Price of a Kiss (Forbidden Men #1) by Linda Kage
Oh, who am I kidding? For a freshman in college, I have to have the worst dating track record ever.
It’s no wonder love is the last thing on my mind when Mason Lowe enters my life. But the chemistry between us is like bam! Our connection defies logic. And he’s just so freaking hot. Being around him makes me feel more alive than I’ve ever felt before. I even like bickering with him. He could be my soul mate...except for one teeny tiny glitch.
He's a gigolo.
Boy, do I know how to pick them.
I actually started this series out of order. I read book five first--A Perfect Ten. I read that one, fell in love, and then fell head over heels to jump into where the series began. You'd think since I adored the fifth book that I'd go into this with SUPER IMPOSSIBLY HIGH expectations, right? But I didn't. A Perfect Ten was such a huge deal to me (as you'll see in my review in a few days!) that I dialed back my expectations several notches before starting this book.
But you know what? I didn't need to.
Now, that does not mean this book and A Perfect Ten are equal with my love. Not at all. BUT. I do love them both. I love--lovelovelove--Price of a Kiss. I love them both, but in different ways. A Perfect Ten was catastrophically phenomenal. But Price of a Kiss? It tore out my heart and soul and stomped on them both. For something like 90% of this book.
I was worried going into this book because the main guy character is a gigolo. He's a gigolo and I am literally the most jealous reader EVER. I don't want my guy characters spending any time that isn't strictly platonic (and even then I'm kind of giving the side-eye unless they're related or one/both of them are in a seriously committed relationship) with other girls. So Mason being a gigolo was sure to grate on my nerves. Except... it didn't. It honestly didn't. It tore out my heart more than once, but I didn't get angry and hate everything. Why?
Because MASON. Mason is one of the greatest people. He got sucked into being a gigolo at 18, before he could think and realize the consequences. And now, at the point where Reese meets him, he can't exactly hang up his hat and go home. He's in kind of deep. It's not a simple, easy 1, 2, 3 fix. But he does not want to do it anymore. CLEARLY. Not once does Mason seem pleased with his job. Not once does he make it sound like fun or a dream or something he's not just stuck with. THAT, paired with how amazing of a human he is, made the fact that he was a gigolo bearable.
Reese was also pretty cool. I loved that she jumped in and tried to become Mason's friend--no expectations attached. All she wanted was to be his friend. Of course, their relationship grew, but it wasn't unhealthy or one-sided. It wasn't to use Mason for his body. Because Reese rocks. She has her own past she's dealing with, which added some interesting background (and sometimes focus) for the story.
The romance was slow-burning. Reese and Mason started out as friends. Somewhat reluctant friends. Then their relationship grew...and grew...and grew...until it turned into something more. Something that made my heart dance. These two as a couple made me smile so hard. They deserve to have each other and be happy. I was rooting for them the whole way through.
The writing was great--it'd have to be in order for me to FEEL so much. When I say my heart and soul took a beating for almost this entire story, I am not kidding. So much tension and worry. So much trying to figure out HOW these two would make it to their happy ending, or if they even could. The plot kept me on the edge of my seat for pretty much the whole novel. I read it in a day because I couldn't NOT. I literally NEEDED to get to the end to see how things went. There's seriously a whole chunk in the middle of this book that I need to go through and re-read to highlight my favorite things because I sped through it so fast the first time, not stopping for anything. I was so INTO this story.
Overall, Price of a Kiss is a novel I loved. It ripped my heart to pieces, and then pasted them back together quickly and efficiently before the end. So much emotion is packed into this book, so much romance, so much tension. The entire thing is beautiful. It hurt me so much, but I loved every single second of it. I am so hooked on this series and look forward to reading more! If they're all as addicting as the ones I've read so far, I'm in for the best treat.
5 stars - A beautiful novel that tore my heart to shreds. Loved this book and can't wait to read more of the series!