My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
I picked up Ramona Gray’s The Escort basically for the title because I’m a sucker for gigolo romances... and, maybe, also because this was a freebie. Fortunately, I found a neatly wrapped up short story. Not a lot of melodrama and there might’ve been some questionable moments, yet it was very enjoyable.
A rich, lonely girl, Julie has spent all 30yrs. of her life under the thumb of her strict, control-freak father. He was a famous artist who lived as a recluse till his death, with only Julie for company. Julie has had the opportunity for an education but she was never given the chance to explore the world (... or men, if I might add) the way most women at her age do. Not only this guy didn’t let her mingle with people but also, he toyed with her self-esteem, which has gone down each year with his severe criticism on her looks and weight. No wonder Julie thinks she’s fat and ugly.
Ever since the recent passing of her father, Julie has been all cooped up inside her huge mansion, feeling lonelier than ever. She just doesn’t have any direction to her life. I found it rather unbelievable that she lives all alone (who maintains that house or Julie’s financial matters, among other things?). Her only best friend aka Miss ‘know-it-all’, Mary, is the one who regularly stops by to check up on her. One day, Mary informs Julie that she can’t live her life like that. Moreover, she has a virginity to discard! Mary’s Solution? Hire a male escort and be done with it in a trice! Then Julie can go explore the world and its male population to her heart’s content.
Easier said than done, especially when Julie really doesn’t feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. When she takes a look at those hot males on an escort agency website Mary opens for her, she isn’t particularly feeling confident. Oh she wants to do ‘it’ (again, I found it hard to believe that she never masturbated either :/), even zooms in on one sexy green-eyed buff named Cal, but will Cal be interested in her? Even with that exorbitant price she’s going to pay him to do the deed? But with Mary’s insistent Julie gives in at least to try and do the introductory thing, courtesy of the above mentioned escort agency.
Meanwhile, Cal, the escort in question, has an important appointment that he needs to keep. Problem is, he can’t cancel this ‘date’ without making his employer unhappy. This might even cost him his job! Yet there is money involve in this appointment. This might also give him the directions for something new, so Cal seeks out the help of his twin brother, Court. Court, though looks exactly like his older twin, is nothing like him. He’s more of a relationship guy and loyal to people he cares for. He’s into construction work, owns a company too. Court is wheedled into this mess by Cal, who asks for this ‘favor’ since he doesn’t wanna lose his job. Loyal Court can’t say ‘no’ and ends up meeting the ‘cute girl’ his brother spoke about.
(I was also thinking... er, Cal’s family was OK with him being an Escort? Seemed like it.)
Unfortunately (or fortunately for Court), he falls for Julie the moment they met. For Julie, she’s just glad to be able to stay calm in front of that sexy hunk! Their first meeting is kinda awkward but Court tries his best to put Julie at ease, instantly knowing that she’s not very worldly. It’s proven, later, when she tells him of course, thinking he’s ‘Cal’, leaving Court rather... in awe. He finds Julie a refreshing breathe of air and his protective instincts goes on high alert.
Complications couldn’t have been avoided no matter what, as there was deception involved. Court, not being able to help himself, convinces Cal to set up one more ‘date’ with Julie. He doesn’t want her to lose her virginity this way. Court thinks it should be a gift to someone who means something to her, and that someone Cal definitely is not. In fact, Court doesn’t want Cal anywhere near Julie. Oh boy, pretty complicated situation I say! More so, considering the fact that Court is forced to lie to her, not liking one minute of it, when he wants her so much! They were beginning to form a bond that you don’t form with a man you paid money to have sex with. Not good at all.
This eats at Court, making him worried over what’s going to happen when Julie finds out. He loves spending time with her, and he doesn’t want to hurt her, let alone lose her. *sigh* Things become even more complicated as they inevitably end up in bed. Now Court must decide if he wants to take a chance and come clean to Julie, to know if there’s any hope for them considering the situation they’re in.
I’d say the rest of the story was pretty well done. I did believe in that connection that Court and Julie had on their first meeting; that it was here to stay. I certainly didn’t mind the HOT sex scenes. ;) Court particularly was kinda dreamy... I absolutely loved him! Julie might not be your favorite if you don’t like your h’s shy virgins, especially in a contemporary setting but I didn’t mind all that much. Overall, there was this sweetness to the story that I would’ve missed if I hadn’t read it.
Now what I want to know if there would be more installments or not. Have to say wouldn’t mind some more Court-Julie for myself. 4 stars.
“The Escort” is a freebie and can be downloaded from most major retailer sites.