The Proposal - Katie Ashley Warning: I hid this review because there are SPOILERS. Lots and lots of SPOILERS for this book and its crappy yet slightly better predecessor, [b:The Proposition|16062211|The Proposition|Katie Ashley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1355433171s/16062211.jpg|21850432]. Do not read below if you don't want to be SPOILED. Also, GIFs and swears. >:D

At the end of my review of The Proposition, I wrote the following: Sadly, I doubt I'll be buying the next book in the series. I have no desire to read another verbose description of why Emma and Aidan really shouldn't procreate. That poor baby. That was a good plan. I want to go back to the past and give myself a hearty pat on the shoulder for making such a great decision. Really, Past Me was SMART.

Then a friend dared me to read The Proposal, and curiosity won out over common sense. Thanks, Present Me and your shitty impulse control!

The Proposal picks up a few weeks after the end of The Proposition. Baby-crazed preggers Emma is still blocking out Aidan after catching him about to do teh sexxors with another woman. Instead of taking part in a normal and healthy break-up, though, Emma's still hanging out with Aidan's dad and sisters and telling them what an asshole Aidan is. Naturally, everyone is catering to Emma's numerous irrational whims because she's the most annoying pregnant character ever and also a Mary Sue. Yep. Mary. Sue. I went there.

In the meantime, Aidan's moping around his fancy house, drinking himself into a stupor and doing this:

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You're too good for this, Jensen, but your pretty crying comforts me.

I didn't mind Aidan in the last book, but for this one, he must have taken some lessons at the Drama Princess Academy. What a wet blanket. The loud and proud womanizer of The Proposition is now a groveling, pouting woobie who manages to blame all of his asshattery on the actions of one EBIL WOMANZ. Indeed, it's revealed that the "only" reason Aidan's a commitment-phobic cheater is because his other one true love got pregnant with his baby by using her trickster feminine wiles. No, I'm not referring to Emma. This is another woman from years ago. She lost the baby in a car accident. Aidan blames himself. It's all very sad.

It's hard for me to describe how much I dislike the "One woman broke my heart YEARS ago, so all other women are WHORES and UNWORTHY OF MY LOVE" trope. It's SO lazy. I'll just let Dean Winchester express it for me:

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He's so beautiful.

But now that Aidan's royally screwed over his REAL one true love Emma, he wants to prove he can be a better man. He wants to win her back because of love and babies and stuff. Also, Emma seems to be taking his family hostage, so he has to win his way back into her good graces. If not, where will he eat on Christmas day?

And then a little bit of tomfoolery happens, followed by a Happily Ever After at the halfway mark, followed by SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX.

You see, Emma, despite her claims of wanting to be pregnant since FOREVER, gets herself all worked up over the dwama in her life. Because she wants to be treated like Queen Speshul Snowflake: Preggers Edition and uses pregnancy as an excuse for just about everything in the story, I figured Emma would know that stress can cause pre-term labor, miscarriage, or other complications. But no. She just leaped into the stress like Michael Phelps into an Olympic swimming pool. When she's ordered to go on bed-rest for two weeks, Emma chooses the least Zen option ever by MOVING IN WITH AIDAN, a man she HATES (for the moment). Sure, it's super nice for Aidan to want to take care of her while she's in need. But really, Emma? The extra stress of putting up with Aidan's sad puppy dog eyes and remembering on a daily basis how he fucked you over (by practically fucking another woman) is good for the baby ... how, exactly?

The baby has a name, too. Months before it's born. Noah. They talk about Noah a lot.

In the meantime, Emma entertains the idea of dating a doctor who hit on her while she was in the ER. Professional ethics are very relaxed in this book's world. He comes over to Aidan's house to visit her a few times on sorta/kinda dates. He even does a check-up on her at one point, bringing along what I can only assume is an obscenely expensive portable ultrasound machine, even though he is in no way an OB/GYN. IDK, his name is Pesh, he's a doctor, and he flies a plane. So Aidan's supposed to be threatened by him.

Emma's pregnancy hormones are the third star of this novel. She talks about them constantly and blames them for everything. Every time Emma cries, she's all, "It's my pregnancy hormones!" Apparently, Emma forgot that readers have memories. She cried at the drop of a hat BEFORE SHE WAS PREGNANT in the last book. At one point, Aidan walked into HIS office to find her sobbing uncontrollably because she got her period. So no, Emma, you don't act like an hysterical mess because you're pregnant. You act like one because you ARE one.

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Poor baby.

At the halfway mark of the story, Emma and Aidan kiss, make up, say their I LOVE YOUS, and become those nauseating people who rub noses and talk about how loving their love is for their love while they're making love. If it had ended there, this could have gotten 2 or 3 stars. But it does NOT end there. Instead, it appears that the author added the fan fiction she created for her own work to this publication. Everything is chronicled - their engagement, their wedding, their honeymoon, their perfect home life, Noah's birth, their life with Noah after the birth. There's even an opportunity for Pesh to take Aidan for a ride in his plane! Now let's check out a curtain call for all of the peripheral characters we never cared about in the first place! This shit wouldn't. fucking. end.

In the course of 50 pages, I counted 5 consecutive sex scenes. They all went the same. And of course, each time they have sex, Emma's all, "OMGZ! My pregnancy hormones make me want to do the sexxorz, like, all the time! I want to have all the sex!" And Aidan's like, "OMGZ, I love you so much. You're beautiful even though you're fat and pregnant." And I was like:

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I don't know why I don't enjoy reading about people after the happily ever after. Maybe because actual conflict makes a story? But the second half of this book is straight-up boring and pointless. Perhaps, PERHAPS, she could have added the birth of Noah to an epilogue. Instead, words are cranked out and nothing happens. You know what would have made sense? If the first book and the first half of the second book had been released as one publication. That's a whole story with a well-rounded plot. I suppose money calls for sequel-bait, though, so we get one story in The Proposition and half a story in The Proposal.

Other things that bothered me:
1. A fuckload of telling instead of showing
2. Inane, boring dialogue
3. "Jokes"
4. Frequent grammatical errors and typos - This wasn't a big problem in the first book. I actually noted that Katie Ashley has some promise as a writer. So what happened here? Was there a big rush to publication? The Proposal needs WAY more editing than it got.
5. Emma calls Aidan Big Papa. I can't deal with that.

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Neither can Dean.