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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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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

25 Comments

  1. Ros
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 11:39:13

    I read this recently too (virgin romance writer heroine = auto buy for me) and liked it more than I expected to. Lori’s a great character and she made the unlikeliness of the plot work for me.

    I was massively uncomfortable with the use of Claire Kent as Lori’s pen name.

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  2. willaful
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 11:48:56

    I thought it was just me! For some reason that sort of 4th wall bleed really bugs me.

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  3. Willa
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 12:06:23

    I enjoyed this one too – even having reservations about Anders profession at the start but it worked well. Ditto to the pseudonym use.

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  4. Claire Gillian
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 13:08:57

    Great review and glad to see it’s a recommended title. I got this as a Kindle Lending Library freebee and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. It might have made my favorites bookshelf at Goodreads but for some of the exact issues you cited. I also enjoyed the whole clinical and business aspects of his being an escort, which made the development of the characters’ emotions for each other stand out that much more from the stark coldness of their relationship’s bones.

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  5. Ruthie
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 13:11:20

    I liked this one, too! We interviewed Claire Kent at Wonkomance, and one thing she mentioned was that the author was called Claire Kent in the book first. She decided before publishing this that she needed a second pen name (she also writes as Noelle Adams) and plucked Claire Kent out of the book without giving it much thought. I can see why it bugs readers, but I thought I’d mention it because at least the real explanation for how it happened is sort of backward of what you might think (narcissistic author gives character same pen name as self).

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  6. Jane
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 13:13:22

    @Ruthie: It isn’t so much narcissistic author gives character pen name as it is ruining the fictional nature of the book. I don’t really understand why it just isn’t published under Noelle Adams. From a pure business stand point, I think it is confusing and unhelpful to readers.

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  7. Victoria paige
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 13:33:16

    This was one of my favorite reads this year. Like you said in the review, the sex scenes sounded a bit clinical but also sexy. It was also my first time hearing about dental dams used that way. ;) I like Alpha males, but Anders is a different type altogether, I would describe him as quietly masculine, I think. I loved the scene at the elevator and what led up to it. The ending kind of lost steam for me, but as a whole I really liked this book.

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  8. Jane
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 13:35:52

    @Victoria paige – I think all the sex precautions he took actually made it more believable. And, of course, I felt like those precautions helped to foster the HEA.

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  9. Ros
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 14:30:31

    @Ruthie: That helps me a bit, because from what it said on her website, it sounded as though Claire Kent is a real name and Noelle Adams a pen name. But still, it causes huge cognitive dissonance for me as a reader. I’m wondering if I’m supposed to be reading this as autobiography. Or personal fantasy. Or something. It gets in the way of the book.

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  10. Ruthie
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 14:38:14

    @Jane:

    I can see what you mean on both counts. I prefer if authors just have one pen name, even if they write widely different stuff under it, but I know some authors try to keep their work separated out — the darker / more erotic stuff under one name, the lighter / funnier under another. I think that was the case here — that she worried her Noelle Adams readers would be put off by this title, because it’s so different. I can see both sides, but from a standpoint of pure reader convenience, using one name makes the most sense to me.

    Ros – So interesting how many ramifications that decision had! I had seen her interview before I read, so of course I didn’t have that experience. Just goes to show how a small thing can make a huge difference.

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  11. Kate Hewitt
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 15:20:06

    When I read Claire Kent I could only think of Superman. It sounds like an interesting premise, and the way you described the sex scenes reminded me a bit of the scenes in A Lady Awakened, which is a book I enjoyed tremendously.

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  12. Nancy
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 18:26:08

    Put me in as another who really liked this book. I’m not a fan of the escort-falls-in-love-with-client plot, but I’d read a positive review and it was cheap so I took a chance. I loved the evolution of the sex scenes from clinical to emotional as the relationship changed. That was the most interesting aspect for me and kept me glued to the book because I wanted to see how it would get to the HEA. For me, the ending was too trite but didn’t take away from everything before it. I’m still wary of the escort trope, but this book won me over.

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  13. Sunny
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 18:36:53

    I remember seeing the interview on Wonkomance and absolutely had to read it, and it was fantastic — I’ve re-read it twice now. I’d not read anything by Noelle Adams but also had no idea that Claire Kent was a penname of hers, so when I went to read more by Claire Kent there wasn’t anything — otherwise I would have bought up her entire backlog! Since finding out during a DA comment thread last week I’ve since rectified that, heh.

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  14. Kate
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 20:07:10

    I too recently read this as a freebie through Amazon’s lending library, and enjoyed 80% of it. The writing tics get in the way, but what really got to me was what I saw as a disconnect between how well the author shapes her leading female character as young and inexperienced through the beginning/middle of the book. She is slow to pick up on Anders’ cues, and I believe it. What was harder to accept was all-the-sudden insight into Anders’ life (he’s something like a decade older and has lived a life that led to prostitution. So yeah complicated). So, yeah, great read up until the final 15% where I couldn’t quite believe it was the same female lead as the start of the book.

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  15. Kim
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 20:49:26

    I bought this, but have not read it yet. The male escort thing is not for me. But, I saw so many rave reviews that I picked it up a few weeks ago. I thought it would be good for me to read outside my comfort zone. And, now I’m sitting on it because I think it will make me feel too angsty. But, again, the reviews are so great, I guess I need to put my issues aside and give it a shot.

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  16. mirole
    Apr 13, 2013 @ 21:12:30

    I am very interested in reading this (ebook).

    I am in Canada. Can someone please recommend me where to buy it from please. I could only find it on Amazon and I know there are geographical restrictions.

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  17. Ros
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 04:03:07

    @mirole: I don’t think there are geographical restrictions. At least, I bought it on Amazon UK without any problem.

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  18. Courtney
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 17:58:39

    I’m interested. One of the best books I read the year I read it was written by Laura Leone (I think) and it centered around a male prostitute. Anyone remember it? It might have been over ten years ago since it was released. I loved it and reading this review makes me want to pick this one up.

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  19. willaful
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 18:26:47

    @Courtney: Fallen From Grace. I own it, but have yet to read it. For some reason I thought it was a historical. (Perhaps the cover.)

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  20. Courtney
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 18:50:55

    @willaful: Thanks! I think I lent the book to someone. I really loved it and hope you enjoy it. : )

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  21. Jane
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 18:52:30

    @Courtney: The Laura Leone is a contemp and is quite a bit darker. The sex is understated as well. Escorted has a certain sense of playfulness that arises out of the awkward sex scenes and the incessant questions of the heroine.

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  22. Em
    Apr 14, 2013 @ 18:57:04

    I’ve never read a gigolo book before and I don’t think it’s a trope that does much for me, but I really enjoyed this book. I bought it on your recommendation Jane, and was really pleasantly surprised. Stayed up late reading it- which is a rarity- and I really liked it though I’m not entirely sure why. The ending fell a bit flat but it was still a pretty great read.

    The author name thing bothered me enormously too. Especially since it was a plot point rather than a passing mention. Did not like.

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  23. lakaribane
    Apr 15, 2013 @ 08:59:15

    I read this and enjoyed it. Finding good books once in a while is what keeps me addicted to the Amazon bestseller list freebies. Like others mentioned, it reminded me of A Lady Awakened in the sense that the developing feelings and the heroine’s growing experience changed the sex from sterile and mechanical, almost, to hot and wonderful.

    Also, I actually thought the hero’s baldness was crazy hot! This is much like when Mary Balogh made me die for a guy named Edmund, LOL! Good writers are just awesome, aren’t they?

    I was bothered like others by the character’s pen name being that of the author (and the Superman thing, too!) and I felt the ending was weak but I have put her next book on my wish list.

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  24. Sigs
    Apr 17, 2013 @ 09:49:19

    I read Cara Mckenna’s Curio vignettes, enjoyed this as well, with the same prostitute storyline but this time in Paris. Then I saw this review so I had to read escorted. No regrets.

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  25. REVIEW: Darius by Grace Burrowes
    May 08, 2013 @ 08:02:06

    [...] chose this book because the titular hero is a man ho. I read and enjoyed Claire Kent’s Escorted, a contemporary whose hero is a gigolo, and thought it would be fun to read a historical with the [...]

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