Review Summary: A well done story about two men who never expected to fall in love, but their secrets could end any chance at a future together.
Every year, Jathan One-Moon faces increasing pressure that he marry and have children. What Jathan really wants is a male mate that can enjoy both playful sex and his more dominant nature. To tame his stress, Jathan orders a male escort from Spice ‘n’ Solace, the premier male brothel in the Galactic Alliance—and is thrilled to be sent a man whose air of innocence and obvious desire for Jathan arouse him like never before.
Jathan doesn’t know he has mistaken Kazha Deinos, the owner of Spice ‘n’ Solace, as his escort. Kaz doesn’t intend to pleasure Jathan personally, but his powerful masculinity is irresistible. Kaz has dreamed of a man who’d take charge and indulge his hidden cravings—a man just like Jathan.
With their explosive passion and unexpected tenderness, Jathan and Kaz soon want to stay together—if Jathan’s position and Kaz’s secrets don’t tear them apart…
Kaz owned the only all-male brothel in the Galactic Alliance, something which frustrated his friends Carlos and Draven who were constantly haranguing him to add female escorts to his line-up at Spice ‘n’ Solace because of the discounts he gave them, but Kaz was not interested in having female escorts. His father, and before him his grandfather had always had all-male brothels so this was a time-honoured tradition, although his father had nearly beaten him to death and broke his nose when he found out Kaz was gay, a reaction that was ironic from someone who ran a gay brothel. Carlos and Draven worked in professions that encouraged their “talent” for being vicious – they hated gay men and used them as punching bags and Kaz had to be on his guard constantly so that his friends would not discover he was gay.
Kaz’s other friend Vaughn owned a brothel that catered to both sexes, but because he was in competition with Spice ‘n’ Solace it seemed he did everything he could to steal Kaz’s most prestigious client, Jathan One-Moon. A series of recent incidents intended to put S ‘n’ S out of business had elevated the rivalry and feelings of animosity between Vaughn and Kaz.
Jathan was under pressure to marry because he was the sole remaining member of his family and he was responsible for negotiating an annual peace treaty with the members of the Ankylos Empire. Failure to seal the deal could mean the end of the human race, so every year Jay returned to Elora Ki to negotiate with the Ankylos. He frequented Kaz’s brothel whenever he was on Ki but had never met him. He loved his life except for the sword of Damocles hanging over his head – marriage to a female to produce heirs. The Alliance was concerned should anything happen to Jay because the Ankylos refused to negotiate with anyone but a member of his family. This year the pressure for him to get married seemed to be heightened and Jay was almost at the point of giving in.
The morning Jay arrived on Elora Ki there was a biohazard quarantine, likely a fake, but until it was investigated there was a total shutdown of everything in the sector that housed Spice ‘n’ Solace, including all communications. This created a major problem for Kaz because Jay would expect to be serviced but there would be no one available from S ‘n’ S until the quarantine was lifted. Since Kaz lived outside the designated area there was only one thing to do – meet Jay, find out his sexual preferences and hire a freelancer fast, or he would go to the competition.
When Kaz showed up where Jay was staying Jay mistook him for an escort and Kaz was so taken with the handsome negotiator he didn’t correct his impression or tell him who he really was, so Jay immediately took him into the bedroom for some fun and games. For Kaz the choice was easy – either spend a week having sex with the man of his dreams or tell him who he was and offer to find someone else to meet his needs. Kaz had been looking for a man who would fulfill his desire to be mastered and one look at Jay, who immediately demanded his submission, was music to his ears and his body. He had dreamed of a take-charge man but he had never had the nerve to find one because he always remembered his severe beating at the hands of his father. Jay needed someone who would acquiesce to his need for control and Kaz, with his innocent appearance and submissive tendencies, was perfect. They had the best sex either one had ever had and they fell headlong in love (or lust) with each other, but each man had secrets that could prevent their affair from becoming anything more than a week of fun.
This story started out well and I was very interested in the plot and the different characters. The author did a good job of world building although it was a bit complicated for such a short book. What I found surprising was how quickly Kaz’s character evolved as he assumed a new role which seemed at odds with his submissive personality, although he had always been interested in the issues for which he was advocating. Jay didn’t grow as much as I expected and at times, in the latter part of the story, he seemed to be deferring much more to Kaz.
There is insta-love and some over the top prose in the book which I didn’t like, however the mild BDSM was consistent with the characterizations and worked well in the context of the plot. Of course there was much filling and leaking of cocks and a lot of sex, so if this floats your boat you will love Spice ‘n’ Solace. The ending was so sweet it made my teeth ache, and every obstacle was easily overcome. However, I suppose this was to be expected in order for our protagonists to achieve their HEA, which made me wonder why Jay’s problem had been presented as insurmountable in the first place. The solution seemed perhaps too simple, but maybe simple is a good thing. Some readers will love the ending because there is an epilogue which ties everything up into a nice bow as our heroes walk into the sunset.