This book has the same basic setup used in Slow Hands (Harlequin Blaze), the 1st book in the miniseries, but I didn't do so much eye rolling this time. The case of mistaken identity was more believable in this book because it wasn't dragged throughout the whole story, so there wasn't really a Big Misunderstanding and the Small Misunderstanding was easily cleared up on the H/h's 1st date. How good it is when people talk to each other! :)
Sean Murphy was a former gigolo - yes, he had been a male prostitute in the past, no sugarcoating the issue there - and current business consultant who had agreed to participate in a charity bachelor auction - as one of the bachelors to be auctioned, of course - as a favor to a friend. He wasn't too enthusiastic about the whole affair and, remembering his former "profession", he dreaded being "bought" by a woman who would expect more than a dinner date with him. He was through with that life and had no intention to take a trip down memory lane, now or ever again. So you can imagine his surprise - and pleasure - when he was "bought" by "good girl" Annie Davis.
Annie attended the charity event to "buy" a date to escort her to her parents' 35th anniversary party. There was no way she was showing up at her parents' alone, not after having told her mother all about the "wonderful" man she had been seeing for the last two months. So what if that "wonderful" man had turned out to be a lying and married man? She wasn't going to share that with her family. She was from a small town and her parents had always been against her moving to the "big and bad city" of Chicago. Knowing how easily she had been lied to by her cheating "boyfriend" would just start her family on their you-have-to-come-back-home-and-marry-a-nice-country-boy speech, and Annie wasn't in the mood for that. So she went to the charity auction and "bought" Sean thinking he was a paramedic, a more than suitable profession for a man she intended to introduce to her family as her "boyfriend". Well, due to a mix-up by the graphic designer responsible for making the brochures showcasing the bachelors being auctioned, Sean's bio had been switched with another bachelor, the real paramedic Jake Wallace - who was the hero in Slow Hands (Harlequin Blaze), BTW - and, needless to say, neither Sean nor Annie came to regret the confusion in the end. ;)
Sean and Annie were attracted to each other from the start, and didn't play games around it. But neither was sure their relationship had any future. He didn't do relationships in general and, once he started falling in love with Annie, couldn't help but feel less than deserving considering his "dirty" past. As for Annie, she didn't know what to expect from him because he wasn't too willing to talk about his family and himself. But when he finally opened up and told her all about it... Oh, that was one good scene! Even though it was a bit rushed, the ending was the best part of this book. Not so much the epilogue, that was unnecessary IMHO, but the small scenes between the moment Sean told Annie about his past and the moment he finally accepted he was deserving of her love. *sighs*
I really like former-bad-boy-turned-good stories, and this one was no exception. Sean was wonderful and I liked the fact that Ms. Kelly didn't choose the easy way out and turned him into a "fake" gigolo - you know, sometimes authors "redeem" the hero by revealing at the last minute that his bad reputation had been only a product of pretense and gossip. Not the case here. Sean was what he was, and it was good to see Annie accepting the whole package. All in all, this was a very satisfying read.