Max Riley is the man of your dreams.
Or at least he will be, for a price…
HOLY FREAKING SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!
I fell in love with this book from the moment I started reading it and I couldn’t put it down until I reached the very last page!! It was the absolute perfect balance between sexy, steamy romance, laugh-out-loud humor, deep emotions, and deliciously intense angst!! True to Leisa Rayven’s signature style, this book was well-written, addictive, intriguing, and utterly UNPUTDOWNABLE!! This is definitely a top recommendation for every romance reader!
As his alter-ego Mister Romance, Max is a drop-dead gorgeous escort who makes romantic fantasies come to life. No sex, just swoon-worthy dates to die for, and the cream of New York’s socialites can’t get enough. Whether they want a dominating billionaire, bad boy with a heart of gold, hot geek, sexy biker, or best friend who loves them from afar, Max can make it all happen, but he’s careful to keep his real identity a secret.
Enter investigative journalist Eden Tate. Having caught wind of the urban legend of Mister Romance from a lovestruck client, Eden is determined to publish a scathing expose on Max and his ability to swindle lonely society women out of their fortunes.
Desperate to protect his anonymity and his clients, Max challenges Eden to give him three dates. If she doesn’t fall in love with him, she can run her story with his blessing. If she succumbs to his charms, the story dies.
Cynical Eden has no doubt she can resist his fake romance personas, but when the real Max admits he’s falling for her, she has to decide if the professional liar is telling the truth, or if the passionate man with the mysterious past is just one more character designed to con her out of her career-making story…
Max was the absolute, ultimate book boyfriend!! He was beyond dreamy and swoon-worthy with just enough of a tortured side to pull your heart strings! Trust me when I say that he will make you fall head over heels in love with him! I especially loved all the mystery surrounding his character. Nobody knew anything about the real ‘man behind the fantasy curtain’ and I was incredibly curious to find out more about him! He was a man of secrets who was equally elusive and heart-stoppingly charming! And the more I learned about him, the more I loved his character.
“So what you’re telling me,” I say, as I pour two cups of fresh Joe, “is that this mythical man-beast [is] some kind of… what? Superhero gigolo?”
“He’s an escort,” Asha clarifies.
“Isn’t that just a fancy label for man-whore?”
“No. He doesn’t have sex with his clients.”
I pass her a tip of coffee. “You just told me he did.”
“No,” she says… “I said he makes their romantic fantasies come to life.”
“And that doesn’t include sex.”
And Eden was such a strong, sassy heroine! She felt very real and was the ultimate skeptic and romance cynic. She had guts and no fear about going toe-to-toe with anyone. I loved the way she unapologetically went after what she wanted. But she was also a firm non-believer in the concept of love or happily ever afters. Based on her years of dating, she was convinced that the fairytale passion and devotion being sold by movies and books was pure myth.
“You’re telling me that women hire a man to make their romantic fantasies come to life? Come on. There’s no way that’s a thing.”
So when she finally tracked Max down, and he made his proposal to allow him three dates to make her fall in love with him, she had no really concern about taking him up on it because she genuinely believed that there wasn’t even a snowball’s chance in hell that she would ever actually fall in love with him (or anyone else for that matter).
“Miss Tate, if you don’t stop and listen for five seconds, I’m going to kiss the hell out of you in front of your gran then drop to one knee and propose. If you think she’s obsessed with marrying you off now, imagine what she’d be like after that.”
He’s so close it takes me a second to get used to the heat of his proximity. “You wouldn’t.”
“Keep talking and find out.”
To be honest, when the story first began, I shared a bit of her skepticism as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in love. But I’m a little less sold on the idea of simulating it. But the more Max revealed about his services, the more I understood where he (and his clients) were coming from. I was fascinated by it. I mean, professional escort or no, it takes unholy levels of confidence to stake your career on the fact that someone will fall in love with you in three dates.
“And you went on your whole anti-love, fuck-relationships rant, and he still said he’s going to win you over? Was he drunk?”
“He actually said he’s going to make me fall in love with him.”
As their first date approached, her skepticism held strong. But the more she began to uncover about him, the more she began to understand the appeal and the deeper her intrigue grew about the real man behind the fantasy.
Surely he hasn’t learned all of this just for his business. It seems too natural. In fact, if someone told me that Caleb is his real personality and Max is the fake one, I’d believe them. His acting is impeccable.
And as she spent more and more time with him, she discovered so many different sides to his personality through the characters her showed her that it became hard — especially for such an untrusting person such as herself — to be certain who the real Max was. Each personality seemed so believable that if she’d been told that they were he real him, she’d have believed it. So even if she did fall for him, who exactly was she falling in love with?
“Do you want me to kiss you, Miss Tate?”
And God, no.
There’s no easy answer to this question. Kissing him would be wonderful and terrible. It would be like claiming a lion as a pet and counting down the days until it mauled me.
“It’s not a hard question,” he says. “Either you want me to or you don’t.”
“Is this your way of seducing me into dropping my story?”
His nose brushes mine, and I shiver as I grip the front of his shirt.
“That’s one explanation. A cynical one, of course, but I’ve come to expect that from you. Maybe I want to kiss you. Find out how your lips taste.”
GAH. I really can’t express enough how much I loved this book! It was exactly the kind of romance novel I crave reading! It had so many delightfully witty and hilarious scenes, oodles of sexiness and heat as Max and Eden’s connection and relationship deepened, but I especially loved that there was a deeper side to this story too that actually gave a really beautiful and honest perspective on the true meaning of romance (not love or sex, but actually romance itself). It really makes you think about the differences between those different elements. Not to mention that Max’s real backstory was quite sobering and heart-breaking giving the story the perfect emotional balance.
“It’s ironic,” he says as we sway to the music. “So many women hold me up as the paragon of a perfect man, and they couldn’t be more wrong. If only they knew the truth.”
… “What truth are you talking about?”
He pulls me closer. “Can we just dance? I’d like a little more time before you look at me like I’m a piece of shit.”
As their relationship progressed, things got HOT HOT HOT!!! I have to admit I’ve always found that there’s something about sexual restraint that can be a thousand times sexier than actual sex and with Max’s strict rule of no sex with clients, and with the fact during the beginning of their interactions, she was being treated as his clients in order to allow him the three dates to fall in love with him, the sexual tension between them was INTENSE!
“Uh… what’s happening?”
“I’m taking off my shirt.”
“Because we’ve apparently reached the portion of the evening where we get semi-naked to torture the other person.”
He pulls off his shirt and throws in onto the stool with his jacket, and I’ll admit it, I gape… I’ve seen glimpses of his naked torso before now, but never the whole thing. And here he is, standing there wearing only his slim-cut dinner pants and a pissed-off expression, and I can’t remember a single reason why I haven’t licked him yet.
MY HEART WAS RACING as the story hurtled towards the finish line. There are some angsty challenges they faced together as a natural side effect of their professions and watching them work through these things kept me glued to the page. I couldn’t put it down, didn’t want to stop reading, and eagerly devoured every single word.
“Have you ever felt true joy, Eden?”
I have to think about it for a few seconds. I’ve spent so long dulling my pain, joy kind of got lost in the mix. “I don’t think so. Or at least if I have, I don’t remember.”
“Me, neither. I’ve found a lot of ways to simulate it over the years, but that’s like renting a fancy car for the day and pretending you’re a millionaire. It’s self-delusion… But standing here, holding you… this feels like the real deal.”
Actually, you know what? This book would make a fantastic movie! It had all the right elements and just continued to throw you in all these unique scenarios. I would love to see it come to life on screen! *prays to movie gods*
Leisa Rayven is one of those authors whose books I always automatically want to read simply because she wrote them. I love her writing style, I love the uniqueness of her story ideas, and I love the way her books always make my heart race. She truly delivers the ultimate romance reading experience. A romance reader’s dream come true!
If you’re looking for a SEXY, ANGSTY, ADDICTIVE ROMANCE with a swoony hero, a strong heroine, and absolutely wonderful writing, then this is a must-read! Trust me, Max Riley is a book boyfriend you want to meet!
Rating: 4.5+ STARS!! Contemporary Adult Romance. Can standalone.