Masters of Love #1


Leisa Rayven

✬✬✬ 5 Stars ✬✬✬

I feel like the quality of this year’s books is especially high. I haven’t had so many 4 and 5 stars ever and right now I’m on a roll. Mr. Romance totally took me by surprise in the most perfect way. Ms. Rayven is a new-to-me-author and we all know what it feels like when we read stories of authors we haven’t tried before. There is the giddy excitement on one hand and the inexplicable dread that you will hate it on the other one. This one? Perfection. Let me explain.

Eden Tate is an investigative journalist but what she does at work is creating inane click-bait articles. Not unexpectedly her current job is less than fulfilling. When she hears through the grapevine that there is a male escort in New York City servicing the rich female socialites it has exploit written all over it. Eden senses that this could be her breakthrough to become what she has been trained for. Her attempts to be accepted as a client by the elusive Mister Romance, in order to investigate him, fail – he is a smart man and his clientele is being thoroughly vetted.

When Max finds the journalist at his warehouse he tells her in no uncertain terms that she isn’t welcome, now or anytime soon. When Eden explains the facts, that she can write a story with his involvement or without, thus reporting based on her findings and rumors rather than the truth, he relents. He will  give her full disclosure if Edie agrees to go on three dates with him, giving him the chance to show her that his work helps and empowers the neglected wives of the rich and the bold.

He sets up all these amazing scenarios. You know the tropes: damaged billionaire, sexy bad boy, devoted best friend, hottie contractor. He has this whole range of characters that don’t usually exist outside of romance novels, and the word is he blows his clients’ minds.

First of all I would like to give kudos to this author for creating a complicated heroine which I usually have problems to find likable. Not only did I like Eden, I loved her.

Eden prefers one-night-stands to relationships. In fact, even the word relationship might give her hives. Her issues are real and plausible, I can understand her cynical approach to relationships. There is a huge distrust of men, she can’t let them in because they are bound to hurt her. It takes a long time for Eden to come around but for several reasons I was OK with it this time.

This is what loving gets you. This expanding world of pain. Because no one stays forever. They all leave in the end

One of the reasons being Max’ many faces. While it is strictly professional in the beginning for her to find the real Max Riley it gets personal when she starts falling for him. It is impossible for her to know if she is talking to the real Max or to one of his many personas which makes it extremely hard for her to let her walls down. I loved this girl hard and the relationship Eden had with her sister and grandmother. Their conversations were hilarious and so full of love for one another. Eden is endearing, driven, caring, stubborn – in her pursuit of the truth she is like a dog with a bone – and smart as a whip.

Being alone for too long isn’t healthy. Loneliness is like a big, empty room inside you that echoes with all the sounds of the life you’re not living. So you fill it with stuff–work, friends, pets–and over the years it becomes bearable, then comfortable. And after many years it’s so safe and warm, it becomes the new normal. And the worst part is, it’s so full of fake comforts, there’s no room for anyone else.

Max takes pride in his profession – the reasons why he does and why he claims he is helping the women he escorts, are selfless. I loved how this all played out. In the beginning Max is controlled and follows his self imposed rules to a Tee. But Eden rattles him just as much as he shakes her and soon he says “to hell with the rules, I’m going for the unknown.”
Max has elaborate knowledge of the female mind and can read people very well. It’s this knowledge that helps him to convince Eden that he is the real deal. He is incredibly patient with her, despite some understandable frustration. I adored Max, every single one of his faces was delicious but it’s the combination of them all that makes him so utterly endearing, hot and fascinating. His chivalrous manners made me swoon.

Witty banter  is my crack and in this book it’s a thing of beauty.

“Will you play something for me?”
He smiles. “I have a better idea. You play something.”
“I doubt your ego could withstand my epic rendition of Chopsticks. It’s twelve minutes long, and I perform part of it with my nose. You’d be shamed beyond belief and never play again.”
He chuckles. “Maybe you should play something less impressive.”

I was giggling from beginning to end and while this book has a whooping 450+ pages it didn’t feel long at all.  The writing style is very pleasing, the story line engaging. This story is also a super-slow burn and while nothing is happening until around the 75% mark it certainly doesn’t lack sexual tension and chemistry. The sexy times are one hell of a reward for all the build-up.

I am so happy that I took the chance on Max and Eden. These two have been on my mind since closing the book. Now I hope for lots of more stories in this series and I hope we get to see Toby’s and Asha’s Happily Ever After.  Please consider giving this a try, you’d seriously miss out if you didn’t.

“Everything else in my life is optional, except you. You’re essential.”

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