Shannon's Reviews > The Black Widow Trainer

The Black Widow Trainer by Craig Odanovich
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Feb 06, 2011

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bookshelves: first-reads, own

I won the book The Black Widow Trainer, by Craig Odanovich, in a firstreads giveaway on Goodreads. Maybe if I'd read the blurb, I'd have noticed that this was "an erotic adventure novel." Maybe I would have entered to win, maybe not. Anyway, that being said, I still read the book.

Misty is a personal trainer who has grown bored with her lackluster marriage to longtime best friend Rob. After about eight years of not enough passion, she finally understands that she will never love him the way he loves her. Away from her husband for a weekend at a yoga retreat in Maui, she meets "The Man," the one that sets both her body and mind racing. After her one night stand, she returns to Rob.

She confesses to Rob, who is actually understanding about her affair. They agree that she should go back home to Malibu while Rob finishes up his business in Hawaii, and they will discuss their options in a few months. When Rob comes home, Misty has convinced herself that her only options would be trying to stay together and playing her part as a "good wife," or getting divorced. But Rob surprises her with a third option, an open marriage, in which the "don't ask, don't tell" rule applies, but only if the other person involved is "only a fling." He says that he doesn't want to own Misty and wants her to have her freedom, but he loves her too much to lose her completely. Misty finally agrees to this and reminds Rob that if she is to have this freedom, it's only fair that he is able to see other people as well.

Misty has always wanted adventure and travel, and she's very good at her job as a personal trainer, thus the "Black Widow Trainer" is born. She accepts applications and choses her clients based on her own preferences, which include their location and attractiveness, of course. Her contract is for three months of training sessions, and she will sleep with the client only once, if he so chooses. However, once he decides to sleep with her, she delivers the "bite" of the black widow and returns home, and whether it's been a week or two months of training, she is paid in full.

She travels include such places as Ireland, Buenos Aires, Denver, Alaska, New Orleans, and London. As a professional, she tries not to get too attached to her clients, but one does in fact steal a bit of her heart. When she arrives in Buenos Aires, she is shocked to discover that her client is a woman, Gabriella. However, the two become quite good friends and Misty feels deep regret upon leaving after her three month contract is up. But Gabriella issues an open invitation for her and the two keep in touch on the phone.

Meanwhile, Rob is getting lonely and drives to an inconveniently located Starbucks in order to get to know Amelia, who looks as if she could have been Misty's sister. As the two become closer, Rob conveniently forgets to inform Amelia about the unconventional nature of his marriage. After the two have spent the night together for the first time, he lets it slip, and Amelia throws him out of her house, telling him she never wants to see him again.

Rob thinks about his options, and through the advice of a mutual friend, Becca, decides to tell Misty that he wants her to be his full-time wife again. She tells him that she will think about this decision, but in the meantime, travels to London to meet her latest client. After more adventure than she really wanted, and barely escaping with her life, she returns home planning to tell Rob that is ready to give up her career and be his wife again. Hearing splashing coming from their bathroom, she strips and plans to surprise her husband, but walks in to find Rob in the bathtub with Becca, who actually has had ulterior motives for a while. After a few days to herself, she and Rob ultimately decide to divorce, and Misty speaks to Amelia, convincing her to give Rob another chance. Misty returns to Buenos Aires to Gabriella and finally feels as if she's home.

Overall, this was an entertaining and quick read, and although sex did play a role in the book, it was not the "erotic" book I had anticipated from the cover. Not that that's a bad thing. However, I did have some issues, (besides the complete lack of morals of all of the characters). Rob's character was initially completely unbelievable. Oh, and there was a paragraph that had the following lines:

"The plane was well over the Atlantic when Misty finished her bagel with cream cheese. She thought maybe now would be a good time to take some Ambien to help her relax. To prevent snoring and her fear of having a little drool roll down the side of her mouth, she only took enough to take the edge off."

Um, excuse me? Ambien is a sleep aid. To "take the edge off," Misty probably just needed a benzodiazepine, such as alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, etc. Oh, maybe I should mention brand names instead, seeing as how more people know what they are. So that would be a choice of Xanax, Klonopin, or Valium, but definitely not Ambien. Why didn't a pharmacist get a turn at editing?

Moving on... It was an entertaining read. There were many interesting, even if not quite believable, characters. And I did like how the scene changed with each new client Misty took, from ski slopes to tropical paradises. This is the first book in the "Black Widow Trainer Series," and although I'm curious about what happens to Misty, I can't say that I'll go out and buy the second book. But I'd still read it if a copy was given to me, though.

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