Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Review - The First Real Thing © Cat Grant


The First Real Thing
Author: Cat Grant
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: GLBT
My name’s Cameron. And I’m a male escort. I’m the best, and most expensive, at what I do. I have one rule—never let anyone in.
In five years of hooking I’ve never picked up the wrong guy. But when I met Toronto ad man Trevor Barclay in a Manhattan bar, his soft green eyes and shy smile drew me right in. When I discovered the error I had made, I should have written it off as a mistake and moved on. But memories of the steamy encounter we shared in his hotel room continued to haunt me.
I never should have agreed to see him again, but from that very first night he worked his way under my skin and into my heart. I can’t stop thinking about him. But how can I tell him the first man he’s been with in sixteen years sells himself for a living?
Want to play a game?
 
Next time you’re in some elegant upscale bar, take a look around and see if you can spot the prostitutes. I guarantee there’ll be at least one or two.
 
The dark-rooted blonde in the short skirt getting loud and sloppy over her third martini? Desperate divorcée, maybe, but definitely not a hooker. No self-respecting pro would call attention to herself like that.
 
The swarthy guy with his shirt unbuttoned halfway to his navel, showing off way too much chest hair? Not unless you’ve jumped in a time machine back to the seventies.
 
It’s not the bartender either, or any of the waitresses. Who in their right mind would sling drinks for minimum wage when they could be making three hundred bucks an hour?
 
Fact is, you’ve probably rubbed elbows with us more than once and you never had a clue. The real pros have a talent for blending in.
 
See the guy sitting at the bar, the one in the charcoal suit and crisp white shirt open at the throat? Dark hair, blue eyes. Well groomed, in shape. Attractive but not underwear-model pretty. Looks like just another business exec winding down after a long day, doesn’t he?
 
That would be me. My name’s Cameron, and I’m an escort.
 
Prostitute. Whore. Rent boy. Call me what you like, I won’t be offended. I enjoy sex, and I’m good at it, but it’s not the only service I provide. Most of the guys who hire me are just plain lonely. I’m there to fill the void for an evening or a weekend. Why shouldn’t I get paid for it? It’s a hell of a better living than waiting tables or slaving away in an office.
 
Now I sound like I’m trying to justify myself. I’m not even sure why I started this blog. I’ve never kept a written record of my working life before, but it’s not like I’ve got anyone else I can talk to about it. My family doesn’t know what I do. Mike’s my only real friend, and thank God he doesn’t judge me, but he’s not in the life. He can’t understand.
 
I’ve been hooking for five years—that’s a long time in this business. First thing you learn is to turn off your feelings, turn on the charm and get the job done. All those hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold stories are bullshit. You can’t afford to have a heart, not in this line of work.
 
Can’t afford to let anyone in.
© Cat Grant
My Thoughts
 
It’s the wee hours of the morning and for some odd reason I decide to put my thoughts down about this book before I sleep on it. Why, because THE FIRST REAL THING rocks and I did not want to lose this euphoric feeling that  I have with something as mundane as sleep, before I put my thoughts down.
 
Once again it was no hardship to drop everything to read this book when it hit my inbox and read it in one go I did. Literally from the first page I was drawn  into the story, into the blog that Cameron used as his medium to tell this story through. Cameron is a man for hire – he’s been at if for a while, he knows his job and he is more than anything else professional about it.
 
One might think it odd that a member of the sex trade decides to blog about his time in the business, giving advice and literally telling his readers about the pitfalls and the sometimes less than graceful adventures of his life. Cameron starts the blog because he has met someone and not just anyone – This one feels real.
 
It starts when out on a call in a swanky joint and with all the signs in place for “a go” he moves in and make the link up with his client. The night goes well, who am I kidding the night rocked and he places his card on the night table and leaves the hotel room with his pay in the envelope he pick up off the bar earlier. Feeling really good about the past few hours he is surprise at the call he picks up on his phone from the man he is actually suppose to be meeting.
 
Surprise and mistakes do not come often to Cameron these days, but he is knocked off balance because not only has he just slept with a stranger – but he has left his card on this unknowns man bedside table – And so the story begins.
 
This lucky man happens to be out of town business man Trevor Barclay , easy on the eyes , manners of a gentleman and exploring a side of his sexuality that he has not had the chance to explore for years. Really lucky for him he meets a wonderful man in the bar and the night was great.
 
How could he resist  following up on his next visit and his next visit after that.

Cameron is the one now with the secrets and eventual lies. With wanting to see how far this first real thing will go, he tries to juggle first blush with life, but life has a way of folding in when you least expect it to and Cameron has his fingers literally in too many pies and too many issues to come out without some loses.

Where do I begin with describing how much I enjoyed this book, from the moment I read the blurb I knew Ms Grant was aiming for something special and for me she achieved it. I have read the whole "pretty woman " scenario various times and while the blurb might sound like this book goes that route it doesn't.

What I like

The plot -  I rarely read a plot that I am totally pleased with what an author brings to it enough to mention it. But the little edges and the spin on the norm that Ms Grant ties into this plot made a difference and made me really liked it.

The characters - I could not like the two main protags more if I tried. Cameron is just great. A boy who had to grow up and learn things the hard way, but ultimately knows the value of true friends and looking after number one.
Trevor is just so fresh, so naive in certain ways - but I liked his openness, the fact that he took things at face value and  just wanted happiness.

The minimum predictability - I love a book where I am just able to connect with the cast and see where they are either going or coming from and most of that is achieved by minimizing the predictables. There are a few in this but not enough to take away from how great the overall book was.

Blog style - The story is told from Cameron's POV and as such I got a very professional person who knows that although he is in the business of selling his best asset, he is also objective enough to tell us the reader about the ups and downs of his life. Probably because I am a blogger I can relate to the fact that he uses a pseudo name in his business and on his blog and also because blogs are more or less faceless entities, he can also tell it as it really is without really anyone second guessing him.  Loved that.

Pace - With every book I read by this author her pacing gets better and better. I saw Cameron and Trevor meet, connect and found the time to know each other and not at a break neck speed. I also saw some of the minor subplot move much faster but only because that was where that plotline took it.

A story - The business of pimps and their wares is not the easiest to read without actually hating a good majority of the cast,  I thought the authors choice of choosing high-end clientele and setting made a huge difference to my enjoyment. No tardy little alley or back of a  car for these guys… Cameron made sure I saw his world the plush-ness and the seedy side of the business as well. This was naturally Cameron’s story and  while I could say I needed more of Trevor's history – I wont, because Trevor gave it to me through Cameron. 

Page time - I am a moaner about page time to develop characters and expand on issues and situations, but at 125 pages I thought Ms Grant packed a whole lot of Cameron's life along with enough about Trevor's and their developing relationship to satisfy me - any longer and it would have just gone flat.

Niggles
 
I thought how Trevor found out about Cameron was a little stilted and only one of the few predictable moment in the book..  While I knew Trevor would eventually find out about Cameron’s secret life – it just felt too like “here it comes – I was expecting that”.

Bottom line..

I think I have said enough about how much I like this book, right to the last page I had a great time reading this and was pleased that I was left on a most satisfied high... Definitely a recommended read.


8 Speak To Me:

Cat Grant on 15 September 2010 at 18:55 said...

Thanks for the great review, EH! Always a pleasure to read your thoughts. :)

Best,
Cat

Blodeuedd on 15 September 2010 at 21:42 said...

pretty woman, hm...I do not think I have read a book with that scenario, truly shocking, one would think I had

Erotic Horizon on 15 September 2010 at 22:00 said...

@Cat..

You are welcome - this was a scruptious read...

Cameron is a great guy...

E.H>

Erotic Horizon on 15 September 2010 at 22:01 said...

@Bloduedd..

They do have "pretty woman/man" plotline in this genre - most are pretty good..

E.H>

Chris on 16 September 2010 at 00:47 said...

I'm intrigued. :)

Erotic Horizon on 16 September 2010 at 03:35 said...

@Chris..

Do add it to your list - it is really good..


E.h>

Lily on 16 September 2010 at 04:31 said...

This one caught my eye a couple of days ago and now I'm definitely adding it to my buy list. Great review, EH! :)

Erotic Horizon on 16 September 2010 at 06:26 said...

@Lily..

Yes please... do get this one..

Let me know what you think when you have read it...

E.H>