Series: Desire Exchange #1
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Evil Eye Concepts
Source: Copy provided for honest review
Rating: ★★ ½
New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice's first foray into erotic romance, The Flame, earned accolades from some of the genre's most beloved authors. "Sensual, passionate and intelligent," wrote Lexi Blake, "it's everything an erotic romance should be." J. Kenner called it "absolutely delicious," Cherise Sinclair hailed it as "beautifully lyrical" and Loreli James announced, "I look forward to reading more!" Now, Christopher returns you to the world first introduced in The Flame with an all new novel of The Desire Exchange…Emily Blaine's life is about to change. Arthur Benoit, the kindly multi-millionaire who has acted as her surrogate father for years, has just told her he's leaving her his entire estate, and he only has a few months to live. Soon Emily will go from being a restaurant manager with a useless English degree to the one of the richest and most powerful women in New Orleans. There's just one price. Arthur has written a letter to his estranged son Ryan he hopes will mend the rift between them, and he wants Emily to deliver the letter before it's too late. But finding Ryan won't be easy. He's been missing for years. He was recently linked to a mysterious organization called The Desire Exchange. But is The Desire Exchange just an urban legend? Or are the rumors true? Is it truly a secret club where the wealthy can live out their most private sexual fantasies?It's a task Emily can't undertake alone. But there's only one man qualified to help her, her gorgeous and confident best friend, Jonathan Claiborne. She's suspected Jonathan of working as a high-priced escort for months now, and she's willing to bet that while giving pleasure to some of the most powerful men in New Orleans, Jonathan has uncovered some possible leads to The Desire Exchange—and to Ryan Benoit. But Emily's attempt to uncover Jonathan's secret life lands the two of them in hot water. Literally. In order to escape the clutches of one of Jonathan's most powerful and dangerous clients, they're forced to act on long buried desires—for each other.When Emily's mission turns into an undercover operation, Jonathan insists on going with her. He also insists they continue to explore their impossible, reckless passion for each other. Enter Marcus Dylan, the hard-charging ex-NAVY Seal Arthur has hired to keep Emily safe. But Marcus has been hired for another reason. He, too, has a burning passion for Emily, a passion that might keep Emily from being distracted and confused by a best friend who claims he might be able to go straight just for her. But Marcus is as rough and controlling as Jonathan is sensual and reckless. As Emily searches for a place where the rich turn their fantasies into reality, she will be forced to decide which one of her own long-ignored fantasies should become her reality. But as Emily, Jonathan, and Marcus draw closer to The Desire Exchange itself, they find their destination isn't just shrouded in mystery, but in magic as well.
I met Christopher at RT this year, and the guy is a gem - for real, total sweetheart. But if I'm being honest here, and I am, the synopsis for The Surrender Gate is going to be much longer than my review for it.
The Surrender Gate starts off pretty promising, as Erotica's go. The first sex scene happens some thirty pages in and it is DIRTY. Just how I like 'em in my erotica. I even sold it to another blogger by telling her one particular detail of said sex scene. It's not something you read often in books and fuck was it hot in all the secret fantasy type ways.
Secret fantasies is pretty much what The Surrender Gate is all about, a secret society - The Desire Exchange - takes people willing to pay the price and makes that fantasy come to life. Sounds yummy, right?
Here's the catch....
There is a shocking LACK of erotica in this erotica. When it does finally happen again, after that first delicious taste, it's tinged in this strange paranormalish curtain and I just didn't understand it. I couldn't get behind it.
There was one thing that kept me going. The humor. The witty banter between Emily and Marcus and even Emily and Jonathon, was great. I loved that part of The Surrender Gate. I was just really confused by so much of the rest of it.
I think Rice has a strong voice and will find his place in the literary world, but maybe not with this book.