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The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Romance

The Kiss Quotient

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Each year thousands of members vote for our Book of the Year award—congrats to The Kiss Quotient!

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Helen Hoang, on your first book!

by Helen Hoang

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Quick take

A math whiz with Asperger's finds there's no simple equation when it comes to learning how to love.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional

    Emotional

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Happy

    Happy

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Quirky

    Quirky

Synopsis

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases—a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with and way less experience in the dating department than the average 30 year old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: She needs lots of practice—with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan—from foreplay to more-than-missionary position …

As Michael and Stella’s no-nonsense partnership takes them out of the bedroom and into a full-time practice relationship, being together starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic ...

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Kiss Quotient.
The Kiss Quotient

{CHAP+ER} 1

“I know you hate surprises, Stella. In the interests of communicating our expectations and providing you a reasonable timeline, you should know we’re ready for grandchildren.”

Stella Lane’s gaze jumped from her breakfast up to her mother’s gracefully aging face. A subtle application of makeup drew attention to battle-​­ready, coffee-​­colored eyes. That boded ill for Stella. When her mother got something into her mind, she was like a honey badger with a vendetta—pugnacious and tenacious, but without the snarling and fur.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Stella said.

Shock gave way to rapid-​­fire, panic-​­scrambled thoughts. Grandchildren meant babies. And diapers. Mountains of diapers. Exploding diapers. And babies cried, soul-​­grating banshee wails that even the best sound-​­canceling headphones couldn’t buffer. How did they cry so long and hard when they were so little? Plus, babies meant husbands. Husbands meant boyfriends. Boyfriends meant dating. Dating meant sex. She shuddered.

“You’re thirty, Stella dear. We’re concerned that you’re still single. Have you tried Tinder?”

She grabbed her water and gulped down a mouthful, accidentally swallowing an ice cube. After clearing her throat, she said, “No. I haven’t tried it.”

The very thought of Tinder—and the corresponding dating it aimed to deliver—caused her to break out in a sweat. She hated everything about dating: the departure from her comfortable routine, the conversation that was by turns inane and baffling, and again, the sex . . .

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Why I love it

In the past, I have been that reader who thinks herself “above” the romance genre. I had this misconception that cool kids don’t read romance. But recently, books like The Kiss Quotient are showing me what I've been missing. Not only is this book well-written and free of cliches, but bonus: It’s an own-voices perspective—in other words, it’s a story with a diverse cast of characters written by a diverse author. The author drew on her own experiences with autism to write a heartfelt book about a woman with autism, and the result was so winning I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

Stella is an autistic, phenomenally successful econometrician (a.k.a. math genius) who doesn’t have a lot of sexual experience. After being teased at work about this, she decides to hire an escort to teach her a few bedroom tricks. Enter Michael, a consummate professional (and total cutie). The relationship isn’t meant to be anything other than transactional. But, as you might have guessed, that plan quickly goes off the rails …

This is one of those books where the characters are the main selling point—Stella and Michael’s relationship is steamy, yes, but supportive too. They’re regular humans who have a lot to discover about each other and themselves, and their story shows that it’s always worth it to bet on romance. I’m just glad I bet on this book!

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Member ratings (21,293)

  • Taylor N.

    Ocean City, NJ

    Such a sweet story! I’m not a huge fan of the common romance trope the author used in this book but because of how Stella’s mind works, I think the trope fit perfectly into the story. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ LOVE!

  • Tavya S.

    Glen Cove, NY

    Absolutely ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. I can’t say enough amazing things about this beautiful book!! This is hands down the most touching, sweet (yet very steamy), heartfelt romance I’ve read to date. A must read!!

  • Maggie W.

    Saint Paul, MN

    As a person on the autism spectrum, it’s hard to find good fiction novels with autistic MC’s. I’m now determined to read all the books by this author! A great addition to any bookshelf! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Poppy E.

    Traverse City, MI

    Not always the best writing, but what an awesome love story. I loved learning a bit about what Stella does for work - this novel could inspire a few career changes while it’s at it. Very sweet⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Meredith B.

    San Antonio, TX

    My review: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I cannot say enough great things about this book and @hhoangwrites She is amazing to come forward and write a book about a disorder that so many people label. Bravo!!!!!!

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