Book Review: Taint by S.L. Jennings

Right now, you’re probably asking yourself two things:
Who am I?
And, what the hell are you doing here?

Let’s start with the most obvious question, shall we?

You’re here, ladies, because you can’t f*ck.

Oh, stop it. Don’t cringe. No one under the age of 80 clutches their pearls.
You might as well get used to it, because for the next six weeks, you’re going to hear that word a lot. And you’re going to say it a lot.
Go ahead, try it out on your tongue.
F*ck. F***ck.

Ok, good. Now where were we?

If you enrolled yourself in this program then you are wholly aware that you’re a lousy lay. Good for you. Admitting it is half the battle.

For those of you that have been sent here by your husband or significant other, dry your tears and get over it. You’ve been given a gift, ladies. The gift of mind-blowing, wall-climbing, multiple-orgasm-inducing sex. You have the opportunity to f*ck like a porn star. And I guarantee, you will when I’m done with you.

And who am I?

Well, for the next six weeks, I will be your lover, your teacher, your best friend, and your worst enemy. Your every-f*cking-thing. I’m the one who is going to save your relationship and your sex life.

I am Justice Drake.
And I turn housewives into whores.

Now…who’s first?

After reading that blurb and those three little words on the cover, "sexual education novel", you might be tempted to think that this is one of those sex-scene-after-sex-scene books. False. This story actually goes above and beyond that! Author S.L. Jennings has written something that is intriguing, provocative, and yet...sweet and totally lovable! Housewives of the rich and famous are brought to a remote location to be trained in the art of seduction. For one particular housewife, though, the teacher goes a little bit off the itinerary. ;)

From "Day One", I rolled around in glee over Justice Drake's point of view! It was a slick blend of sharp, sardonic lines and his more sincere, reflective thoughts. He could be quick witted, articulate...poetic, even...and then he could turn around and be completely lascivious!
"You don't satisfy your husband sexually, which is why he wants to cheat on you, if he hasn't already. You may be a fantastic wife, mother, homemaker, whatever, but you are a lousy lover."

A slow smile unfurls across my face. "I'm going to teach you how to fuck your husband."
His "lessons" were meant to enlighten, to amuse, to arouse. (You know you're enjoying the pure genius of a POV when you are highlighting EV-ER-Y-THING!) When Justice Drake steps into teacher mode? His words are like an erotic lullaby. They just hypnotize you to turn you on or to make you nod along in agreement at his brilliance. *fans self*
"Feed the beast, ladies, and it'll come to you every time it's hungry."
Allison "Ally" Elliot-Carr, is the wife of womanizing socialite Evan Carr and one of Justice Drake's newest pupils. Is she a pathetic Stepford wife? Just another dim personality? Ah, quite the opposite. She openly defies and challenges Justice as soon as the program starts. Along with her natural, non-surgery-enhanced beauty, this fiery redhead gains his attention. He finds her real and charming...not at all like the pretentious housewives that he's worked with in the past and that he's grown to expect. I enjoyed her quirkiness as much as he did, and I loved her candid, straightforward opinions.
She turns to me, pinning me with those haunted, ocean irises. "We're all just trophies. Shiny, plastic, useless trophies. Exciting at first, but we have no real purpose other than attesting to someone else's grand achievements."

I tilt my head to one side thoughtfully, my eyes trained on anything but her and those sad eyes. "A diversion--something pretty to distract from the real turmoil festering just beneath the surface."

She nods but asks, "Is that how you see me?"

I lift my gaze to hers and find her expression filled with genuine curiosity--not anger or hurt. I shake my head. "No. Not you."
Quite frankly, there were some adorable scenes that caught me off guard. (Hint: Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream and Friends!) It was always comical whenever he'd actually scold himself for crushing on her. He would slip and admit to liking something about her, to wanting her...There was spontaneous humor in those moments.
There she goes again. Subtly complimenting me and making me blush like a prepubescent fangirl. I hate it. I love it. I don't know what to make of it.
I laughed a lot more than I expected to, period! They had such down-to-earth, make-me-smile conversations. Just talking. Although most of their interactions were spiked with sexual tension, they still just enjoyed each other's company. Certain things are expected of them in the upper-class world that they live in, but with each other, they can drop their masks. I love when there is genuine companionship between the two main characters!

As a result...The anticipation was killerrr!!! Every loaded word, or look, passed between them. The brevity. The fleeting moment. Like I said...The level of anticipation was insanely high! The trembling-with-lust level. ;)
There is nothing between us now but air, opportunity, and forgotten obligations. I don't care about any of it. With one hand gripping her back and the other tracing her lips, all the rules and boundaries just fall away.
I loved reading those moments when he realized he was in so deep. He was so into her. But on the other side of it, it was interesting to hear the confusion in his thoughts, the temptation he struggled with. All of that time they spent together? Hello, she's still marriiiiiied. *squirms*

He didn't quite feel like he deserved her. It made me Hmmm a little bit because I could tell that he was also hiding something else, something he dreaded will happen eventually. The red flags, with angst written all over them, were waving in full force...
I'm not sure whether I should be pissed at her for giving me false hope or be contented by the fact that she wants me in her life. But when I look at her, so happy--happy with me--I can't feel anything but grateful for the charade, even though it will kill me when the curtain closes.
Ultimately, was all of the suspense and buildup worth it? Did *that* mind-numbingly good climax get to happen?? The one that allows you to savor the satisfaction, makes you forget that he had a job to do and she's a very married client??? *MEEEEP* Well, I guess you'll have to read this book and find out on your own. :P

I will say, for any readers that have a problem with cheating in a storyline...Personally, I could understand how it all led up to this. Her husband is a womanizing jerk, afterall. Awful. I felt no sympathy for him. Still, I squirmed a bit as I read through Justice and Ally getting tangled up in one another...and I couldn't help it! If I'm going to hate Evan for being unfaithful, how am I supposed to be okay with it for her, right?? But...but...Justice! *sigh*
I want to ask her what she's doing, but I'm too afraid she'll stop. I just want her to touch me, even if it is a lie.
In his most desperate and vulnerable moment, I felt for Justice. I really did. Even though I knew that she was married, my fluttering book-heart still felt for him and rooted for *them*. I got the sense that things were just different. Better. They found something special together.

Oh, but before I could get too comfortable, the author had one last shocker...One. Big. Bomb...I actually shrieked a WHAT?! at my Kindle! (I actually squealed just now, remembering this scene!) It was when I realized how much I even appreciated the chapter titles. "Eruption" was a perfect way to describe that particular development in the story! It was deliciously crazy/jaw dropping/scandalous good!
The fallout left me begging for more Ally and Justice! When the book ended, I still had questions...those tiny little thoughts of "How..." and "So, then..." Not because I was confused, but because I was being detail-greedy. ;) It's that feeling you get when you're not quite ready to let go of a story! I fell in total book-love with Justice Drake and the outstanding voice that author S.L. Jennings gave him, the evolution of his relationship with Ally was a compelling one, and Taint was so, so, sooo much fun to read!
"I am Justice Drake," I state smugly without apology. It's a promise and an omen, gift-wrapped in two little words."