Warning: Rigid Standards by Laelia West

Warning: Rigid Standards by Laelia West
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story (62 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Silver-spooned Portia Ward is getting her degree to start a life free from her mother’s stipulations. She doesn’t need additional complications. Maybe a casual one-night stand now and then. Nothing intimate, nothing close.

It is in your best interest to speak with prescription free cialis your parents of your intentions. Have you tried non-surgical ED treatment like viagra shipping? Any kind of surgery can upset a normal human being. Often using Kamagra can lead to generic super cialis some side effects which can damage their health as well as intimate relationships. It is a natural herbal treatment sold in a somewhat safe time-released caplet. generico viagra on line The economics major in her history class disagrees. Portia hates Malik on sight: he’s tall, arrogant, and wears sunglasses indoors for no reason. He has a comeback for everything. His clothes don’t quite sit right. And who wears all black in the heat? When he asks her on a date, she’s so irked by his blasé confidence that she agrees.

Then she catches glimpses of Malik’s other side. The one who wants to study music theory. The one who apologizes by baking cheesecake. The one who won’t touch her until she asks. He has one rule: he doesn’t do casual. If Portia wants more, she’ll have to compromise her rigid standards.

Portia knew she was the spoiled rich kid of a powerful CEO mother – but more and more lately she wished her mother actually cared about her and her life. With zero maternal instinct the only person in Portia’s life who cared about her was her best friend, Candice. After yet another emotionless monthly call, Portia goes to the gym to blow off some steam. Well used to many of the entitled, overly confidant men at the gym making the wrong assumptions about her, Portia has no idea why one man in particular – Malik – gets under her skin. She knows he’s completely unsuitable for her, but yet something still draws her to him.

I found this to be an interesting and well-paced story. I was really pleased Portia and Malik verbally sparred for a while before settling together as this helped the quickness of their getting together feel a lot more realistic and relatable to me. I wasn’t sure if Portia’s antagonism toward Malik would sit right with me – she made an awful lot of snap judgments about him that I wasn’t too keen on – but Malik’s smooth and confidant manner balanced Portia’s judgy antagonism pretty well to my mind and I ended up not wanting to beat my head on the desk over her rudeness. I felt at times that Portia’s dislike of Malik was portrayed as a little too strong to make it believable that her dislike of him could be overcome by her physical and sexual attraction him. I mean, why agree to go on a date with a guy you’ve spent almost the entire first half of the book castigating to the reader? There was clearly attraction and chemistry under the annoyance, but I felt this could have been a little better balanced as Portia’s vitriol to Malik appeared stronger than her curiosity or attraction to him.

Once Malik and Portia went on their date I just disconnected my brain, ignored logic and simply relaxed into the story and enjoyed it for what it was – a love/hate style of romance. While I enjoyed the story a lot more once I stopped taking it so seriously, I found the ending to be particularly steamy. I feel it definitely rounded out the story but there was an extremely interesting twist in the last few pages that clearly showed the reader both that there will be a following story and a lot more to come. Readers who want something that definitively stands alone might not be satisfied with this ending with the tease about what’s coming next, but I personally felt it added a whole new aspect to the story and was a little disappointed that the author left it until the last few moments of the story to add this new element in. I feel it could have really made the story a whole lot better and more rounded if this element been added and explored within this story. I feel I would have enjoyed it much more for that but it has certainly whetted my appetite for the next installment.

With interesting – and antagonistic – characters and a really good, steamy sex scene towards the end I feel this short story will hit the right notes for a number of people.

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