ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
“It started out as a dirty little secret, something to amuse myself with. I lived a boring existence—work, home, bed . . . and Gavin was a distraction. Maybe I should have left it there, but I hadn’t.”
First off, how do I get my hands on the second book of this series immediately? Because that cliffhanger was just cruel, yet makes me want to beg Kendall Ryan for an ARC of book two this very instant. This was my first Kendall Ryan book, and I think she just made a fan for life. I loved this.
Trigger warnings for stalking and depictions of past physical abuse.
The premise is one that any sappy, book loving, kinky, yet hopeless romantic (like me) would love. Our main protagonist, Emma, is a twenty-nine-year-old head librarian who doesn’t have a lot of money, but spends what she does have on fixing up her the old house her grandmother has left for her in the city. On her way to the library every morning she stops at a local coffee shop, where she orders a tea and can’t help but stare at a man that catches her attention every day while he orders his coffee.
“And every morning, promptly at ten to eight, Mr. Tall, Dark, and Sinful strolled inside and ordered a double shot of espresso to go.”
These two constantly come into this coffee shop at the same time, every day, for the past ten months, but they’ve only interacted once. That is, until one September day the sexy mystery man leaves his business card that only says:
Gavin and his two brothers, Cooper and Quinn, have a business that is a little on the unusual side, but you will find out the career path they chose to take is very near and dear to their hearts. Forbidden Desires is a company that hires, but also protects, escorts that go on dates with very rich, powerful, and successful people. The escorts are paid very well, and their only job is to go on a date with the men; they are never required to have sex or do anything they feel uncomfortable with.
Gavin is also struggling with something pretty dark and sad, which makes him feel like he is unable to get into another relationship. Once Emma follows up on the business card and meets with Gavin, they strike up a business proposition where she will be Gavin and his younger brother’s escort to high profile events.
“In that moment, I knew this wouldn’t be casual, knew I wouldn’t walk away from this in one piece.”
Obviously, a bunch of tension develops between Emma, Gavin, and Cooper, but it never feels like a love triangle. Emma has been Gavin’s ever since that first day in the coffee shop, even if they both are too stubborn to realize it. And I guess that’s why I’m giving this four stars, because I love Cooper. Like, what a sweet little cinnamon roll angel! I wish that he wasn’t part of the equation, even though I know he was just acting with his heart and trying to heal Gavin’s wounds, while also opening his eyes.
My favorite thing about this book was… Okay, well it was the romance and the sex scenes, let’s be real, but my second favorite thing about this book is that it is super sex positive! Like, this is one of the few books I’ve read that really puts sex workers in a positive light, and never shames them. There are also mini discussions about the importance to donate to campaigns that are trying to end human trafficking and I really appreciated it.
And I’d bet my bottom dollar that this series is going to not only tell all the brother’s stories, but also is going to make us fall a little in love with all of them.
Also, because I know most of you follow me for my fantasy reviews, I always feel it necessary to state that I rate erotic books differently than other books! I know many of the relationships are toxic and problematic and I completely understand that they wouldn’t be the healthiest and/or most ideal of starts for people in real life, but I love steamy reads and I rate them purely off my enjoyment. And Dirty Little Secret was nothing short of pure enjoyment!
I really, really enjoyed this book. And like I said above, I can’t wait to read more from Kendall Ryan now! If you guys are looking for a new steamy read, I completely recommend the start of this amazing series!
The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication.