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Claire Kent

REVIEW:  Nameless by Claire Kent

REVIEW: Nameless by Claire Kent

Dear Ms. Kent:

At first, I was a little distressed because the hero is a lawyer and the heroine is a legal assistant (not at the same firm, though). It’s fairly hard for me to get lost in the world of make believe when the characters are so familiar to me. However, there was not enough of the law to interfere with my enjoyment and while I love your voice, the wonderful and awkward sex scenes you write, and your ability to create interesting characters despite having a limited point of view narrative, this book stumbled a bit at the half way mark and I was never fully brought around.

Nameless  by     Claire Kent
As a preteen, Erin Marshall had had a long standing crush on Seth Thomas, an orphan who was sent to live with his grandfather. Nothing came of this crush as Seth moved away and went on to become a successful defense attorney. He returned to their town only when his grandfather died. The two have a somewhat drunken hookup that results in Erin becoming pregnant.

Seth’s first response to Erin’s news is to ask whether it is his. Their exchange over this news isn’t sexy but testy with Erin telling him she’d rather have anyone else be the father but him and that it won’t be a Thomas baby. Seth doesn’t warm to the idea but wants to be involved.

The story tracks not only the pregnancy but also the delivery and the aftermath. During the pregnancy Erin has some physical urges and after an aborted attempt to go out, Seth offers to fulfill those physical urges. In sum, they are each other’s hookup.

There’s some implication that Seth is still dating while Erin is pregnant, but this didn’t bother me as Erin repeatedly told Seth she wanted nothing to do with him. Even as their physical relationship labors (pun intended) on, Erin’s feelings seemingly do not.

While this story is told in the third person, it is limited to Erin’s point of view alone. Seth is more enigmatic, but it seems clear that he is both afraid and excited about the baby. Erin does not see this. She’s a bit myopic and closed off emotionally. Because of her dogged intention to do this on her own, she ends up hurting Seth frequently.

Because this is told in limited third person, I needed a lot more justification on Erin’s end as to why she didn’t want to let Seth in; why she was so interested in raising the child by herself; why she was eschewing any emotional intimacy with Seth. I understood that she had been hurt before, but because it was told to us in a matter of a few paragraphs at the beginning of the book, it didn’t have much resonance as the story went on.

Erin often projects behavior from her ex husband on to Seth.  As a reader, I could see Seth’s genuine emotion and risk taking and I didn’t understand why Erin was so determined to be an island, particularly after the baby was born. In fact, the story really became frustrating for me post birth due to Erin’s intractability in the face of Seth’s agreement to play whatever role Erin deemed appropriate in the life of their child.

This book was still super readable, despite the problems, and the portrayal of pregnancy, birth, and post labor was really well done. C+

Jane

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REVIEW:  Escorted by Claire Kent

REVIEW: Escorted by Claire Kent

Dear Ms. Kent:

I’m not sure where I received the recommendation for your book but I do remember I picked it up because it was free. Ordinarily the premise – male prostitute – wouldn’t appeal to me but from the opening scene I was hooked. The heroine, Lori Addison, is a virgin and she’s having a difficult time offloading it. Her virginity came about almost by happenstance because she was in love with her best friend who had never felt the same way about her.  The story is told all from Lori’s point of view but in third person.  One thing readers might have to set aside is believability.  Lori’s independently wealthy due to writing a handful of romance books that were bestsellers.

Claire Kent EscortedAs she grew older and realized that her best friend wasn’t the man for her, she became more and more anxious about her lack of sexual experience. As a bestselling romance author, Lori decides it is time to get rid of her virginity and through referral obtains the name of Ander Lourdes, a high end, very sexy escort.

The way in which Lori goes into this, slightly smirking, slightly embarrassed read as very authentic as were Ander’s very professional replies. Ander treats his escort business as a business and his number one concern is customer satisfaction. Lori’s embarrassed and snarky probes are met with serious response.

Ander cleared his throat, bringing her attention back to him. “Perhaps you can give me a little information about your goals for this engagement.”

She nodded. “Right. Well, I sure as hell wouldn’t pay this much money for a date.” She took a breath. Summoned all her fortitude and courage. “I want to have sex.”

“Yes, but what are your goals for the sex? Are you looking for a particular mood or brand of excitement? Do you just want to relieve tension? Get something you can’t get from other partners? I’m not trying to pry into your personal motivations, but I need a little direction if we’re to make this a successful engagement.”

Lori makes it clear early on that she wants to just have sex, not a pretend romantic encounter and the two begin with that understanding. But Lori is a very curious woman (which made perfect sense given that she was a writer) so she is always asking questions, asking things of Ander that no one had ever asked before. Sometimes she cracks jokes in the middle of their sessions. She’s quite thoughtful toward Ander, as well, embarrassed the first time that he’s aroused but doesn’t finish and offering the last part of her time with him for him to shower and get comfortable.

In all, it is clear that Lori is something different than Ander has ever encountered before even though we only see Ander through Lori’s eyes.

“In that case, it might be a good idea to start with oral. There’s a better chance of your reaching climax that way.”

Despite the bizarre situation, Lori couldn’t help but give a little snort. “And I suppose that doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that that service is more expensive than intercourse?”

This time, there was no mistaking the slight twitch of his lips. His eyes glinted briefly with amusement. “Just a suggestion.”

“Why is it more expensive?” she blurted out, her curiosity once more taking over.

“It’s more intimate,” he murmured, for the first time glancing away. “On my part.”

As the two spend more time together, each visit requiring payment from Lori, they begin to change their behaviors toward one another. Lori, in an attempt to distance herself from Anders and the feelings she has that are developing for him, even tries to date another author.  She also runs into Anders with another client.  Both episodes serve as a catalyst for Lori’s emotional attachment to Ander.

What I found rather amazing was how clinical some of the sex scenes were as Ander and Lori discussed what would give her the most pleasure; yet how very sexy they were. The sex scenes progressed as their relationship did, from awkward and business like to much more romantic.

The biggest drawback of this book are the repetitive writing tics. Lori and Ander have physical responses that are repeated throughout the book and could be distracting. Even some of the sex scenes had repetitive behaviors and motions.  Other than that, however, I thought this was a really well done book that combined all sorts of sexy scenes with emotional drama.  It was funny, sexy, and sweet.  The ending was a little too Disney-ish but not so over the top that I thought to myself, okay, that’s fine. It’s a book I recommend even though it is no longer free. B

Best regards,

Jane

PS, Lori’s penname is Claire Kent and that actually bothered me more than the writing tics. Fortunately it is only mentioned a few times.

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