💙 I read this for the Unapologetic Romance Readers' New Years 2018 Reading Challenge, for the category of: Enemies to Lovers. For more info on this challenge, click here. 💙
I haven't posted a #StealthRead review in forever, and I'm absolutely thrilled that the honor goes to AFTER THE NIGHT - a book I've been wanting to read for years and lived up to all of my trashy expectations. One of my friends' one-star reviews for this book was actually the impetus for getting me to buy this. She said the hero was an obsessive creep who was lusting after the heroine when she was still basically a child. "That's f***ed up," I said to myself, while counting out dollar bills from my Kate Spade wallet. "I'll take it!"
AFTER THE NIGHT is definitely f***ed up. It takes place in Louisiana. Faith Devlin and her family are the local "trash," living in a shack at the grace of the Rouillard family because Renee Devlin is the go-to bedwarmer for Guy Rouillard, the richest man in town. One day, Renee and Guy abscond, and the oldest son Gray, in a fit of pique, evicts the rest of the Devlin from the shack, having the cops throw all their possessions in the street while threatening to torch the place. Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Faith is scrambling around in a transparent nightie and all the cops and Gray are ogling the hell out of her and going DAT ASS.
It's super disturbing. I hated Gray for that. What a disgusting pig. I wanted to read more.
Cut to 10+ years later and Faith ("RED HEADS HAVE NO FUN") Hardy, nee Devlin, has made something of herself, and strolls back into her hometown to rub her designer clothes and professional career into all of the people who called her "trash." On the one hand, you go girl. But on the other hand, there's also a lot of "the rest of my family might be trashy hoes, but I'm not! Praise me for living up to the puritanical standards society sets for women!" and that's a no go, girl. Don't judge.
Meanwhile, Gray ("THEY HAVEN'T BUILT A CONDOM BIG ENOUGH") Rouillard is managing all of his family's affairs and has taken over his father's position as richest man in town. When he's not pooping $100 bills out of his muscular, ex-quarterback rear-end, he's protecting his delicate mother and sister from anything indecent. I swear to God, Monica and Noelle are so stereotypical that I have expected one of them to fall into a swoon while muttering something about "the vapors."
Gray plans on running Faith out of town yet again, but the little Gray (or not-so-little-Gray, IYKWIM) in his pants has different ideas, and let's just say that HORSES aren't the only thing that Gray rides without a saddle in this book, IYKWIM. Come on, guys. My eye is getting sore from all this winking. CAVEMAN SEX. Gray is literally so alpha that it hurts, and the sex scenes are alternately hot as hell and weird AF, with lines like "Anglo-Saxon sex words"and "jackhammering". "Anglo-Saxon sex words" is especially hilarious to me because last year I buddy-read a vampire romance with my friend Heather, also from the 90s, called FOREVER AND THE NIGHT, which involved the phrase "pleading, in stark Anglo-Saxon terms." Maybe this is a thing.
God this was fun. The writing was pretty bad, but the story was like an HBO miniseries. Soap opera drama, brutish alpha males, archaic gender stereotypes, rough sex, and a murder "mystery" that was maybe one level above Scooby Doo in terms of overall execution and sophistication. I loved every second of it. If you enjoy the romps of vintage romance WTFery, definitely pick up this book.
3.5 out of 5 stars