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The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
4.5 stars rounding up to 5
Billie Cort, a reporter, has been granted entrance into a world that some people can only imagine. Avalon is a very private club that caters to very private women, providing them with the best of the best and granting their deepest and darkest desires.
She's writing an article on the clubs most popular escort, Adrian. Billie is surprised by the immediate reaction she has to the sensual man and try as she might, she struggles to get the real answers she's looking for.
Adrian's life may seem like he has it all, but he's been hiding who he is for years. The money and the women were enough when he started, but he sees all the things he's missing in his life once he starts talking to Billie. And he's drawn to her like no one else.
”Maybe I need this.” The fierce words rushed between his lips, flavored with sudden desperation. “Maybe I need it with you, right here, tonight. You’re so damn innocent, Billie. It sets me on fire.”
I'm not going to lie... I wasn't entirely sure I was going to love this book. Mostly because, well there's no getting around it... Adrian, our hero is a male escort. And there is no denying he’s good at his job.
But there is more to him than what he does and I found him immediately intriguing. The push and pull between Billie and Adrian was interesting to me because for a much as you want them together as a couple, you can’t help but question how his profession would get in the middle of it. Despite the attempts at normality, dates and meeting his family, it always seems to be the one thing that can’t and shouldn’t be forgotten.
”Why did you invite me tonight, Adrian?”
He glanced at her then back at the road. “You remind me that there’s still a world out there,” he said simply.
It’s absolutely things like this, dialogue like this, that pulled me in and made me fall for Adrian. He’s such a dichotomy that you can’t help but wonder about the man underneath this façade he portrays for the women who pay for him.
For a man whose life encompassed the raw, emotionless aspect of base human urges, he was unequivocally inclined toward gentleness.
As it goes, Billie and Adrian exchange favor for favor and suddenly they’re in deeper with each other than they’d ever planned or expected.
But there is another part of this story… that of his friend Lucien. And unfortunately his is not a happy or pleasant story. But it’s also where I felt the story was kind of forced. I didn’t believe for one bit that the police would have pursued anything with Adrian and I find it hard to believe that Azure could have hidden all proof of where Adrian was the evening Lucian died.
That said, I didn’t feel as if it took away from the actual story. The characters that Reed has created are well developed and full of life. The story pacing is perfectly done and thankfully (for me) we don’t get much detail in the way of his professional appointments. The chemistry between Billie and Adrian is really well done and the tension and interactions between the two so believable and the steam…*fans self*.
If you’re looking for a story of redemption and forgiveness filled with emotion and interesting characters look no further. The Fifth Favor will fill each of those requirements.
Thank you to Berkley Trade for the advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.