Claire Kent is one of those authors who is hit and miss for me. I usually either love, love, love her books or I get so bored after 100 pages and I can’t finish them. Because there are some that I enjoy so much, anytime she has a new release, I am all over it. Taking it Off is her latest release and the blurb immediately made me excited.
Can’t get enough Magic Mike? Let bestselling author Claire Kent introduce you to Matt Stokes, the sexy-as-sin male stripper and club owner who knows what it really means to bare everything.
Elizabeth Marks is a preschool teacher and a bit uptight. A say a bit but she is really far more than that.
She had fairly high standards for romantic relationships. She was looking for an educated, attractive professional who would fit into her social circle, wouldn’t be intimidated by her family’s affluence, and was basically moral and upstanding.
She sounds fun, right? She was always taught to do the proper thing. Her father wants her in politics and she has done her best to make her parents happy including caving to most of their wishes. It is just easier for her to go along with what they want than it is to fight with them.
While attending a bachelorette party at a strip club she meets Matt Stokes. Matt is the opposite of what Elizabeth was raised to be but something about him captures her attention. Matt is the owner of the club she is at and notices how uncomfortable and bored she is. Though he has a strict rule to never hook up with the patrons, he can’t resist approaching her. After a couple minutes of talking, Matt challenges Elizabeth to come to his club for one full month and see if her opinion changes about the experience.
This is not something Elizabeth would normally do but she cannot resist Matt and his appeal so every Thursday and Saturday she returns to the club and watches all the performances. Her opinion on the stripping does not change until that moment, each night, when Matt steps out on the stage. Matt has long since stopped performing but what he is doing seems to be the best way to capture Elizabeth’s attention.
And capture her attention he does. Soon Elizabeth and Matt are in a steamy affair that has them having sex quite often. And when I say often, I mean about every other chapter. I am all for sex scenes, I read romance, but there almost came a point in Taking it Off where I wanted some plot resolution and not sex. We have Matt who was raised with an unloving father on the wrong side of the tracks and Elizabeth who is expected to live up to certain standards.
“The life you want doesn’t exist. The real world can never look like that. It’s always hard and dirty and messy and complicated, and it can never fit into any sort of plan.”
Both of them recognize what they have can only be sex, but that is not how things are turning out. After the month is up neither one wants to end their relationship but two traumatic events force their hand. Will they let the outside world take from them what they want so badly or will they figure out a way to be happy and ignore the outside influences around them trying to tear them apart?
Taking it Off I really enjoyed and parts that just got old. When Matt and Elizabeth meet they have an intense sexual connection that is played up by Matt. I was immediately captured by his dialogue and the way he approached Elizabeth. For her part, Elizabeth does not present herself well. The quote above about what she wants in a man is exactly how she first comes across. Eventually, through her interactions with Matt, she loosens up and becomes more likable but it was so going with her.
Overall, the book kept me engaged, for the most part. After a while I started to skim the sex scenes because there were just so many. I wanted to yell at them to talk for a change but that didn’t seem to be in the cards. I didn’t have my normal love or hate reaction with this Claire Kent, it fell right in the middle. Taking it Off will keep the reader’s attention and move quickly but for me, it lacked a bit of depth in the relationship, that I would have liked to see. Final grade- B-
“I want to fuck you. I want to fuck you until you can’t remember your name — and you can’t remember anyone else’s name but mine. I want to show you why you don’t want to be touching anyone’s body but mine.”