is a thirty-year-old single woman who wishes nothing more than to have a baby of her own. Her dreams of becoming a mother have almost become a physical need for her, making her willing to do almost anything to make that happen, desperate enough to even ask her gay best friend to father her child. But when everything falls through with that arrangement, the answer to all her prayers comes in the form of Aidan, a man whose womanizing reputation precedes him by a mile.
Aidan is a player. Aidan doesn’t do relationships. Aidan equates the responsibility of being a husband and father to choking. Emma is also the only woman who has ever rejected his advances and he is willing to do just about anything to get her into his bed. But that is not the only reason Aidan offers his ‘stud services’ to Emma – he is no stranger to the kind of comforting feeling that the love of a family can give you so he understands Emma’s need to become a mother. His motives might be primarily fueled by his raging libido, but there is a part of him that connects with Emma and desires nothing more than to make her happy.
“You’ve had so much death and loss that you just want a little life in you.”
At this point I recommend bringing that industrial-sized fan out of storage and turning it on at full blast because Ms Ashley writes good sex scenes like nobody’s business. Emma and Aidan engage in a commitment-free physical relationship aimed at one thing and one thing only – making a baby for Emma. Let me tell you, as a reader, it has never been so much fun reaping the benefits of a fictional arrangement like this before! The chemistry between our lead characters is unquestionable, the connection created by their toe-curling sexual encounters slowly bleeding into other areas of their lives, making them fall for each other for all the right reasons and fighting to stay emotionally unattached for all the wrong ones. They don’t reach that point at the same time, or rather they don’t realize the depth of their feelings for each other simultaneously, but once their emotional bond is forged, all they can do is deny it to themselves and to each other.
This is in so many ways Emma’s story, and a very personal one at that. Unless you’ve ever been ‘an Emma’ in your life, it might be difficult to imagine what it is like to face the unwanted prospect of never holding your own baby in your arms. So many of Emma’s emotions in this book felt very familiar, identifiable, real. Her hopeless desire to become a mother took central stage even in her relationship with Aidan, making her willing to suppress her growing feelings for him in order to fulfill her dream of having a baby. She threads so very carefully with him, always aware of his commitment phobias and trying not to push him into anything he is not ready for.
“Their entire relationship was such a fragile balloon that she was afraid would pop at any moment.”
Aidan is a much more complicated character than Emma. This might be Emma’s story but it is Aidan’s journey to travel. His ‘conversion’ from incorrigible bachelor to man owning up to his feelings is a slowly progressing one, laced with doubt, inner conflict and a desperate want to avoid commitment at all costs. I hope we get to delve into the reasons behind this urge to form no lasting ties with a woman in the sequel as I found that part of his personality as fascinating as it was infuriating.
“Love like he had never known entered him that day, and instead of embracing it, he kept railing against it. … In the end, maybe it didn’t matter if he loved her. He could not imagine giving up the entirety of his life to being all she would need.”
Ms Ashley’s writing style is a force to be reckoned with. Apart from the spectacular dialogues which, in my opinion, can make or break a story, this book is flawlessly written in its entirety, leaving me with no objections other than having to wait to have the sequel in my greedy little hands. This is a story you will love from the very first page and will want to re-read right after you finished it. It will leave the romance junkie in you well sated but also craving for more. More of everything.