****4.5 ‘Selling Out for Love’****STARS

If you’re like me and you play a little ‘judge a book by its cover’ occasionally you’re definitely in for a surprise here.  Despite its provocative cover and title you’ll find much more than the erotic excess of a male prostitute going about his business.  A story of painful choices, heartbreaking sacrifices and harsh realities, I devoured this tale of a long broken couple grasping for a new feature and a second chance they neither thought they deserved nor could possibly have together.

“He’d let her go so many times.  It was like holding on to water.”

We meet Riley Steele (H) in the middle of an ‘appointment’ with a client.  He’s at a turning point in his life and looking to start a new business – one without women paying him for his ‘services’.  He’s sacrificed for his family all the while becoming numb to his life but he’s not regretful of his choices, he’s made his peace with them.  Family comes first and he’d do anything for them – including selling himself to the highest bidder.  When the one phone call he never expected throws him for a loop, he’s ready to claim the girl that stole his heart over a decade ago.

“Brianna Sharp, once upon a time, had been his world.”

Brianna/Bree Sharp (h) is battered, a bad mother and a weak woman.  Bree is broken by the choices she’s made – It’s easy to judge her.  She’s leaving an abusive lover that has hurt her and her son; he’s one of many that have treated her horribly.   She’s gone back to him before – this time something has to change.  She’s got to do better by her son and herself.  Despite her tragic past she’s got to get rid of the self-sabotage, ugliness and hate that have directed her life so far.  As she sits in a hospital bruised and aching there’s only one person she thinks to call – her first love – first everything – Riley Steele.

“I need you like I need my next breath.  I always have.  But you’re just as out of reach now as you’ve ever been for the past ten years.”

Gah, These two killed me.  I had reservations about a book focusing on a male prostitute and a battered woman.  However, I loved Riley and Bree.  Individually their characters are well fleshed out and while their backstories and the choices they felt they had to make are painful – and lead them to their present situations, I was hoping and rooting for their success in beating their demons and getting their HEA.  There’s a degree of realism here that makes you ache for these two and their past traumas.  The thing I find compelling, that makes me pick up a book by Ms. Walker, is the depth of emotion portrayed in her characters.  It draws me in.  Every.  Time.   I struggled a bit with the chemistry between Riley and Bree, but that is entirely personal in my opinion, I like a more focused connection between the H/h.  I would have liked more development in their relationship (the romance was slightly lacking) and I do miss the trademark eroticism we see in Ms. Walker’s earlier works.  That being said, I really enjoyed this book and the storylines setting up for the next books focusing on Riley’s siblings and his brother-from-another-mother.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series and won’t hesitate to grab it.

“All I ever wanted to do was love you.  Be with you.  Make a family with you.”

K’s Category:  Serial Dater – I’ve read every novel/novella released to date.

Characters: M/F

Sex: Yes, descriptive.

OW/OM: Yes, H.

HEA: Yes

Standalone: Yes