Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Review: Mister Romance by Leisa Rayven

Title: Mister Romance
Series: Masters of Love #1
Author: Leisa Rayven
Release date: April 30, 2017
Cliffhanger: No
Rating: 4.5 stars


Max Riley is the man of your dreams. Or at least he will be, for a price.

As his alter-ego Mister Romance, Max is a drop-dead gorgeous escort who makes romantic fantasies come to life. No sex, just swoon-worthy dates to die for, and the cream of New York's socialites can't get enough. Whether they want a dominating billionaire, bad boy with a heart of gold, hot geek, sexy biker, or best friend who loves them from afar, Max can make it all happen, but he's careful to keep his real identity a secret.

Enter investigative journalist Eden Tate. Having caught wind of the urban legend of Mister Romance from a lovestruck client, Eden is determined to publish a scathing expose on Max and his ability to swindle lonely society women out of their fortunes.

Desperate to protect his anonymity and his clients, Max challenges Eden to give him three dates. If she doesn't fall in love with him, she can run her story with his blessing. If she succumbs to his charms, the story dies.

Cynical Eden has no doubt she can resist his fake romance personas, but when the real Max admits he’s falling for her, she has to decide if the professional liar is telling the truth, or if the passionate man with the mysterious past is just one more character designed to con her out of her career-making story.

Don’t miss this sizzling new standalone from the internationally best selling author of Bad Romeo, Broken Juliet, and Wicked Heart.

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Mister Romance really took me by surprise. Having never read this author before, I've been curious about her work since seeing her Starcrossed series gain such success. I think what really caught me off guard the most was how much humor was infused into this story. Eden and her sister Ash were a bottomless well of belly laughs. Their teasing and witty sarcastic conversations were enough to keep me turning the pages eager for more. Throw in the ever elusive and mysterious Max Riley, and you have a recipe for hours of fun. This was not a short read, the page count hits over 400 pages. But I never felt as if it was dragging with these very well developed and likable characters.

Mister Romance is about a woman who doesn't do romance and a man who makes his living off of it. But it's more to him than a means to support himself. The catalyst that pointed him to his career ran deeper than purely selfish monetary gain. (Though, his prices are exorbitant.) However, we don't find out what's behind the man of many masks until much later. When Eden discovers New York's biggest secret, she's a woman on a mission. Max is her ticket out of her dead-end job at the entertainment website Pulse. If she can pull off an expose on Max and reveal his high society client list, it would launch her floundering career.

What’s he providing to these rich housewives of NYC that their million-dollar lifestyles and powerful husbands aren’t? That’s the big question. And if you figure out the answer, it’s going to be one hell of a story.”

What I really liked about the plot was the fact that their relationship didn't grow from her deceit. Max was as sharp as they come and always three steps ahead of her attempts to infiltrate his business. He knew right from the very start what her game was with him and he was upfront with her about what he knew. There was no entrapment or duplicity going on while their feelings were forming. This is something that tends to bother me in general. On the opposing side, I did feel as if Max was a bit too hard to read for my taste for much of the book. Even past the halfway point, it was hard to get a handle on what his true emotions and reactions were towards Eden. Because life was the ultimate stage and he was the star player, I was having to distinguish what was real.

Eden was one tough woman to crack. She was carrying loads of resentment and hurt from her past, and that was a heavy burden to overcome. As we see Max start to open up to her, she held her heart behind a locked door, unwilling to share the key. Not only is she distrustful of him because of his career choices, as a man she couldn't trust him any more than the losers she gives her time to. She's made a habit of keeping all of her relationships casual, with men who aren't a risk to her peace of mind. But Max is able to see through her defense mechanisms and show her that risk is worthwhile when the reward is worth fighting for.

He cups my face and urges me to look into his eyes. “There’s one important difference between him and me.”“Which is?”“I have no idea how he treated you like you were invisible. When I’m with you, you’re all I see.”

As Max's history is finally revealed, understanding dawns about why he's chosen his unusual career path. Not only owning up to his past mistakes, he was trying to make amends the only way he knew how. Trying to make a difference and become a person that he could be proud of. And though Eden's eyes are opened as well, it may be too late to back out of this story that her future in journalism hinges on. Honestly, I wasn't sure how these two would realistically overcome the situation they found themselves in, but I think the author pulled it off with flying colors. All of my initial questions over Max's motivations and emotions were laid to rest.

I was extremely impressed with Leisa Rayven's storytelling abilities, and her capability in creating realistically human characters in a very out of the ordinary plot. This book was unpredictably funny, super flirty, fast-paced, and high on entertainment value. Without a doubt, I would read more in the future from this author, and most especially any future books in this series. She's hooked a new reader in me, and I can't wait to see what she has in store for us next.


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