The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Helen Hoang’s debut novel is a delightful albeit racy love story featuring a leading lady with Aspberger’s.  BookPage named it the number one romance from  2018.  Hoang was only recently diagnosed, at the age of 34, as being on the Autism spectrum and Stella’s character is modeled after herself.

The plot is a “gender-swapped Pretty Woman”, in the author’s own words, and who doesn’t love that movie?  Stella is a very successful, econometrician who is autistic and struggles with relationships.  Under pressure from her mother to find a boyfriend, she hatches a plan to practice her relationship (and bedroom skills) with Michael Phan, a tailor by day and male escort by night.  Michael is moonlighting to pay his mother’s medical bills amidst a scandal involving his father who fled, leaving the family penniless thanks to some investment scams.   Despite his policy to not get involved with clients, Michael is drawn to Stella. 

Michael and Stella have great chemistry together which adds genuine emotional depth to several extended intimate scenes. This is most certainly a modern day bodice-ripper but doesn’t veer so far as to fall into the erotic romance genre. It’s a light read but offers a solid enough story to satisfy and a happily ever after, of course.  Hoang’s second title, The Bride Test, arrives on May 7th and features Michael’s cousin Kai who is autistic.

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