Title: Fantasy For Sale
Author: Sage Marlowe
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Publisher: Me and the Muse Publishing
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Length: Novel (165 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by J.K. Hogan
Review Summary: This book was an unexpected journey that definitely defied what I thought I’d be reading based on the blurb.
Cam is young, sinfully sexy and willing to play without limits, a combination which makes him a fantasy turned to flesh for men and women alike – and he’s for sale.
Nate is curious when it comes to carnal delights but hasn’t found the right man to explore his desires with.
When a friend buys Nate a few hours of pleasure with Cam, it’s not much of a surprise that Nate ends up intrigued. He keeps coming back for more and the attraction between them appears to be mutual but while Nate finds himself falling for the sexy hooker, Cam makes no secret of the fact that for him, sex is just a job.
Determined to win him over, Nathan tries to show him that sex is about more than physical satisfaction but Cam’s walls seem impenetrable until a dramatic event forces him to reveal some of his secrets and Nate begins to understand that Cam pays more than just the price for the reality behind the fantasy.
The blurb for Fantasy For Sale read like a male “Pretty Woman” type plot, but it didn’t turn out that way at all. I don’t often read books this short, because I always feel like the “I love you’s” are rushed to fit in, but that was not the case with Fantasy for Sale.
Nate’s best friend Cynthia hires an escort to go with her to a work function, and then pays him for sex. She uses Nate’s spare bedroom for the encounter—which I did find quite strange, but apparently that was the kind of friendship they had—and Nate runs into him in the bathroom the next morning. Cam is, of course, perfect in Nate’s eyes and because of his profession, he’s good at working it. Nate is instantly smitten, and Cynthia decides to “buy” him the day with Cam.
After that day, they have a couple more encounters, and Nate becomes infatuated with Cam. He tries to look past the “working boy” and find out Cam’s wants and preferences. Cam doesn’t make it easy. He’s been trained to give the client whatever they’re after, and make it believable. Nate finds this exceedingly frustrating, because he wants to get to know Cam as a person, and to understand why he does what he does. Nate never really tries to tell Cam not to be a hooker, at least not through the majority of the book, he just wants to know how someone gets to that point.
Nate, being a writer, even convinces Cam to sit down with him for an interview to tell his life story. He only gets a few questions answered before Cam freaks out and disappears for over a month. They cross paths again, however, and are put in a position to bond even further, though Cam still keeps most of the secrets of his past hidden.
There were only two things I just didn’t get about this one. First, I just don’t think it fit that a supposedly beautiful, successful woman like Cynthia would hire a hooker in the first place. It’s explained in the book as it took a lot of the insecurity out of the physical relationship, and there were no “dating games” to contend with, but it just felt a little flimsy for me. If I’d been Nate, I would have been just a bit worried about her.
The second thing was a big one. Keith. I hated him. He was Nate’s boyfriend who just appeared one day—the author explained that they had started going out during the month Cam disappeared, but it was “told” rather than “shown.” Supposedly they had an open relationship, but Keith seemed incredibly jealous and clingy for someone who regularly had sex with others. I’ve never been in an open relationship, but I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be that way. And he was basically just a giant asshat to Nate most of the time, but again, it may have been the fact that the bad times were “shown” and the good times were “told.” So he was a jerk most of the time, and Nate would get mad, but immediately just get over it or give in to whatever Keith wanted. I wanted to punch Keith in the face. Cam or no Cam, I kept wondering why Nate just didn’t break up with him.
Cam’s character develops in a way that I didn’t expect. Instead of being the suave escort who sees the error of his ways while falling in love, he is revealed to be a damaged, insecure individual, mostly in need of a friend.
Without revealing too much, I’ll say that they get separated one more time, for much longer. When they finally found their way back to each other, the physical connection was still there, but they realized they needed to relearn who they really were together. That part was well done—they didn’t just fall into each other’s arms, screw, and live happily ever after.
[spoiler] For those who are strictly HEA fans, this was not one. It was definitely a HFN… Cam didn’t even get to the point where he could admit he loved Nate. I didn’t mind it, because it was more realistic, but just so you know in case you’d be disappointed. Possibly it could be that way because a sequel is planned. I don’t know for sure. [/spoiler]
To sum up, this book packed a lot of heavy stuff into a fairly short length. It was done in such a way that it actually felt like I read a much longer book. I liked that, because I don’t normally go for anything under 200 pages. It could have been insta-love, it could have been an overdone trope, but it wasn’t. I would definitely recommend this one!