But she applies for private porn-film job for 10 days for $1M with her unseen interviewer, the mysterious but successful pornstar "Q".
28yo hardened Hero is 2nd-gen NYC real-estate mogul & son of the city's governor. He does business by day
For the past 10 years, he's been obsessed with his need to avenge the death of his beloved mother.
And this porn film with heroine is the last part of his revenge plan before the big reveal.
She doesn't know that the owner of the office building she works at is the same mysterious masked lover "Q".
Heroine starts falling for both of them yet gets disturbed at some things she's finding out.
She's also getting worried that her past will soon catch up with her. And, when it does, she learns the truth about Hero. What does she do about their relationship?
This book is not as salacious as it sounds. This Cox book(my 1st one & definitely will be reading more of hers) is emotionally deep, suspenseful, and evocative. The book title first grabbed my attention, thinking it was just smut disguised as romance. But the book blurb and the Goodread reviews made it sound captivating & mysterious. So, I went for it. Boy, did I! It's more lengthy than an average romance novel but I read it in 1 sitting(really more like lying down). I ended up staying til dawn, reading this book. Who needs sleep, when you have a really good book?
Great characterization. Heroine was forced to work as a prostitute at age 17 in a disguised brothel in central California for 5 years, before she managed to run away to NYC. You'd think she'd be a hardened character due to being a hooker. She did have grit but she also retained her caring, thoughtful, & kind side, while she played pretend to do her prostitute job. I think, spending 15 years of her life with her beloved mother, who also worked as prostitute at the same place, grounded her. As well as her big secret:
-------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details--------
Heroine's mother was secretly pregnant with her sister, when she was allowed to leave the brothel with her child heroine. The biological father of both heroine and her sister was kept in the dark about the pregnancy. Because their father was the brothel owner (I call him 'the pimp"). Her pimp father also happened to be the chief sheriff of their little but corrupt town. Heroine was told that her bio father was the assistant of her real father until she found out later that her pimp was actually her bio dad, when she got hold of some documents from his office safe. It was her pimp father that sold her to the highest bidder at age 17 that began her forced life as a hooker. She was careful to relay messages and money to her younger sister, who was living with her foster parents. But her pimp father seemed to have find out about her younger sister, according to the safe's documents. Since her sister was only 17, heroine feared that her father had the same nefarious plans to pimp her out at his brothel too. Trouble was he couldn't find her sister's whereabouts since heroine had moved her & her foster parents to a secret location. Pretty much all the money she received from her prostitution job went to keeping her sister safe and sound.
The other reason why heroine ran away from the brothel was due to killing her pimp father's henchman. His henchman was blackmailing her for sex in exchange for not revealing to her father that she'd tampered with his safe. Before he could do the deed with her, she heard him reveal on the phone to her father that her father knew all along about her tampering with his safe & allowed his henchman to have his way with her. Thus, she shot him with the gun from her father's open safe and then jetted out of there.
Heroine's plan was for the $1million to buy out her sister from her gradually-bankrupted pimp father. Her sister only had a few more months before she turned 18 and legally out of being under her father's parental rights. So, she planned on giving him money each month until her sister's 18th birthday.
NOTE: All her sex scenes with Hero are filmed privately, with just the 2 of them in the room. But with automated cameras all around the room. Hero has control of the editing & dispensing of the videos, which are bought by the highest bidder before filming even begins. One of the bidders is Hero's father, who doesn't know that Hero is pornstar Q.
NOTE2: Hero had a sexual relationship with his psychologist/psychiatrist for 10 years. She came on to him at 17 and he usually let her oral him. A few times sex. Soon after he met heroine (as in a day or 2 after), Hero let his therapist oral him because he wanted to fight the attraction to heroine that made him only want her. He couldn't get it up as vigorous as his therapist was working. It was only thinking of heroine that made him get an erection but then he quickly put a stop to therapist's BJ because it was making him physically sick. He didn't let any other woman touch him after that, aside from heroine.
Heroine is the kind of hidden smarts & inner strength with softness and femininity that I love in my romance heroines. She made major sacrifices for the love and protection of her young sister. She suffered but she didn't let her circumstance determine her whole identity.
Hero, on the other hand, became a victim of his circumstance (ie, mother committed suicide when he was 17 due to the manipulation of others). And he didn't need to be but he chose the road to revenge. He was actually super-obsessed with it, allowing it to colorful 10 years of his life. He became a dead man walking. It was his soul-less eyes that captivated heroine more than his looks. He was so single-minded in his plans to bring down the people involved in his mother's suicide that he deliberately ruined himself to get his desired revenge. Unlike heroine, Hero chose to let his trauma change his character for the worse. Getting to know heroine and her circumstances made him see how others with traumatic past can still have hope, joy, kindness, and laughter. It was the dichotomy of the desperation and strength that she saw in her eyes with her calmness and caring that roused his numb existence. It was beautiful to see. I loved how we got see his increasing obsession with heroine. So, by the end, he was willing to die for her. Those texts, those emails! <big sigh> So poignant and touching.
I recounted this story to my husband and he thought it would make a really good movie. Except the sex scenes. That would make it more than an NC-17 rating. Oh man, the sex scenes. Hot because of the explicitness and the emotions involved in their act. It became more than the usual porn-sex for Hero. He didn't need Viagra like he'd needed to before. Nor did he always do their deed with the cameras on. His emotions for her became more evident, when he'd have sex with her even without the cameras on them. Although he blurred the lines between his 2 identities with her, it was because she blurred the lines for him. Lines he'd always had control over before but he didn't mind crossing now. He was THAT into her.
I extraordinarily recommend this book.