My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An escort?! As the hero in a romance book? Gasp! Oh Lord, what a jolt in my prudish - yeah, right! ;) - heart...
Monica Brennerman is a twenty-seven-year-old writer who suffers from severe agoraphobia. So severe that she can't even make herself go outdoors in her own backyard. She isn't happy about her situation, but she can't shake herself out of it, no matter how much her mother and sister try to help her. One night, feeling kind of lustful and lonely, she logs on the internet and orders herself an escort - because, you know, there are some things that even the best vibrator can't do. ;)
Twenty-three-year-old Ryan Hayes is a starving college student who desperately needs money to keep his Alzheimer's suffering grandmother in a decent nursing home. He doesn't mind living in a cockroach-infested appartment, but his grandmother deserves the best for all she's done for him since childhood. So what's a boy to do under such circumstance? Become a high-end prostitute, of course!
Ryan's first client turns out to be Monica and they hit it off - on and off the bed - right away. The problem is, neither can forget that they aren't "normal" people having a date, so when the night is over, he leaves without knowing if he'll ever see her again. Oh, she does want to see him again, but she can't afford another
As Ryan and Monica meet again and again, their feelings get in the way of their "business transaction" and insecurity enters the picture. Can they get past their personal problems and find a way to be together for good? Grandma still needs care, so it isn't like Ryan can quit his job in a blink of an eye. Is Monica willing to share him with his clients? Hmmm...
I've got to say that when I started reading this book, I thought Ryan would be a "fake" escort whose first client turns out to be the love of his life and he would never have to service any other client. Well, I was wrong and Ms. Dee didn't shy away from describing Ryan's appointments. Let me tell you, he deserved being well paid for some of the stuff his kinky clients asked him to do. Strangely enough, that part of Ryan's life didn't turn me off as I'd expected - probably because Ms. Dee wouldn't stop stating how much he disliked what he did. That was fine at first, but it became too much halfway through the story because it felt like Ms. Dee was trying too hard to make me "forgive" him for being a prostitute. He didn't need to be "forgiven", he needed to get out of it if that bothered him that much.
Monica's agoraphobia was a nice and believable plot device to make me sympathize with her hiring an escort to fulfill her sexual needs. As someone who never left her house, how else was she supposed to find a sex partner, right? ;) Thankfully, that was the only time her disorder played a major role in Ryan and Monica's relationship. He didn't become her ultimate savior, the man who helped her work through her problems and taught her how to find her place in the outside world again. Nope. She managed to work on that without him, with the meddling but loving help of her mother and sister, and I was glad it was done that way. After all, she might be in love with Ryan, but he wasn't the answer to all her problems.
As this is an erotica/romantica novel, let's talk about the sex scenes, shall we? They were hot, diverse and, yes, kinky. There was masturbation, missionary/conventional sex, "backdoor" loving, some D/s play, a rape fantasy scene, ménage... and that's when things got a little too crazy for me. **SPOILER** Even though Monica was the one who wanted to have a ménage session with Ryan and another man, she didn't feel quite at ease when reality hit and Travis, "the other man" Ryan chose for her, started to make his moves on her. Maybe she'd have felt more comfortable if Ryan had arrived with Travis, but he was late and she was left to her own devices. Sensing how jittery she is, Travis offers her some Ecstasy "to loosen her up and enhance her experience that evening" and, instead of "Just Saying No", she takes the small tablet and swallows it with a sip of margarita. Way to go, Monica! That will definitely make you enjoy the ménage better! When Ryan finally arrives, she's higher than a kite and eager to get things started. Intrigued by her behavior, he asks Travis what he's given her. Does Ryan beat the crap out of his co-worker when he learns that Monica has been drugged? No! He chastises Travis very lightly, asks Monica if she's okay and then joins them in all his randy glory, determined to fulfill her ultimate fantasy. Gah! Call me a narrow-minded prude, but I hated how both Monica and Ryan didn't think much of taking drugs like that. At one point, I wasn't sure anymore if Monica knew what she was doing! **END SPOILER**
All things considered, this was still a good read. I like Ms. Dee's writing, the premise of the book and its development were nicely done, the characters (including the secondary ones) were likable and the sex scenes where sizzling hot - minus the one I mentioned in the spoiler above, that is. Do I recommend this bok? Well, if you don't mind being constantly reminded how "saintly" Ryan is and you have no issues regarding what happens between
Note: Even though I've mentioned Ryan's and Monica's age in my review, I'm not sure how old they really are because somewhere near the end of the book, Ryan himself says he's six years younger than her. As far I as know, twenty-seven minus twenty-three equals four. I'm not a math genius, but I'm positive about that, LOL.
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