Price of a Kiss by Linda Kage
Reese Randall has just moved across the country to escape the psycho ex that tried to kill her.
Her only experience with a boy did not end well but she’s a freshman in college and she’s ready to make all her dreams come true.
Mason Lowe is a sexy gigolo but there’s so much more about him that people refuse to see.
When he catches her eye she cannot believe he’ll ever be interested in a girl like her…she’s very very wrong.
Good Writing and very sweet MC, I have to say though…
Even if I enjoy college romance, I’m not very much into over the top teenagers often screaming “Boo-yah!” and “squee!” and the heroine, Reese, is one of those teenagers.
Her drooling over Mason at first sight wasn’t exactly pleasant to read about because she goes on and on about his perfect looks saying he has “angels sprouting up around him to worship his face”…yep that’s an actual quote.
When they first bump against each other and she says “his face had darkened to a dull read as if holding his breath to keep from smelling her”…the whole scene reminded me of twilight with him avoiding touching/smelling her because she was too “delicious” for him.
Fortunately Reese is also empathetic and charming so, reading about her getting to know Mason, defending his dignity as a human being and interact with his sister made me warm up to her.
Mason was barely 18 years old when he was blackmailed into sex with a woman more than twice his age.
His mother already worked two full time jobs while taking care of his sister affected by cerebral palsy and, when their land lady gives him the choice to either evict them or have sex with her, he chooses the only option that could keep a roof over his family’s head.
Two years later he’s become a gigolo for women that can afford his prices.
He’s used to being dealt with either as a sex toy or as something tainted by his lifestyle and Reese is the first person that sees him as a human being deserving compassion and love.
When they start to get to know each other, I could almost forget Reese’s inner “teenager” thoughts that had put me off at first.
The chemistry is good and witnessing their relationship develop was a pleasure.
Reese and Mason’s sister interactions were beautiful to read about too.
Before reading this book I was reluctant because stories about male/female prostitutes living that kind of lifestile when they get to know the other main lead are most often a “miss” then a “hit” for me.
Turns out my GR friends were right about Mason’s inner beauty…
….and I wasn’t put off by his profession because his reasons are believable.
Even so, (girls I’m sorry to say this!!) I just cannot justify him when he’s blackmailed a second time by the same sick shit of a woman two years later.
He had plenty of time to rent a different place and he could have chosen tons of different ways to protect Reese instead of giving into the same evil person that ruined his life at 18.
HOW CAN A WOMAN THAT AWFUL BE TRUSTED TO KEEP HER END OF THE BARGAIN???
There’s no justifying Mason’s choice, in my opinion, it’s just all kinds of stupid.
Mason and Reese’s conversation right after “the deed” just baffled me instead of making me feel bad for them both.
Your psycho ex is hunting for you because he wants to kill you, an horrible lady-pimp might divulge what she knows even if she got laid and you’re just gushing about Mason saving you instead of doing something smart about the whole situation…
The plot from there on kinda went downhill for me because some things were easily avoidable by using more brain and common sense while others were too easily fixed
The psycho ex is found dead in prison and the pimp/land-lady is forgotten after Reese shows her she has no more power over Mason.
It was a pleasure witnessing Mason and Reese falling in love and getting their HFN ending but I wished the last 20% of the plot was handled differently.
That said, I’ll definitely pick up the second book in this series because I enjoyed Linda Kage’s writing
⭐ 2.5 Stars rounded up ⭐
Price of a Kiss by Linda Kage is book #1 in the Forbidden Man series. Can be read as a STANDALONE.
~ My Ratings ~
Writing: 3 /5
Plot: 2.5 /5 After the second blackmail (@80% ) I wasn’t happy with it.
Hero: 3 /5 [20 years old] He’s open right from the start about his reasons for being a gigolo. He’s forced into a lifestyle he despise but he does not become bitter with the people he’s doing it for, expecially his little sister ( he’s awesome with her!)
Didn’t like his giving into blackmail a second time.
Heroine: 2.5 /5 [18 Years old] She’s a teenager through and through, screaming “Boo-yah!” and drooling over Mason at first sight. She’s great with Mason’s sister and with Mason about his profession but I did not like how she handles things from that second blackmail on.
Secondary Characters: 3 /5
MC’s chemistry: 3 /5
Steam: 3 /5 The only explict scenes are with the heroine.
Triggers: Abuse and attempted murder against heroine, 18 years old Mason is blackmailed into sleeping with middle aged woman and he becomes a gigolo but no intimate details are mentioned. Heroine waits at his house babysitting his sister knowing he’s “working”. The second blackmail I mentioned in the review.
Recommended to: Readers that enjoy a NA with a YA vibe to it.
❤❤ Are you looking for a specific mix of ingredients for your next read?
FIND YOUR BOOK MATCH HERE!