Lately I’ve been receiving books with the classic trope of a billionaire looking for a meaningful purpose in his life and the poor girl who fills that need. In this novella we have Kim Davidson, who divorced her abusive husband and is now working three menial jobs in order to support her five-year old son. She lives in her widowed mother’s house, who helps her taking care of her son while she works all her jobs.
Robert Miller is a billionaire in Chicago, mid-twenties, lost his parents three years ago and since then he’s lost himself. He lost his way and is immersed in a world of women, booze and drugs. He’s so bored with his life, with no purpose and meaning, that in order to find excitement in his life, he’s planning to steal a painting that he had already bought, in a gallery, Rive Gauche, that he also owns. I found this part ridiculous, but then I thought, filthy rich people do live an aimless life, so maybe they do need to do stupid stuff for thrills.
On the day of the planned heist, Kim is starting her third job, which was cleaning the gallery at night. There was a party, an exhibit opening, so Kim was waiting for the guests to leave before starting work. The manager, an old school friend, fixed her up and insisted she stay in the party until the end. There she meets Robert, who was also waiting for guests to leave, but for a different purpose. He’s struck with her, found her very different from all the women he had met before. They chat briefly, and agree on the painting she liked best, which was the same one Robert owns and plans to rob. Seems like Kim’s future as Robert’s obsession is cast in this moment.
Later at night, Robert is hiding at the cleaning closet, waiting for the right moment to seize his painting. Kim goes into the closet to pick up cleaning supplies and they have a tryst. A significant detail of that tryst is that Robert ties her hands at the back, which seems to excite him to the point of madness and allows Kim to surrender freely to her desires and forget her drudgery of a life. In all subsequent sex scenes, Robert always ties Kim’s hands behind her back, only to release them when they’re done. It’s a little kinky, no judgements, but also a little strange. Seems he’s not capable of making love any other way.
Even though this is a novella, I felt that the characters were well-developed. I knew Robert and I knew Kim. What I felt lacking was the plot. Kim and Robert meet a couple of times in the closet, then he invites Kim into his world. At that moment, Kim feels like they live in worlds apart and she shouldn’t let him get close to her. He tries to get close but she rejects him. She feels she doesn’t deserve happiness because of her failures. The conflict is based on Kim’s decision on whether to trust on Robert and give herself a chance to be happy. I felt that Robert’s change of mind was fast and a little obsessive. I felt like he relied on his PA too much, and that he was a little immature, as compared to Kim. Then at the end of the book, he was a total grown up. In spite of the short length, it was an entertaining read.