Prostitution plots are the exception to my preference for marriage of convenience stories and Escorted features the first one I have read in long time. There are some interesting ideas in this contemporary romance novel, but despite the rounds of contemplation about the oldest profession it inspired in me, Escorted wasn’t really anything special.
Lori is a bestselling romance author in her mid-twenties who, despite her facility writing about it, has never actually had sex. Eager to get her first time over with, she has gotten a recommendation for a local prostitute and Escorted opens with Lori meeting Ander (short for Alexander) in a coffee shop before making their first foray into a working relationship. Things go well enough that Lori continues to employ Ander and he provides the information book learnin’ can’t. They fall in love.
I have several things I want to bring up. I took a lot of notes while reading Escorted and that is often not a good sign. It means the reading experience devolved into review preparation over story involvement. There will be spoilers:
- Lori has written four best-selling romances and is financially secure enough to have given up her day job. This may be the least believable element in the novel.
- A common prostitution dodge in romances is that the professional doesn’t spend any of the client’s payments thus negating the business transaction element. Kent uses it here.
- Ander is BALD! That’s a first. I loved this detail. Bring on the bald dudes!
- The writing is really on the nose.
- The sex descriptions were repetitive and not particularly sexy.
- There were some nice slams of Fifty Shades of Gray.
I spent a lot of time thinking about prostitution while reading Escorted, likely more than the author intended. I wanted to know about the psychological and emotional cost of it as a profession; how one breaks from it; and if there an adjustment period with the introduction of emotions into sexual encounters. Additionally, with all of my distraction while I read, I couldn’t get past the fact that every encounter Lori and Ander had was a financial transaction regardless of the emotions involved. Ander may not have spent the money and retired soon after starting to see her, but he was still contracted to service Lori. How can they get to a level relationship? The story did try to address this, but, for me, it just wasn’t enough.
Escorted does include some great points on the unrealistic expectations of sex created by the mainstreaming of erotica and pornography in our culture. Of course, Kent goes on to do all of these things with her characters, but the gesture was appreciated.
How lovely! Sexism dictates that a book called Escorted have a woman that looks like a prostitute on the cover even though the hero is the professional.