Rating: 3 stars out of 5
I enjoyed this story, most likely because I enjoy both this boyfriend-for-hire trope and RJ Scott’s writing—alone or in collaboration with Meredith Russell. Kaden is the boyfriend hired through the same agency as featured in book one, Darcy. He’s to provide stability and a love interest for Ryan, a young Hollywood actor whose recorded homophobic spiel hit social media and sent his ratings plummeting.
Actually Ryan Levesque is a nice guy, and the recording didn’t reveal who he was speaking about, nor did it capture everything, including the why of what he said. He was telling someone off, someone with whom he had been in an abusive relationship, someone with financial power to harm Ryan’s career if this someone’s identity became known. But no one knows these facts, and it’s halfway through the story before Ryan tells Kaden the details, even though by then, over the course of their fake relationship, they’ve become close.
The story works in the usual way—the guys start to enjoy the fake kisses and hand-holding, and eventually end up in bed, but Kaden holds onto his own secrets too. When Ryan’s secret starts to come out and another young man is involved, Ryan steps up to the plate and is supportive to the guy who is now in his former position. As I said, it’s a nice story, but a little fluffy, even considering the past abusive relationship. To be honest, I had to do some major imagination-stretching around some of the circumstances toward the end. Reality is not quite as easy as it seems in a book and I couldn’t quite grasp believability of what happened.
Also, because the guys didn’t start to have a relationship until the latter half of the book and the story faded out shortly after the issue with Ryan’s past lover was resolved, when the epilogue takes place two years later, it’s evident that much of Ryan’s and Kaden’s emotional growth has taken place off-page. Their relationship is sealed during that off-page, two-year period also, and they are committed to each other. I would have likely rated this higher if there was more substance revealed to readers instead of being left to the imagination.
Since abuse is mentioned in this story and past emotional and sexual abuse is included, this story may trigger some readers. On the flip side, overall, this is a sweet and simple boyfriend-for-hire trope so those not triggered by mention of abuse and who are looking for an easy read should like this one.
The cover by Meredith Russell is done in a light-blue background that shows a beach house overlooking the ocean in the lower panel and two men embracing, their eyes closed—symbolic of an endearing kiss at the beginning or end. It’s very attractive and suits the story perfectly.
ebook, 150 pages
Published August 10th 2019
SeriesBoyfriend for Hire #2