Dear Ms Cach,
You had promised us a funny book and “The Erotic Secrets of a French Maid” delivers. At least for me it did. Fun yet intelligent characters, a plot that sticks to the point and true love — what’s not to like?
Emma Mayson has decided to clean houses to pay the bills while she searches for a job doing what she really wants. With a master’s degree in architecture you’d think she’d be able to find a job with a firm but so far, no joy. So to keep herself focused on the prize, she’s avoided venturing off into other fields which could distract her, make her forget current building codes and eventually turn her into an architectural “wanted to have been” rather than a wannabe. Plus going into other people’s houses lets her scope their design and layout.
Russell Carrick, wealthy start-up businessman, doesn’t really need anyone to clean his enormous Seattle home since he’s rarely there but he views his sister’s insistence on hiring someone to do it as her way of protecting him. Yeah, after the sudden death of their brother, her ideas of protection are a little strange but this is such a minor request he goes along with it. Emma isn’t at all the older, gray haired, chunky woman he was expecting. She’s young, hot, bubbling with personality and probably not someone who’d be interested in his slightly older and definitely geeky self. After all, this *is* Seattle.
A few days later, Russ finds Emma in tears when a series of minor economic blows line up to wipe her out. He ponders how to help her then it hits him. He’ll offer her a downtown apartment he’s been meaning to sell and take her up on her earlier offer to cook 3 meals a week for him. But Russ doesn’t actually spell out what he’s asking for and Emma mistakenly believes he’s actually taking her up on her fanciful musing about how it would be nice to be someone’s mistress and get paid for the sex she secretly wants with Russ. It’s not until almost the end of their negotiations (he for meals, she for sex) that Russ catches on to what Emma thinks he wants.
Flabbergasted, he debates with himself over it then, since she seems to really want to do this and he really doesn’t mind having sex with her, their 3-nights-a-week encounters begin. But Emma puts so much into devising scripted erotic situations to please him, that she never opens up to Russ in the way that he’s beginning to wish she would. And Emma wonders if having been paid to have sex will kill any chance they might have had to really fall in love.
I’ll be real honest and say that after reading the excerpt during which Emma plays slave girl to Russ’s sultan, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to enjoy these sexual evenings. But when read in context, the humor and hotness of these situations were apparent. Russ thinks they’re silly too yet finds himself getting turned on, well except for the time Emma played nurse to his patient and got too enthusiastic with the rubber gloves. I thought it was realistic that both of them started out a little nervous about the whole thing yet managed to settle down into enjoying their nights. I did think it a little odd that Emma never managed to reach fulfillment, especially after Russ began really trying to pleasure her as much as she did him, until the night when she relaxes and lets down her emotional barriers.
Emma is kind of person I’d like to be friends with. She’s a great all around person and it’s nice to see her gain confidence throughout book. I thought it a nice touch that she doesn’t suddenly rocket to the top of her profession and become the next Maya Lin. I enjoyed Russ’s “guy” moments with his senior hockey playing buds. Yeah they’re basically decent guys but not above egging Russ on to enjoy the hot babe they think he’s dating.
I also like that the book focuses on Russ and Emma. There are enough other characters to ground them in reality yet none take away from the main romance and there’s not padding the page count with unrelated stuff. I approve of the way you ended the story on an open-ended note with Russ and Emma in love yet not headed down the aisle into too fast married bliss. B+ and thanks for a delightful story. Now I just have to wait another whole year for the next one! Uggghhhh