Escort by Skye Warren is about a male prostitute who falls in love with his client.
Man, do I hate when that happens. I mean, you’re just there for a night of good fun and then suddenly this sexy dude is in love with you and can’t stop thinking about your freckles, and it’s such a hassle, honestly.
Anyway, this is a quick read (or was for me) told entirely in the hero’s first person POV, featuring a lot of sex ,and not a lot of time spent resolving conflict. It does contain graphic references to a rape, so trigger warning for that. It’s a fun read, and it’s super hot, but it’s also a little weak when it comes to the plot.
Hugo Bellmont is a high-end sex worker. He fled from a childhood filled with poverty and trauma in Tangiers to make a successful career for himself in the United States. When the book opens, Hugo is on his way to meet a client at the penthouse of an expensive hotel.
When Hugo enters the penthouse he realizes his client, Beatrix, isn’t staying there as a guest but rather lives there. He also finds out that Bea wants him to take her virginity, which is a thing he hasn’t done before and he’s confused as to why she’s hired him for that.
He’s also got crazy insta-lust for Bea, especially for her freckles. This is book is a cozy little fantasy about great food and great sex with a handsome man while ensconced in a luxurious tower/ penthouse. In some ways it’s a little bit of a Rapunzel story, minus the hair. Part of that fantasy is a hero who has seen everything/ can have anything being so dazzled by the relatively “ordinary” heroine that he falls almost instantly in love. Usually with this trope, he’s a rock star, movie star, secret prince, but in this case male escort works, too. Bea isn’t an amazingly beautiful woman, but Hugo can’t stop thinking about her freckles, damnit. He’s been with a lot of women, but it’s Bea who drives him wild.
Bea and Hugo spend several Saturdays together and then start seeing each other outside of “work.” Hugo learns that Bea never leaves the hotel, rarely even leaving her apartment. Her parents were murdered and that trauma has left her feeling profoundly unsafe. The only place she is comfortable is the penthouse, and if tries to leave she has debilitating panic attacks.
So how does Bea manage to afford such a place? Of course she has a wealthy, older male benefactor who was also her guardian after her parents died. Of course he now has designs on Bea.
Also we find out that Hugo came to the United States and has been saving all his escort money (which is apparently a lot) to get revenge on the man who raped his mother years ago in Tangiers. His mother was a housekeeper at a high end hotel and one night a guest
So guess who that guy is?
So that’s a lot of conflict, and if this book had one big flaw, it’s that it wraps up way too quickly. We are dealing with two violent childhood traumas, one of which lead to agoraphobia and severe anxiety, and that’s a ton to work through. Like a lifetime of therapy. It’s also a lot of trauma for me to absorb as a reader, and I don’t feel like I was given enough time to process it.
If you can handle minimal conflict resolution and a little bit of Yoda-speak, Escort is a sex-heavy (and those sex scenes are very, very hot) romantic fantasy with a hero who is quickly and overwhelmingly in love with the heroine. It’s a sexy fairy tale, but it did stretch my credulity.
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