Book Review: Gentleman Sinner by Jodi Ellen Malpas

I haven’t read this genre for such a long time, but decided I fancied a change from psychological thrillers when I spotted the book on sale in ASDA.

Izzy White finds herself in danger one evening when, while walking home from work, she is confronted by an assailant after she goes to the aid of an injured prostitute. The notorious and wildly attractive Theo Kane swoops to her rescue, and the flame of attraction between them is instant.

The story begins so promisingly, although a little far-fetched, with the swoon-worthy Theo basically stalking Izzy both at home and in Las Vegas, when she jets off on a girls holiday with her friend and roommate Jess. He appears to be utterly obsessed with Izzy, and the feeling is mutual.

But Theo has issues. He cannot handle being touched after a traumatic childhood filled with abuse at the hands of his father. Izzy, in her turn, is recovering from a rape ten years earlier. Although they both want to be together, neither is willing to confront their demons and give their relationship a real chance.

From here, things get increasingly messy, and Theo becomes a bit of a liability, in all honesty. First of all, Izzy loses her job and the respect of her manager, after Theo loses his temper catastrophically at the hospital. Then, he (unwittingly, I might add) invites her rapist to his club to incite a reaction from her. When this plan fails drastically, he punches her in the face when she unexpectedly touches him.

This in itself is bad enough. But it gets worse. Instead of apologising, he goes on to kill her rapist after beating him to a pulp.

It doesn’t stop there. When Izzy needs him the most, he takes the self-pitying route and does a runner!

Of course, there is a happy ending, but the ridiculousness of the plot lead to the 3-star review. Other than that, it is well-written and will probably appeal to fans of the genre.

Personally, I was also hoping for better sex scenes. While being restrained is hot, a lack of foreplay isn’t! But that’s just me. 🤷🏻‍♀️

5 Tips For Staying Single (The Definitive Guide To Being Weird And Alone)

There are lots and lots of posts out there giving relationship advice, or “how to find love.” Some of us, however, don’t want to find love, date, be in a relationship, or even speak to the opposite sex, or anybody for that matter.

So what are the best ways to put men, or women, off you completely? I have to admit, I am an expert in this. Following on from a few dating disasters, and just everyday life working with idiots, I decided to give up on my love life completely, and have been steadily building sky-high walls ever since that nobody is ever going to consider scaling.

But do I never get lonely? Actually, no. I love my own company and have become strangely addicted to my drama-free life. If I want adult company then I can always initiate it, but why bother when I can spend time alone.

Don’t I miss being with someone? Nah, not really. I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m quite an odd person who needs a lot of time to herself, and other people don’t always understand this. It has taken me a fair few years of relentlessly pushing people away to achieve this level of contentment and I’m not giving it up for anyone.

Sounds miserable and spinster-ish? Well yeah, I suppose it is to some people, but not to me. I can do what I want, when I want, with who I want – or with nobody, which is even better.

Here are my five pointers to putting people off you completely.

  1. Consistently ignore all attempts at communication via phone, email, WhatsApp, Facebook, whatever. In the end, they will get the message.
  2. If you notice somebody keeps throwing you one too many glances or trying to strike up a conversation, just start acting like they don’t exist. Yep, completely blank them. Unless they are some kind of persistent weirdo, they will give up sooner or later.
  3. Be deliberately foul or argumentative to the opposite sex. And never smile. Surefire way to put people off.
  4. Argue with yourself in public. This is a tad extreme but works wonders. Who wants to associate with the crazy freak who screams at herself in front of other people?
  5. Stop washing. Also extreme, but I assume it would work. I haven’t ever had to resort to this because my resting bitch face is enough to put the bravest of people off, but it’s certainly an option.

Good luck out there! And remember:

Remember, Remember, the 7th Of November..

Okay, I know that isn’t how it goes. But I do tend to remember the 7th of November, every year since 2015. It is the birthday of the last guy I dated, and the last guy who hurt me.

One and the same, might I add. Another reason why I lost faith in relationships, and dating, or anything that involved a member of the opposite sex.

Let’s rewind a bit.

So, I’ve always been a romantic at heart. After a trail of disastrous mistakes and a couple of years of abstinence while my heart recovered, I decided to bite the bullet and try out this Tinder lark.

Yes, if I was me reading this knowing what I know now, I would be laughing too upon reading that.

Tinder. Home of fuckboys and casual hook-ups.

But I didn’t know this. Naively, I believed that there were genuine people out there who were also signing up for Tinder in the search for a relationship.

They must have seen me coming a mile off.

Fresh-faced and filled with hope, I enthusiastically embarked on a spate of swiping left and right, and eventually matched with Jedi.

Obviously not his real name, but anyway.

Jedi was a few years older than me, with a dog and a teenage daughter, both of whom he doted on. Sounded perfect, right?

Over the next few months after our initial date, he led me a merry dance. Naively, I had believed his initial ‘confession’ about looking for a relationship, and I allowed myself to be led. I was an idiot. He wasn’t interested in me. He wasn’t interested in a relationship. He was only interested in collecting a variety of women to boost his ego and keep his options open.

But I had set my cap at him, and I am nothing if not tenacious. When he ‘admitted’ to being flattered by a woman who chased, I obliged. When he said he was scared of getting close to anyone for fear of being hurt again, I worked hard at showing him how trustworthy I was.

In short, he manipulated me and I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker.

Part of me, the silly part that believed in astrology, and compatible star signs, thought we were destined to be. Scorpio-Cancer, the best match in the zodiac. Apparently.

Not in my experience.

He was just an arse.

The mind games, the other women, the lies. I allowed it all because I believed it was all I was worth.

I wanted to believe that he was a good guy.

Then one day, I opened my eyes and saw it for what it was. A massive joke, and it was on me. I deserved better, no doubt about that.

This was around his birthday, 7th November. I should have listened to my own heart. Scorpio has never been good for me, a sensitive, soft-hearted Cancer crab. They hurt you, and they relish it, and you never even know why.

Or you do, but you can barely accept it because it is so trivial and pathetic.

Not to them though.

Now I’m not going to tar every Scorpio with the same brush. I’m sure there are some lovely Scorp’s out there. But I seem to attract the lowest of the low, the ones who prey on my generosity and then sting me for some imagined slight.

I don’t have time to be second-guessing myself all of the time. I struggle hard not to hurt myself, let alone stepping on egg shells around somebody else. And I don’t have time for pettiness.

On his birthday, as a last resort, I sent him a DVD of a film I knew he adored. He thanked me profusely by text, but it didn’t break down any barriers. Instead, he found himself yet another ‘playmate.’

It was around then that I made the decision to door-slam him. And I did. No texts. No stalking on Facebook. I went cold turkey.

Once I lose interest, I really lose interest. And once I lost interest, he became interested.

Too late. I had already moved on, and was therefore impervious to his ‘charm’. Whether it was real or not, I’ll never know. I didn’t want to find out.

Since then, I have avoided dating at all costs. I don’t trust men, or dating in 2017.

And I don’t trust myself not to get involved with an arsehole again.

I always remember the 7th November though, because two years ago I made a pact with myself on this very date.

To stay single until I learned to love myself, and to understand exactly what I deserved from love and life.

Love.. Not.

Lately, I’ve had love on my mind, which is very unlike me. By love I mean relationships, and not the comfortable, non-dangerous love I have for my son and family. As I swore off the relationships kind of love a few years ago, this is unusual.

“Love is a serious mental illness”, said Plato back in 360 BC, and I am seriously inclined to agree with him.  Although I think he may have called it a disease, but same difference. Socrates backed him up with “Love is a madness”, and these guys knew what they were talking about. Hence me giving the L-word the swerve. Keeps me sane, which is how I like it these days.

So it surprised me to get those old feelings back, that craving for a connection, and I found myself Facebook stalking the last excuse-for-a-man to use my heart as a disposable punching bag. Nothing much had changed there, which was to be expected, and I really wasn’t interested in re-hashing the past. What I was actually missing was not any one person, but the thrill that you experience when you meet someone new, when your heart starts to stir again, as if waking from a deep slumber. When your soul sits up and goes “let’s take another look at this one!” Waiting in anticipation for the next text, and thinking about them in your spare time. Watching indifferently as your sanity slowly slides out of the door.

Yes, it will always come back to that, and I savour my sanity these days. I like being in control of me, and being in love, or even infatuation, is not control.

I know, I sound extremely cynical, and I’ll be alone for the rest of my life at this rate. Blah, blah. I totally realise what I am “missing out on”, but I genuinely think that this is the most sensible I have been in a long time. I lose my shit when I’m into someone, and I don’t want to do that anymore. So I avoid relationships at all costs.

I’m not going to cast doubt on love for everyone, not by any means. I know it works for many; after all, I am surrounded by couples, but it always baffles me somewhat. For me, relationships have never been easy, or particularly happy. Love exhausts me. People exhaust me. Relationships just aren’t for me, and I don’t understand how people make them work. It makes me a little envious at times.

I haven’t come to this conclusion all by myself. I do speak from experience, and said experience is not something I look back on with starry eyes. I’ve been an idiot. I’ve been drawn to the wrong ones, I’ve offered them everything on a plate, and I’ve subsequently been treated like a doormat. My own fault? Maybe, but then if they had been decent men, they wouldn’t have allowed it to happen. They would have treated me with the respect I deserved. 

These days, I prefer to respect myself, and this includes staying away from relationships. I know my weaknesses, and I know that I’m a magnet for narcissistic mummys boys. It’s that old self-esteem thing – I only accept what I think I deserve, and until I’ve healed myself of these thoughts, I will stay single. 

Don’t I miss sex? Of course I do, I’m as red-blooded as the next woman. But I’m also realistic, and old-fashioned. I’m an all-or-nothing type of girl. If I’m having sex with you, I’m having feelings for you. Hook ups and one-night stands just don’t make the grade, but thinking about anything more than that gives me the heebie-jeebies. Intimacy scares me these days, and if I’m not ready for that, then I’m not ready for anything. 

I guess it’s a trust thing. I need to work on that.

So for now, I’ll just stay here, safely hidden away, until I start to love myself.