Camilla can set her watch by her hunky rocket-scientist neighbor who jogs past her window each day. She relishes each glimpse of his shirtless abs, and is dying to see more. But it’s hard to connect with a man who doesn’t seem to know she exists…
Ivan feels at home in the lab, not in social situations. When he finally approaches his attractive neighbor, it’s not for a date—he wants tutoring in how to behave at an important fundraiser. But before long their explosive chemistry leads Ivan to propose a few private lessons of his own.
Cami soon discovers Ivan’s schedule isn’t the only thing he likes to be strict about—he needs to be charge in the bedroom as well. She’s shocked at how much she comes to enjoy her submissive side, but wonders if a real relationship is in the equation…
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
I discovered Dryden through her short story “Safeword” in Agony/Ecstasy edited by Jane Litte. I really enjoyed reading it so when I was browsing Netgalley and realized that she had a book coming out from Carina I had to request it. In a funny coincidence one of my fellow pushers, Lou, had also requested The Theory of Attraction. I didn’t realize it until after she had drafted her review because I was in the midst of moving so instead of trying to juggle things around on the calendar I just decided to wait for a while before I did my review.
I happen to have a soft spot for geeks not just from my misspent youth but also because the thought of all that intellect applied in a certain direction, oh yeah… I have to say that Dryden certainly provided that and more. Both Cami and Ivan were fleshed out by their interactions with supporting characters were very entertaining. I about died laughing when Cami and Ivan were trying to have their very first lesson and they were thwarted by the typical neighborhood dynamic. So then when Ivan called Cami to tell her exactly how they could manage to have their next lesson without unexpected guest I thought he was so cute. He has certainly spent some time and effort into pulling together what would work, when and why.
As I learned things about Ivan from his conversations and actions with Cami it was very easy to see how he turned out the way he did. I found it pretty interesting that he was socially aware enough to realize that he needed to make some changes when he found out that his job was threatened. He was also very good at reading people when he turned on a certain aspect of his personality that was usually neatly compartmentalized and only brought it out in certain situations. It made perfect sense that Ivan needed to find a way to deal with people without having to wade through layers of social politeness and meaningless words and phrases. I also really liked that he insisted Cami explain the ‘why’ when he had done or said something wrong so that way he could learn.
Cami was harder to get to know in certain areas. She never really opened up to Ivan except for sexually until he insisted in learning how he had hurt her feelings so he could fix it. She did have a very creative way of demonstrating and then explaining her lessons on social interaction so Ivan was able to learn them. One of the things I wished I had learned was the back-story behind her career in programming since she majored in a very human interaction intensive area in college. Even with her academic background it seemed like she was more content to observe and interact on the fringes then really invest herself. I think some of that was why she was able to accept Ivan’s dominate side as easily as she did.
Speaking of that I enjoyed their personal interactions together. I thought it was extremely sweet of Ivan to keep himself on as tight a leash as he did despite Cami’s provocative dress and behavior. He gave her every chance to decide if she really wanted to learn what he did that wasn’t part of his daily routine that she was aware of. And even then he took things slowly explaining every step along with some of the ‘why’ behind the steps. Once again I found that Dryden has a very deft hand when writing her sex scenes. They draw the reader in because the hero and heroine were both fully invested in their activities. They never seemed extraneous but integral to the story.
Overall I enjoyed reading The Theory of Attraction. Normally I get upset if there isn’t a groveling scene but in this case I think the misunderstanding was legitimate on both sides and I loved how Ivan worked to figure out what the problem was and then how to solve it. I liked how Ivan was able to adjust his daily routine slightly as he grew more comfortable and attracted to Cami yet he never lost the essence of who he was. Unfortunately I never got a similar sense for Cami even during their misunderstanding. As a result I was glad that this seemed to be a HFN relationship instead of a HEA relationship.
I give The Theory of Attraction a B-