ARC Review: The Fifth Favor: Shelby Reed

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Imagine a world where a woman’s every pleasure, every wish and wildest fantasy is granted by the man of her dreams…

Such a world exists inside the walls of Avalon, an elite private club that caters to women’s deepest desires. Billie Cort, a reporter from the raunchy magazine Illicit, has come to Avalon to interview the club’s most popular escort, the breathtakingly sexy Adrian.

Expecting nothing less from a place like Avalon, Billie is still stunned at how effortlessly Adrian brings out her sexual side. Adrian, too, is surprised to find himself thinking about Billie long after their interview is over. Adrian, of course, is irresistible, but Billie isn’t accustomed to being pursued by outrageously attractive male escorts. Adrian wants her, but soon realizes that she can fill a role in his life that’s more than just physical….

The Fifth Favor originally caught my attention with all the amazing reviews I saw pop up on my Goodreads feeds, and then again, when I took a closer look at the synopsis, as it sounded fun and unique.  Even with all the five star reviews, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from this read since I have never read an escort novel before or this author for that matter. Plus, this week hasn't been a good read week for me and I was somewhat dreading the thought of starting another “new book/author.”  Thankfully it didn't come anywhere close to disappointing! I absolutely love when I find a book that surpasses my expectations and pleasantly surprises me. The Fifth Favor is my first, and definitely not my last, read from this author. I am wicked glad I gave Ms. Reed a chance; her writing took me straight out of my book funk.  Shelby Reed’s writing of Adrian and Billie was quick paced, well developed, and affecting. Their journey held me enthralled from start to finish, the plot line was enticing, the hero sexy as fuck, and the heroine a sassy spitfire!

After breaking down the story, I've determined that while I loved the premises, my favorite part was the characters. While I really adored Billie, Adrian is the one who held me fascinated the most. Holy hell, I was in a state of infatuation with this man through the entire book…and thereafter.  Adrian’s character was an enigma, intriguing to say the least. I found myself riveted as I watched the layers of his extremely well built, complex, and sophisticated facade unravel to reveal an amazingly vulnerable man underneath. He was an escort because he enjoyed the pleasures and advantages it brought him, not because he was crippled from some past tragedy. He made no excuse for his choice of profession; he didn't feel the need to apologize for simply enjoying the desire to fuck (I use this word because he didn't make love) and please. And quite frankly, why should he?

When was the last time you met a heroine who didn't plead and have an emotional shit fit when things started to break down? When was the last time you read about a heroine with a backbone, one who stood her ground? And when is the last time you read about a heroine who wasn't so over the top annoying?  Well look no further, Billie was a refreshing change from the norm. She was such a fun heroine! I adored her ability to stay strong, as well as her take no crap stance on life, even in the face of adversity.

Neither character was the least bit damaged; no one was browbeaten or mentally/emotionally defeated. These two were functional, adaptable, and best of all, mentally stable. I loved the fact that there were no deep tragic memories the characters or I had to overcome and recover from.  Don’t get me wrong, the story still held a lot of  depth, just not the typical I’m so broken down I need to be saved before I can build myself back up story line. This in itself was so refreshing. I’ll admit that as much as I love stories that make my emotions feel as though they just rode the highest roller coaster in the world, it was a nice switch to read  a story that didn't leave me feeling wrung out, due to all the heartache and drama. The Fifth Favor was a perfect blend of fight and flight, intrigue, infatuation, as well as dirty and flirty.

I would highly recommend The Fifth Favor as well as Shelby Reed!

Thank you, Penguin/ Berkley/NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review an ARC of The Fifth Favor in exchange for my honest opinion.

About the Author:

Shelby Reed

At the age of ten, Shelby Reed wrote her first romance with Prince Charming — literally! — as the hero, and it's been non-stop story spinning ever since.

Despite the idealistic place from which she embarked, she's partial to writing realistic, flawed, multi-faceted characters, lush emotion, and the ever-possible happy ending.

While currently published in the sub-genre of "Romantica" with Ellora's Cave, she hopes to explore other literary horizons such as suspense, fantasy, and young adult romance in the future.

When not pecking away at the computer keyboard, Shelby enjoys creative projects such as portraiture and decorating, dabbles in Tarot, and lives a bucolic life with her own Prince Charming in North Florida.


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