Author: Caitlin Ricci
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: Fantastic science fiction with actual compromise between characters
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: For two decades Corbin Leroux has worked on the planet Wish as a high-priced companion. He loves his life where physical pleasure is encouraged and has no intention of quitting it. Corbin sees his clients almost as part of his family. Not even when bounty hunter Emmanuel Leoniste comes to kill him will Corbin roll over and give up his lifestyle.
Despite being a hired killer, Emmanuel lives by a strict moral code. Killing whores is acceptable, and easy. Or it was until he met up with Corbin. Worn down by the pesky Corbin’s resolve, Emmanuel accepts Corbin’s bribe and calls off the hit. But the truce might not last. Emmanuel’s mounting desires for Corbin cause problems. He refuses to allow anyone close enough to become intimate with him, especially someone like Corbin. Yet with each smile and soft kiss, Emmanuel’s emotional shield is dismantled piece by piece.
Review: When I started reading this book, I did not realize it was the second in a series; however, having read the book without reading the first, I can tell you that you do not need to read them in order. While characters from the first book appear in this one, the situation is explained enough for new readers to understand. That said, I definitely will go back to read the first because this promises to be an excellent series.
Corbin is an aspasian in Asiq on the planet Wish. He is a paid companion to any number of men—and some women—who seek pleasure. One night, however, Corbin is nearly killed when a bounty hunter arrives to take him out. Ever the pragmatic one, Corbin offers the bounty hunter more money to protect him. And Emmanuel takes him up on that. Thus begins the rocky relationship between Corbin and Emmanuel, the high-priced companion and the bounty hunter.
I absolutely loved this book. Told completely from Corbin’s perspective, the novel focuses on Corbin’s life in Asiq and his relationships with his manager, Monroe, brother Thierry (both from the first book), and Emmanuel. Though the two might seem incompatible, they nevertheless are drawn to each other. Emmanuel pushes all of Corbin’s buttons, especially when he keeps referring to him as a whore. But Corbin is much more than that. He is a courtesan. He knows how to entertain, how to please, and how to empathize with his clients. Yes, he has sex with most of them, but he can do more than that. And he enjoys it. As part of the Sythe race, he can feel more sensitively than other species, and his pleasure is carried over into his clients. Emmanuel has a hard time with this, however, until he tries to truly get to know Corbin.
What made this book stronger than most was the struggles that the characters face in understanding each other. While the attraction is there, both know they need more than that to keep it going. They also know they cannot give up themselves to please the other, as ultimately they would be unhappy. But they are still drawn to each other. So what are they to do? Emmanuel wants Corbin to give up being an aspasian because he cannot deal with his lover having sex with other people. Corbin loves giving others pleasure and doesn’t want to give that up. By the same token, Corbin fears for Emmanuel’s safety when he is out on a bounty, and wants him to be closer. But the rough bounty hunter enjoys punishing criminals. And therein lies the problem.
They do, however, reach a compromise. I won’t say what it is here because I don’t want to ruin the book, but I was pleased because while both gave something up, they did it for each other and were able to come to good terms.
I hope there is a third book coming along, because Resan is a fascinating character, and I would love to read more about him. There’s also the young Arin who may be part of it was well. I guess only time will tell.
I highly recommend this book if you’re interested in science fiction. But as a word of warning, it is listed as BDSM. While I consider it very mild, there are some rougher scenes and some potential non-con. Plus, there’s the whole business of attempted murder. If you can get beyond that, however, the book is completely worthwhile.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go read To the Highest Bidder, the first in the series.
You can buy Fantasy for a Gentleman here: