by Elle Aycart
Book #2 in the Bowen series
Steering clear of relationships has never been difficult for demolitions expert Cole Bowen, but now, with his brother's engagement sending the female population into full-blown hysterics and the town of Alden's month-long festivities helping along, he finds himself in hell. When he discovers Alden's new resident and the object of all his wet dreams, Christine Sheridan, has sworn off relationships and is going to hire a gigolo to get professionally laid, he decides to kill two birds with one stone.
Christy is so not drinking again. Thanks to José Cuervo she has her friends signing her up for stud conventions and Cole frigging Bowen offering sex in exchange for fake dates, which is so out of the question it isn't even funny. She knows the domineering man will push her boundaries, and after battling all her life with self-esteem issues, she isn't ready for that. Too bad he won't take no for an answer.
Cole is determined to strip away all of her defenses but refuses to lower his ever-present walls, so when Christy realizes she wants more, she's left with only two options; walk away or crack his shield and risk her heart in the process.
Christy Sheridan had too much to drink one night while sitting on her deck with friends. As they were discussing their pitiful sexual experiences, Christy stands and loudly proclaims into the night that she just wants a gigolo for sex, no relationship required, as she tosses her engagement ring (from her ex-fiance) into her yard. Cole Bowen happened to be walking by when the ring hit him and caught a bit of Christy’s declaration when he came to return it to her. Little did she know that he had been watching her for weeks, trying to figure out a way to approach her without others getting the wrong idea…he wanted to go out with her but he’s not one for commitment.
This story was pretty extraordinary. Both Cole and Christy are commitment shy and the proposition that they have only a sexual relationship worked for both of them. Christy was his fake date as the women of the town were descending on him like flies after his brother got engaged. It was open season on the rest of the Bowen men and Cole needed a decoy. They both were two damaged people, crippled by mothers from hell. While Christy was healing, Cole was still in denial about his issues. By being in a relationship with no strings attached, Cole finds himself bonding with the very grounded Christy and she with him. Neither of them intended for the arrangement to ever be more than what they signed on for but when feelings started to shift, their emotional baggage came front and center.
As with the first book in this series, the sex is pretty explicit and supports the story and the characters in ways that become clearer as it progresses. Cole isn’t the most likeable of characters initially but Christy, who is now one of my most favorite heroines, brings the best out of him.
There are a lot of funny moments in the story but it’s what happens between Cole and Christy that keeps you riveted. I loved their story and am looking forward to whatever is next in this series. This turned out to be one of the best erotic romances I’ve ever read.