The Devil's Pawn by Elizabeth Finn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I could tell within 5 minutes of starting THE DEVIL'S PAWN that I wouldn't be getting very much work done until I'd read every last page. Elizabeth Finn wastes no time grabbing the reader's attention as the story begins with Ashton standing naked before the men who manage the escort business she's interviewing with as they heatedly discuss her body and her sexual inexperience as if she's not even there.
Forced to pay off her deceased father's $5 Million debt to the mob, Ashton has no choice but to earn as much money as possible as quickly as possible if she hopes to stay alive. After 5 years of living in dirty hotels or on the streets and getting beaten when she can't earn enough to satisfy her father's creditors, she knows that while this job may not seem ideal to most, it's her best option by a landslide.
Her new manager, dark and brooding Derek Pennington, seems much less enthusiastic about her prospects since her virgin status is not exactly the norm in this line of work and he will have to teach her quite a bit to get her ready to be an escort.
While Derek seems determined to keep all the escorts he manages at arms' length, Ashton's differences seem to anger him in ways she can't comprehend. Despite his hard exterior, she finds herself unable to avoid her attraction to him, especially during their sexual tutelage. The requirement that he teach her the ropes means they have to be close physically whether Derek likes it or not, but it doesn't mean he has to ignore the other escorts and when he does, Ashton realizes he might not be as disgusted by her as she once believed. Thus begins a romance that is filled with angst, secrets, and passion.
Within only a few chapters, the reader is completely absorbed into the story and the characters. Ashton and Derek are well-fleshed out with a lot of depth and I could identify completely with each of their emotions. The sex scenes are smoking hot and amazingly written – I was swept away with their romance and the inevitable despair that the
end of Ashton's training is bound to bring.
Elizabeth Finn also did a great job with the minor roles. Liz (as head escort) and Frederick (as another floor's escort manager) are sweet and endearing while Mr. Grayson is every bit the creepy, disgusting escort owner. They too are easy to imagine and visualize as you're caught up in Ashton's journey.
My only point of contention was in the created world itself; I had a hard time understanding how an escort company in modern day New York City with advertised sex for sale didn't seem to have any concerns with authorities shutting them down or discovering them. Mr. Grayson didn't seem to have any concern traipsing his escorts to the gynecologist and the tailor who seemed perfectly aware of what the escorts did for a living. I would have perhaps liked some mention of how there was either a loophole in the law or they were somehow keeping the sex for sale aspect of the business from the police. I also thought Ashton saying she didn't want Derek to find out her secret when it seemed pretty open and shut from the get-go was a little strange. I kept expecting there to be an extra reveal since she seemed so secretive. This was just an observation though and in no way took away from the incredible world that Elizabeth Finn created.
I loved and rooted for Ashton and Derek and their ill-fated romance! I thought the concept itself was genius – a completely different story from any I've read recently and such a perfect balance of male dominance and emotional sensitivity.
If you are in the mood for a steamy and completely believable romance with lots of angst and obstacles – look no further than THE DEVIL'S PAWN – you won't be disappointed!
**Copy provided by the author/publisher for an honest review.
**Reviewed by Preppea on I ♥ Bookie Nookie Reviews and The Romance Reviews.
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