Sunday, January 19, 2014

Review: The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed

Imagine a world where a woman’s every pleasure, every wish and wildest fantasy is granted by the man of her dreams…

Such a world exists inside the walls of Avalon, an elite private club that caters to women’s deepest desires. Billie Cort, a reporter from the raunchy magazine Illicit, has come to Avalon to interview the club’s most popular escort, the breathtakingly sexy Adrian.

Expecting nothing less from a place like Avalon, Billie is still stunned at how effortlessly Adrian brings out her sexual side. Adrian, too, is surprised to find himself thinking about Billie long after their interview is over. Adrian, of course, is irresistible, but Billie isn’t accustomed to being pursued by outrageously attractive male escorts. Adrian wants her, but soon realizes that she can fill a role in his life that’s more than just physical.…

4 out of 5 stars.

So here's how this book came about.  I saw my friend Cosmo tweet about this book and I put it on my to-read list and entered the contest on Goodreads for a copy.  I never win these things - NEVER -- so imagine my surprise when I did!  Anyway, the book arrived and I was excited but overwhelmed by life and the holidays and put it aside for another time.

After one particular stressful day, I picked it up thinking that it would be another entertaining read, but definitely a guilty-pleasure.  I figured I'd have it finished in a day, be adequately distracted from real life, and move on.

The Fifth Favor is so much more than that.

Yes, there is the ahem...romantical element.  I mean, it is the story of the relationship between an reporter and a male escort.   When you watch Food Network, you see shows revolving around food, right?  Same sort of thing here.

Except once you get beyond the front door, you find yourself immersed in a story of second chances.

What I really really enjoyed about this book is that it wasn't the typical romance where boy meets girl, instant love, stupid fight, plotting friends, and happy ever after.  Adrian's life, though appearing perfect on the outside, isn't what it seems.  And while "Reporter Billie" starts to discover the truth, it is "off the clock Billie" that sees what truly lies beneath the smooth talker with all the right words and all the right moves and all the right...ahem, talents. 

As the story progresses and the relationship between Billie and Adrian intensifies, well, to say that there are challenges would be an understatement.  And while there were definitely times that I wanted to smack Billie for being a bit bratty and kick Adrian for playing the victim, overall I found them to be solid and believable. 

Ms. Reed writes a story that is filled with depth and emotion.  When I started reading, I was simply trying to clear my head.  When I finished, my heart was full.  I've been a reader for a very long time and I have read a lot of books -- it is not often that I am taken by surprise.  This book did just that. 

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