Doing it at: 83%
Catnip: Male Escort; Strong Female Lead; Fake it till You Make It; Bad Writing
Shame Scale: Medium shame for wasting a whole day reading this not great book.
Fantasy Cast: Ryan Reynolds; Melissa Roxburgh
What do we taste like: like syrup and butter
Being a professional escort comes with its vices. To keep women from getting too clingy, stop them from dropping their panties, and silence them before they can blurt the L word, Rhett has made certain rules. He never breaks them.
1. No Kissing.
2. No Feelings.
3. And definitely, absolutely, no sex.
But when Aspen, a beautiful brunette, hires him to help repair her image to her family, things get complicated. Rhett’s never had a problem separating work from pleasure. But now work and pleasure seem to be one and the same.
Lets talk about that cover, it’s a great cover right? Handsome cover model, holding up his hand like he’s about to take his watch off and show you what’s what. I was sure that a book about a male escort with a cover that invokes fisting was going to be trashy! Then, nope.
Beautiful Entourage is the first in a series about male escorts that Mary bought the first TWO of (sorry Shortcake #2 is all you), and which I thought would be just what the trash book Dr called for after my disappointing bar baby book. It’s the story of Rhett, male escort, and Aspen, rich man’s daughter, who get together for business and then fall in love. I love a great fake romance story, it’s the premise for 85% of Hallmark Holiday Romances and those are my fav, so I really tried to give this one the benefit of the doubt for the first 30% or so. Despite the writing being cold and un-evocative and the story line being preposterous in places. And not preposterous in the just go with it way, but really like this is no one’s real life.
I want to be spoiler-y and maybe someone wants to experience this for themselves all innocent and fresh so scroll from Richard Gere in American Gigolo to Richard Gere in Pretty Woman if you want to know nothing.
The main reason Aspen has hired an escort is because she was recently dumped by her fiance, John, after he cheated on her with her cousin who he is now marrying. Aspen works at her father’s gas company, and he won’t leave her the company as long as she’s single because he doesn’t think it’s good for business for people to think she can’t keep a man. Her dad is AWFUL to her, like doesn’t look at her, believes lies about her, thinks she must be a dyke because she’s good at golf. The author takes this parental disapproval and verbal abuse so over the top that I just started rolling my eyes every time they had a scene with him. No one acts this way to their daughter who is already basically running your company, who is smart and beautiful, and has never had a scandal of her own making.
Not only is her dad horrid, her fiance stealing cousin is a grade A bitch who takes great pleasure in tormenting Aspen and reminding her at every turn that she stole her man, and that Aspen was so awful in bed that she couldn’t keep any man. This is so over done that its like watching a villain in a Disney Teen movie. Also against Aspen for seemingly no reason are all of her cousin’s friends, her aunt and uncle, and her little brother who is a bad rich boy caricature. He pours a glass of champagne over a waiter’s head at his father’s fund-raiser just for fun and then blames Aspen. Her dad believes him until Rhett corrects them. This is not a family dynamic you find with grown children in real life, it just isn’t.
For his part Rhett has a younger brother that he has to take care of because he has a debilitating fear of shadows. He thinks that Rhett owns a magical sword that can defeat the shadows and only feels safe outside when his brother escorts him. Baby brother is in his twenties, has received no therapy or medication for this craziness, and then is cured by Aspen giving him a plastic shadow sword of his very own. One piece of plastic and the life ruining condition of a lifetime is gone forever and he can frolic in the daylight.
I wish I was making this stuff up guys.
To top all this off, there is no action in Beautiful Entourage until 83%.
We certainly didn’t buy it because we wanted chaste games of Battleship and bad euphemisms for vaginas.
I will not be invoking the CoHo exception, and Beautiful Entourage is getting a D-. This is my second really disappointing book in a row, maybe I was due because I had a streak of books that gave me trash realness AND feels. My next read better be soul shaking, before I retreat to Real Books.