Misadventures with a Book Boyfriend

Waterhouse. (Misadventures, Bk. 19). Mar. 2019. 232p. ISBN 9781642630794. pap. $12.99; ebk. ISBN 9781642630800. EROTICA
Struggling model Oliver Connely is trying to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation—namely, the lack of jobs coming down the pipeline. Inspiration strikes when he overhears a poolside clique of older women effuse about their "book boyfriends"—powerful, wealthy, sexy men whose eccentric behavior and irresistible allure could only be the work of fiction. Oliver dreams up a companionship service, Book Boyfriend, Inc., to fulfill these fantasies. His first session with enigmatic brunette Bailey, aka Melanie, blossoms into something more, and soon Oliver is even throwing around the "L" word—but drama ensues as details of Bailey's personal life are revealed to entwine with his best friend Skye's professional aspirations. Soon, Oliver finds himself stuck painfully in the middle of a political battle between girlfriend and best friend. Oliver is not presented as mature or likable at the novel's outset; however, Blue (No Curtain Call) imbues him with a spare yet weighty backstory that clarifies some of the model's harsher qualities and builds sympathy with the audience. Readers will delight in cocky yet fretful Oliver experiencing growth as he dives headfirst into his creative challenge; the metanarrative of a romance character learning how to "play" the part (and falling in love with reading in the process) is delightful. Assumed negative perceptions of escorting may dampen the enjoyment of Oliver's steamy sex sessions for some readers.
VERDICT This latest entry in the "Misadventures" series posits a gentle premise that veers quite sharply into political drama, while remaining consistently sexy throughout. Recommended.

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