Published by J.Q. Anderson Genres: Contemporary
Meet Jake and Natalia.
Jake was once a water polo Olympic Gold Medal Winner.
Now he is an Escort. The lucky few women he selects as clients pay small fortunes for a weekend with Jake.
Natalia just graduated from culinary school in Buenos Aires. She works the ski season in Aspen. She needs the money.
The moment they meet a sudden attraction grips them.
It can’t be: She’s engaged. He’s a hooker.
A story about passion, deception and what lies hidden in the darkest corners of love.
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What I loved about this book was the heat between the hero and heroine. I enjoyed watching how Jake and Natalie met. The heat in his gaze when he spots her and the slow way they come together and begin dating. I loved Natalie’s co-workers (while working at a ski resort in Aspen). They were fun, charismatic, and real friends you could picture meeting in your everyday life.
What I didn’t love about this book… Pretty much everything else.
The story never explains why someone who used to be an Olympic-Gold-Medal-winning-water-polo athlete went from that to…prostitute? I would imagine having the money to get anywhere near water polo would allow you to choose a career that didn’t involve being a gigolo. And if you did, I’d think the story would involve a downward spiral of drugs, shame, and secrets. Maybe after the high of winning in the Olympics the only thing that could equate to that was the danger of prostitution? I’m guessing here because nothing is ever said about it. Not. One. Thing.
His friends act neither surprised nor disgusted that he stumbled into this line of work. In fact, his best friend mentions at one point how many opportunities Jake has to get into coaching (because who wouldn’t want to learn from an Olympic athlete) yet, he won’t choose that as an option. Let’s guess how much someone could charge to give private water polo lessons.
Along the lines of a strangely nebulous backstory, no mention is made about his family (who must have paid to get him started in the exclusive world of water polo) and how they feel about what he decided to do after winning a GOLD medal in the Olympics.
If, however, you can get beyond these basic confusions and contradictions, you still have to deal with Natalie’s reaction to his being an escort. She is only slightly put off and discouraged and never asks why he started doing it and kept at it for as long as he did.
Overall, I found Natalie to be weak. At one point Jake demands they be together while he’s still with other women (working). She doesn’t like it, but simply accepts it. That she doesn’t speak up and could be fine being one of a long list of women being “serviced” by Jake was a huge turn off for me. She seemed scared to speak her mind and demand respect and value be placed on her and what they were building together.
Because I lost respect for the heroine, it became harder to care about her burgeoning relationship with Jake. To me, the author picked a plot line because it was unique (you don’t often find stories about male escorts). But once the plot was chosen, Anderson lost interest in doing the work to develop the backstory to support why Jake was an escort in the first place and why Natalie was the woman who finally shook him up enough to consider stopping…eventually.
~Reviewed by Michelle