Sunday, February 8, 2015

Book Review: Red by B.G. Thomas

Leslie "Red" Parks was pretty surprised to find he was considered attractive enough to be a male escort. And once he started and the money came rolling in, he found he didn’t want to stop. For the first time in his life, people truly want him, and he likes that. A lot.

Kirk Toliver has never thought of himself as desirable either—which is why he is single. That, and he has spent years of his life caring for his ill mother. Before she passed away, she made him promise he would splurge on something crazy with the money she left him. So what’s crazier than hiring a male escort?

But neither expected that one night together could lead to what was missing in both their lives.
 Todd's Rating:

To me, a big part of this short read is about self-sacrifice and keeping promises to a recently departed, loving mother.
"She told me that she wanted me to spend her money -- and there was quite a bit of it. She said, ‘I’ve never done anything. I’ve never gone anywhere. And I want you to spend it.’ She said she didn’t want me to make the same mistake she had. She made me promise that I would fulfill some of my dreams and fantasies. She knew I was comfortable, with my business and my investments, and she wanted me to take her money and do something crazy."
But it was also about finally gathering up your courage to do what truly makes your life worth living.

Kirk is a 35 year old accountant and investor who's sacrificed his own life for years to take care of his ailing mother, who has cancer. But I see her biggest gift to her son as being not her money, but her desire to see him actually live his life to the fullest.

So with the money burning a hole in his bank account and the promise to his mother as a much-needed push forward, Kirk decides to go for what he wants, which is Red.

Kirk was fascinated by the younger Red from the moment they met at the ballet, when Red was spending the evening with one of Kirk's colleagues. A "paid" evening.

So months later, when Kirk discovers that Red's very expensive time can be rented, he makes a "date" with Red, only to freak out and bolt just when things were getting interesting. In other words, the paid portion of the program.

Although mortified by his behavior on their first date, Kirk finally makes another date with Red, which turns out much better. This time, they actually hit it off and Kirk begins to open up to Red about his life and his promise to his mother.

And when leaving, Red not only tears up Kirk's check, but he also begins to invite Kirk to spend time 'off the clock' (and outside of the bedroom) with him.

The more time that they spend with one another, the more they enjoy their days and evenings together, both men becoming more attached. As much from the easy companionship as from the sex. They just click.

Plus, Red knew that he couldn't escort forever, so he's been good about saving his money up and was starting to think about retiring even before meeting Kirk, so there were less issues about "giving up sex for money to be with you", which we normally see in this genre.

But both men are very insecure. Kirk knows that he's getting older and has a few more inches on his waistline and lines on his face than he would like, so he finds it difficult to believe that the extremely attractive, built and adorable escort might actually want to be with him.

And Red, aka Les, grew up being the fat red-headed kid and he's terrified of ever reverting back to that person again. So he has his own issues to work out.
“I hated myself, Kirk. I wouldn’t undress with the lights on because I didn’t want to see myself naked in the mirror. I hated having to take a shower in high school. I would see those bodies, the bodies of boys that everyone said were perfect, and I knew that wasn’t me. Then in college I lost weight. I worked out, and I got a body that was like what everyone said was perfect….”
But both men put in the hard work that it takes to begin dealing with their insecurities and I really enjoyed watching their relationship sprout and grow from their efforts. Then once the internal freak outs were done and they decided that they wanted a life together, we get our happily ever after.

My only slight criticism about the book was that, while the romance portions of the book were nice, the heat portion of the book could have used a few more logs on the fire.

My copy of this book was provided by the publisher for a fair, unbiased review.

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