This book was a completely unexpected treat for me. I don't know how this book came to be in my collection. I don't think that if I had seen a synopsis of a book that included a former escort and a former pornstar it would have been one that I would have jumped to pick. However I got it, I am so happy that I did and I will definitely be back for more from this author and hopefully more and this series.
Grace and Ben are the main characters in this book and they have the most sordid sexual history of any characters I have recently read about. Grace was an escort to pay her way through college and to help her parents out a financial crisis. She has slept with only the Lord knows how many men. Ben was a porn star whose body count included more bodies than you might find in a cemetery. Grace and Ben get to know each other because their best friends hook up with one another in a previous book which I totally plan to read. When this book starts Grace and Ben have already had one smoking hot night together that neither of them can forget but both are trying to forget.
Grace and Ben each individually decide that they are not for each other and that the other is not for them. Grace wants a prince charming to sweep her off her feet and not a guy who has had his you know what in more holes then you can find at a Dunkin Donuts. Ben thinks that Grace is an expert at telling men what they want to hear and therefore she can never be trusted. The really compelling thing about this book was the amount of personal agony that both Grace and Ben put themselves through because of their inability to just let go of the past and accept what was happening in the present. Both Grace and Ben are simultaneously running away from what they think of as their prior bad acts but also running away from each other. I loved reading about how these two characters came to terms with the fact that the things that we do don't make us who we are. I also love how as the characters begin to see each other in a different way they start to see themselves in a different way. This is a book in which you actually get to see love grow and heal and it really is a delightful experience.
Of course, it does not hurt that the chemistry between Grace and Ben was absolutely off the charts. We are talking smoking hot lust / attraction. No matter how much Grace and Ben denied their emotions, there is no denying their physical response to one another. One thing that I really loved about their chemistry was that Grace was willing to lay it all out on the line to get what she wanted. Grace knew that Ben had issues connected to his past and she realized how those issues would affect his perception of her. Despite her realization of those issues, Grace was still able to open herself up physically and emotionally to what was possible with Ben. I wound up really loving Grace as a character. Totally not something I ever thought I'd say about an escort character. Ben also is so sweet in his insecurities and uncertainties about himself. Ben is convinced that because he doesn't have traditional knowledge and education, he is somehow less than the people around him. I love seeing Grace build him up and seeing him come into his own and appreciate how significant his real-life experience was in the industry that he worked in.
There are some pretty heartbreaking things that happen in this book and there are some times when the characters may frustrate you. However all in all this is a really great contemporary romance with some smoking hot erotic sex and two characters that you will not soon forget. I am putting this book on my list of highly recommended reads.
**ARC provided by Publisher**