REVIEW: Any Way You Want It by Maureen Smith
Dear Ms. Smith
What I appreciated most about this book was the pro woman message delivered at the end. I thought it could have gone farther in support of the idea that a woman doesn’t need to be ashamed of what she does and with whom she consorts. Mostly I found this book was heavy on the sexy, heavy on Remy Brand as a former SEAL, and light on most everything else.
Remy, our hero, isn’t mentioned without the attendant words “as a former SEAL”. I kept wondering if he pissed differently, as a SEAL, or he ate differently, as a SEAL. I guess it makes sense that his time in the military, particularly with an elite corps, would have a transformative and lasting impression on him but if I had taken a shot every time the point was made that Remy was a former SEAL, I would have been drunk and passed out by chapter 4.
Zandra is a wealthy woman who owns an exclusive escort service. She does not dabble in prostitution although she knows that her girls have occasionally slept with a customer. Her friend and former contractor, Lena, slept with her client on a “date” and ended up marrying him. When Zandra’s father decides to enter the mayoral race in Chicago, Zandra’s business becomes a target. The current political party wants to find out dirt on her to use against Zandra’s father. Zandra’s father wants Zandra to take her dirty business and go away.
Remy is approached by a member of the current mayor’s political party, wanting him to go undercover and find out whatever dirt he can on Zandra. Remy doesn’t want to spy on Zandra. He loves her and has been trying to find a way to turn their friendship into a lasting, romantic relationship. But the political operative basically tells Remy that it is in Zandra’s best interest that someone who supports her digs up the dirt before someone else does. Remy could have went to Zandra and told her of his plan but instead keeps it a secret and this secret is bound to crush whatever relationship that they develop. Remy’s activities as it relates to this are a bit a) foolish (he books a date with one of Zandra’s women and this is called undercover?) and b) a little skeevy (is seen kissing the escort’s shoulder but internally begging the woman to turn away from his attentions).
The conflict is believable and has serious repurcussions but it is a category book and thus one cry and a few I’m sorry’s and it is resolved all too quickly. I also struggled with Zandra’s passionate defense of her business as not providing sex. It seemed a bit naive for Zandra to think that sometimes there wasn’t sex going on between these wealthy, charismatic men and the beautiful single escorts. In fact, in some ways Zandra’s business seems like it is being set up as a matchmaking service toward the end.
I liked that the book made the effort to say that being seen with an attractive man, having had a lusty encounter, was not something to be ashamed of, but would Zandra have supported a woman who did provide sex for pay? I felt that the strict line drawn between someone who provides sexual services and someone who provides companions for the night could have used more gradation. C