Friday, March 1, 2013

That One Time That Pretty Woman Was a Bald Guy.

EscortedEscorted by Claire Kent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this one out after reading some reviews from other bloggers I follow, most notably Wonk-O-Mance. There seemed to be one thing they were all saying and it was how surprised they were by the story.

The idea of still being surprised stopped me. Was that a butterfly that just took off in my chest?

So I dashed off to read the reviews. I saw the cover, read the blurb.

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Sigh. I've had such misses with erotica. There's never enough story for me, and I get tired of the sex. (Gasp! I know.) I want drama, plot and characters who do more with their hands than their bits. I don't want whips or chains or another alpha dude to boss me around. And that's what I was expecting with this one because here was a story about a male prostitute and the romance writer who hires him cause she's still a virgin and isn't that ridiculous.

I expected Mr. Hooker to come in all swagger and smooth with squicky lines about what he's packing and how good he's gonna make it. I was expecting her to be repressed and neurotic and maybe a crybaby. I was expecting her to swoon or faint over his bits and this would be another story about how she tamed the Alpha Beast with her boring love and her boring brown hair.

But it totally isn't.

It kept me up until way too late.

And let me just say it now and get it out of the way.

I fell in love with a hooker. Er, escort.

Ander, our fancy not-by-the-hour-hooker, was not what I expected. He was bald, for starters. Smooth, cosmopolitan. Self-assured as he walked up to Lori in a coffee shop for their first meeting. Kind, quiet, and all business. Who was this guy? I was desperate to know, because this was not arrogant guy. He's hot, but we're not mooning over it with purple prose. We're not praying at the altar of his awesome? I straightened my glasses and read faster.

Lori is 26 and a virgin, but it worked. I could understand why she still was, and why she wanted to get the damn thing over with. She was funny and straight forward without being unbelievable. She was painfully earnest, even about this, and that against the practiced sensual smiles and professional style of Ander was both of their undoings.

The sex goes from these awkward clinical appointments to Something More. And I love that it was told in third person limited so we don't have to get stuck in pages and pages of Lori's introspective thoughts. And the writing shows so much that we totally get to *hear* things in what Ander is saying and not saying that she doesn't. We get to watch this fascinating, sexy, emotionally engaging and heartbreaking relationship that simply has nowhere to go beyond this hotel room.

Everything came down to how this story was told. It doesn't swoon or worship Ander. There aren't pages on how hot he is, or how nervous and inept she is. This isn't Let Me Learn You Through Emotional Butt Sex. This is a man who knows everything about sex, and it goes from business casual to super hot simply by how intense things are getting between them, and as Hooker and Client they can only express these feelings through the sex.

It's amazing and I could hardly breathe.

Ander has a luggage set worth of issues, falling for a girl for the first time in his life. He's business and money and older women hanging onto him as he tells them with a practiced smile how beautiful they are. But then there's Lori. Pushy, curious, beautiful Lori. Ander is a study in subtlety. It's the shifts in his expression and everything he's not saying and it's part of the reason the book is positively impossible to put down. There were some editing issues I didn't stop to linger over, but stumbled just a bit and the relationships outside of Lori and Ander were duds, mostly Lori with her cousin. I get the need to talk about what's going on with someone else, since we're not in Lori's head, but something about it was either not enough or unnecessary.

This is an incredibly sexy story with a surprising amount of heart. The last 30 percent of it really surprised me. I expected an easier solution. One that would start out with the expected miscommunication, and again this book went somewhere I hadn't expected. Lori and Ander are handled with serious hands, and their relationship given real weight as they try to discover how in the hell you come back from being the Virgin and the Hooker.

I've got to say they did it. So well, that I jumped back to the first page just to do it all over again with them.


  1. This has been on my TBR list for a while now. I just wasn't sure whether to take the plunge into another maybe crappy erotica or not. Glad to know that it isn't a waste of ink! Thanks for the heads up.

    1. I was so surprised. I'm wrung out on the crappy eroticas, can't even flirt with picking them up anymore, but this was definitely Something More, and I'm looking forward to what else she writes under this pen name.

    2. I used to be down with erotica, but since they started publishing EVERYTHING I have given it up. It's just ridiculous.

    3. YES. DEAR GOD YES. It's just all too much, and it takes some serious magic for anything to stand out. And it's why it's takes some serious feedback from bloggers for me to even dip my toes back in the water.