Summary Review: This story started off well, but as usual the author didn’t seem to be able to maintain the characterizations and the plot suffered as a result.
This review contains what could be considered spoilers
Trent Barlow is a businessman. Over the past few years he has amassed six businesses—one, he has to keep secret. Phil Johnson is Trent’s right hand man. He has been with him since the beginning—yet they hardly know each other—until Trent bids on a permanent place to house his secret business and starts receiving anonymous phone calls. The voice is husky, erotic and offers to fulfill his wildest fantasy. Has word of his secret business leaked out? Is Trent a victim of his own deception? Or has an admirer simply chosen to tease him?
I keep trying to find a book by this author that I could absolutely love, but I’m either choosing the wrong books or they are all the same, because so far I haven’t been able to find one of Stone Richards’ books that thrill me.
Talk Dirty to Me started off promising because Trent Barlow was a young businessman who had some strategic objectives he wanted to achieve. His latest venture involved the purchase of an old property in the town where he lived, so that he could turn it into an office complex to house his many business enterprises, including the latest – a phone sex service which had become incredibly lucrative. Of course he didn’t want information about the adult phone business to leak out, or he could lose the property he was bidding on, so it was kept very confidential. After he outmanoeuvred members of the city council and sealed the deal without them finding out about his latest business, he was very happy and all set to celebrate. He invited his regular f**k buddy Ron, a private detective, for a quickie but Ron was busy as usual, on a stakeout, and he was not at all amenable to Trent joining him while he was working even for a few minutes.
The next day at work Trent received a phone call that curled his toes and made him concerned that his phone sex business was in jeopardy, as the voice on the other end of the line told him exactly what the person would do to him, in great detail, and made it clear that he or she knew all about Trent’s business. The sexual nature of the call excited him so much his heart started to race, but he couldn’t figure out if the voice, which was obviously disguised, belonged to a man or woman or even if the call originated from inside the building. Since he had no leads he decided to go to lunch with Phil Johnson the manager of the of the phone sex line. He wasn’t sure about Phil’s sexual orientation but thought it wouldn’t be too difficult to find out. As they got to know each other better he realized that Phil had always lived in the City of Monroe, Wisconsin, so he asked him about potential contractors who would be able to undertake the work of upgrading the old building to bring it up to code.
That night, as he was still sexually excited by the phone call, he tried to entice his old standby Ron in a little bit of fun, but it was no deal as Ron was on another stakeout, so Trent decided to forget about Ron and go to a local gay bar to check out the action. Of course the first person he met at the Flamingo Club was Phil. Surprise! Surprise! This is where the story went downhill rapidly – the characterization, plot and dialogue. Trent and Phil were feeling each other out when another man, Randy, inserted himself between them and tried to hit on Phil. It was obvious that he and Phil knew each other, perhaps too well, however Phil didn’t seem interested in being with Randy. Instead of standing his ground, Trent the suave businessman decided to hide out in the bathroom until Randy moved on. When he went into the bathroom there there two men having sex so he hid again, this time in a stall, until they were finished. After he returned to the bar he was still embarrassed at witnessing the men having sex in public, which again was odd and definitely not consistent with his persona since he had been out for a while and surely must have seen encounters like this before in public bathrooms.
Trent was acting in character and this story was playing well until the bar scene and Randy’s appearance, and then everything fell apart.
There were spelling errors such as “sleep was illusive” instead of “elusive,” and at times Trent talked to himself and wasn’t picking up clues about the identity of the mystery caller. Also, some of the dialogue was silly as it moved in a different direction:
“Do you believe in karma?”
“No. I think we make our own destiny.”
“Darling, the universe is vast. There are forces that pull each of us in different directions. Don’t you think you have to be in the right place at the right time in order to reach maximum potential.”
“What the hell did you say?”
Phil laughed softly. “I believe in fate and cosmic probability.”
I gave Talk Dirty To Me 3 stars because there was a real effort to make the book a little more than the usual bland romance with no details about the protagonists’ business or personal lives. In this case there was quite a bit of information about Trent’s business and I thought the author should get some credit for that aspect of the story.
Talk Dirty to Me would be of interest to fans of this author.