Roni Loren is really in a class by herself, for me, and her terrific new book is no exception. This book takes the heinous bitch from the previous entry in the series and makes her the heroine of her own story. But this is no taming of the shrew. It’s a story with complex main characters who are not one thing but many things. And it’s phenomenal.
Elle and Lane are coworkers at a swanky rehab facility where Elle specializes in drug rehabilitation and Lane works as a sex surrogate in the sexual therapy wing. The unlikely pair hook up at a coworker’s celebration party and find that, though they are very compatible under the sheets, they aren’t at all compatible in real life. Or are they?
Elle is, in some ways, a classic alpha-hole character who can most certainly be a bitch at times. Sometimes it’s perfectly intentional and sometimes it’s a defense mechanism. When it’s uncalled for, she feels remorse. She may be a bitch, but she’s not a heartless one. She has major problems with trust. She would probably call them hang-ups, but it’s more like PTSD from her emotionally abusive marriage. Lane is a sexual dominant and a caring an empathetic person. He also has issues with control that stem from his past as a sex worker.
Both Elle and Lane need to feel as if they are the ones with the power in their personal relationships, and it’s a major obstacle in their romance. Navigating the choppy waters of a relationship that satisfies both of their needs is messy and challenging and neither one handles things perfectly.
On a side note: one of the many great things about this story is how they talk about therapy. Both main characters are in therapeutic professions, so when they are fighting or having emotional discussions, “don’t talk therapy to me” comes up repeatedly. They both have to be careful about slipping in to full therapist mode rather than empathetic friend/lover role, and it’s fascinating to watch.
If you like complicated, messy characters who don’t always do the right thing at the right time, this book is totally for you. It has a rich, rewarding romance with two unlikely leads and is another serious winner of a book from Roni Loren. Whatever this woman cares to write, I’ll definitely be reading.
Dr. Elle McCray has a plan. Work hard. Be the best. And do it alone. After her ex-husband’s betrayal, she’s learned being feared is a hell of a lot easier than being humiliated. So when trouble personified, Lane Cannon, dares to flirt with her, she shuts him down cold. Too gorgeous. Too cocky. And his job as The Grove’s sexual surrogate is to sleep with patients. No, thank you.
Former escort Lane Cannon has spent enough years with people looking down on him. Stupid. Trailer trash. Rent boy. He’s heard it all. He’s worked too hard to shed his past to let some haughty doctor cut him down. But something about Elle’s ice queen act has his dominant instincts perking up and his body taking notice. He can’t walk away.
After an evening of verbal sparring turns into a night of steamy hate sex, Lane’s ready for round two. But Elle proposes a business deal. How better to keep things strictly physical than to pay him for his services?
Lane wants her, not her money. But he’ll play along in exchange for one thing—all the control. It’s only supposed to be a dirty little fling between colleagues, but these two are about to learn a lesson in love…by the hour.