My name is Kimberly and I'm the reader/reviewer behind Wit and Sin. Wit and Sin is a website that provides honest reviews and publicity. I primarily read and review Romance titles, but I also review Urban Fantasy, New Adult, Young Adult, Mystery, and Non-Fiction titles. In addition to Wit and Sin, I am a reviewer for Joyfully Reviewed (pen name: Shayna) and Romance Junkies (pen name: Lily).
It’s rare to read a book that is incredibly smart, supremely sexy, and wonderfully human, but Off the Clock is all those things and more. Roni Loren’s first Pleasure Principle novel is a complex, interesting, emotional, decadently erotic romance that will both satisfy you and leave you begging for more.
It’s pure chance that Marin Rush meets Donovan West late one night in the psychology building her freshman year of college. What follows is the most stimulating – intellectually and otherwise – week of her life. I love that Ms. Loren shows how Donovan and Marin meet. Getting to know their younger, sweeter selves is crucial to their story. Already when we meet Marin she has been shouldering far more responsibility than an eighteen year old should have. With everything she’s been through in her home life, it’s a miracle that she isn’t hardened, but is rather a bright, eager, utterly charming young woman. As for Donovan, he too has known pain, and bears psychological scars because of it. It’s easy to see why Marin is drawn to him; even as a young man Donovan is compelling. He’s sensual, slightly nerdy, and is genuinely open and excited about his studies. Their attraction to one another is undeniable, and it’s easy to be swept up in their late-night meetings. Then Marin’s world comes crashing down around her, ending her time with Donovan before they can truly begin something.
Though Donovan and Marin’s first week together sets the stage, the vast majority ofOff the Clock takes place nine years later. Marin has just taken a job as a sex therapist at The Grove, an exclusive, experimental therapy institute. Marin has never wanted to do clinical work, but she needs the job and the money to help her brother with his college tuition. What she doesn’t expect to learn is that her new mentor is none other than her college one-night stand. When Marin and Donovan meet again, their attraction reignites in an instant. But they aren’t the people they once were, and their lives and jobs make things even more complicated now. Though they initially think the past should stay in the past, it soon becomes clear that Marin’s sexual inexperience is a detriment to her work. The assignments Donovan gives her to make her more comfortable with her job are not only X-rated, they’re far more fun when done with a partner, which is when Off the Clock really heats up. Marin and Donovan have incredible chemistry and the sexual tension between them makes the pages of the book practically smolder. When they give into temptation for some off-the-clock fun, Ms. Loren’s talent for penning wickedly erotic scenarios becomes clear.
The heat Donovan and Marin generate is undeniable, but it’s the characters themselves who are the heart and soul of the book. Donovan has become cynical since Marin first met him. He doesn’t believe in the idea of soulmates, closes himself off from others, and is as talented a therapist as he is a terrible prospect for a partner. I loved peeling back the layers to Donovan’s character, and with each new aspect of his life I saw, my heart broke more for him. He’s a smart man, skilled and giving in his profession, and has an undeniable sex appeal. But underneath is a man who needs help, and perhaps because of their initial connection only Marin sees the true him. As for Marin, she’s a brilliant mix of intelligence, courage, determination, and vulnerability. Unlike Donovan, she has faced her past and acknowledges her fears, making her an incredibly strong heroine, one who doesn’t back down from anyone. Because she’s had to take so much on her shoulders from such a young age, she’s sexually inexperienced. That doesn’t mean she’s clueless; far from it. What she lacks is practical knowledge, so to speak, and her erotic discoveries are both sexy and entertaining.
Off the Clock is undeniably erotic, but that’s not enough to make it a stellar read in my mind. What takes this story to the next level is the intellectual and emotional connections Marin and Donovan have. They are each other’s equal in every way, and watching them become friends and colleagues is every bit as entertaining as seeing them become lovers. I was invested in Off the Clock because the hero and heroine are such multi-faceted, flawed, human characters. Marin and Donovan grow as characters and as a couple over the course of the book and the result is a refreshingly open, emotional, memorable romance. Add in a cast of endearing, fascinating secondary characters that make the world of The Grove come alive and you have one heck of a story. I absolutely loved Off the Clock and I cannot wait for the next Pleasure Principle tale!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.