Review: Addicted to Ellis D. by S.E. Harmon
Chef Luca Alessi’s life is barely recognizable these days. He used to spend his days in the kitchen creating cutting-edge cuisine. Now he’s trying to keep his family’s restaurant and legacy alive. It doesn’t help that his father was keeping secrets before he passed. On the relationship front, his ex, Colin, assured him that their divorce would be simple. And now? Not so much. So who could blame Luca for wanting to avoid any entanglements? He’s not ashamed to hire someone for a couple hours of fun. But this new guy is hard to keep at arm’s length.
When life lands Ellis Day on the streets—again—he’s not about to wallow in self-pity. He’s done it before, he can do it again. And if that involves selling something he previously considered unsellable, then that’s just what he’ll do. He’s not all that experienced working in the sex industry, but it should be easy enough. Get in, get paid, get out. But then there’s Luca. And suddenly the rules don’t apply.
When Luca discovers Ellis’s living situation, things get more complicated still. Luca offers him a job and a place to live. Of course, their new arrangement means nothing else can happen between them—at least in Luca’s eyes. He’s determined to be a friend to Ellis…to give him everything he needs. Ellis is determined to show him that the only thing he needs is Luca.
Warning : some physical abuse on page.
Dear S.E. Harmon,
I picked this book on Kindle Unlimited because I saw your name on the cover. Normally variations on the “saving the sex worker/ prostitute” do not really appeal to me all that much, although of course there are exceptions. Frankly, “saving the sex worker” ended up being my least favorite part of the book for several reasons. I understood why Ellis ended up having sex for money even if that was the last thing he wanted to do, but everything he had to go through all together just felt like too much. I am not even saying that it was unbelievable, it was actually written quite well and I did buy that Ellis may not have felt that he had any other chances to make his rent and eat, but it still felt like too much. It is hard to explain. Maybe because it felt a bit too much of a cliché and nothing deeper than that.
More importantly, Luca paying for sex left me scratching my head. I get that this is the meeting author envisioned for them, but for me what lead to this meeting just did not work as much as it should have. The meeting and thereafter did work very well though. I ended up really liking both characters – Luca and Ellis were both lovely each in their own ways. Luca is doing everything he can to try and save the family restaurant from the mess his father left. Luca loves cooking but trying to help manage the restaurant from disaster may be a bit too much for him and at this time Ellis enters Luca’s life. Paying for sex encounters becomes something more very quickly and I would even say that the story managed to surprise me a little bit. Of course as much as Luca was a genuinely nice man and him trying to help Ellis to get away from the life Ellis did not like was a genuine desire to help, but it still implied material inequality in their relationship.
I thought the author found an interesting plot twist to bring more equality between them and to show that Ellis managed to return the favor so to speak and really help Luca as well.
Finally, as strange as it sounds, I appreciated that this book, or I should say first half of this book seemed to have less humor than other books by this author. Very often the dialogue between the leading couples in her other stories is full of snark and I usually eat it up with a spoon, so to speak. But Ellis is initially in a very dark place, so I liked that the dialogue felt a bit different. More humor came in later in the story and I did like how it was done.
I loved Harmon’s P.I. Guys duet (STAY WITH ME and SO INTO YOU), but I’ve found it hard to get into other books by her that I’ve tried. What worked for the P.I. Guys—the wit and snarky humor especially—seemed labored and forced in her other books. It might be a case of lightning only striking once (or, in the case of a duet, twice).
These books remain my favorites of hers as well .