Title: A Dangerous Game
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (2nd Edition)
Length: 200 Pages
At a Glance: There were tender moments between these two men that tugged at my heart, and I appreciated that while they were both deeply affected by each other, the author opted not to make this an insta-love story.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Sex can be a dangerous business. So can love.
On the worst day of his life, Wren Gallagher wants oblivion when he steps into Tricks for a drink. He’s lost not only his job, but his wallet as well. When a mysterious stranger steps up to pay his tab, he also offers Wren the key to fulfilling his dreams of prosperity and true love. But appearances are not always what they seem….
His savior is the owner of the escort agency, À Louer—and he wants the young and handsome Wren to work for him. So down on his luck, Wren figures—why not? He can use the money. When he joins, though, he hadn’t counted on meeting Rufus, another escort with whom he quickly falls hopelessly in love.
But their love story will have to overcome the obstacles of not only trading love for money, but À Louer’s dark—and deadly—secrets.
Review: Wren has lived his life in near poverty but always had his mother to fall back on; she was his security. The day he loses his job, he also finds out that his mom has been given the opportunity to move out and into her own small apartment as a perk of her promotion at work. Suddenly Wren finds himself homeless, nearly broke and desperate enough to move in with his ex boyfriend, Devon—a smarmy sex addict. After a disastrous first night with his ex, Wren realizes he has to move on, and the offer to become a male escort that had been extended the previous night in the bar called Tricks looks better and better.
In a fit of desperation he takes the job and is immediately set up with a mentor, Rufus. Their first job has them thrown into bed with each other, and an immediate attraction bursts to life between the two men. However, through a series of events, Wren comes to find out that Rufus is a recovering coke addict and later finds that he is also part of a blackmailing scheme that the owner has been using to extort money from wealthier clients.
And then the murders begin…and no one is safe.
A Dangerous Game (formerly released as Rent) by Rick R. Reed had many good moments. Wren discovering Rufus’ story about his addiction was poignant and powerful and perhaps one of the finest character sketches I have ever read. My heart broke for Rufus as I listened to his story, as told in first person, with Wren reading it—amazing writing!
Then there was Wren’s inner dialogue as he argued with himself about becoming a prostitute and then, after reading about Rufus, realizing that he was indeed falling in love and couldn’t remain in the escort business any longer and remain true to himself. When he found the strength to walk away, not only from the money but also from Rufus as well, it was simply heart-wrenching. I felt his turmoil, felt his struggle and ultimately cheered him as he left.
There were tender moments between these two men that tugged at my heart, and I appreciated that while they were both deeply affected by each other, the author opted not to make this an insta-love story. While Wren did fall for Rufus quickly, Rufus had to work through the incredible obstacles that kept him from trusting that falling in love would ever be possible. However, despite all these finer points, the mystery element to this novel was weak and a bit too contrived for my liking. I felt no sense of urgency, no imminent danger or tension that made me want to turn the page just that much faster in order to discover who the killer was and/or their motivation for killing. Because that piece of the story was never fully fleshed out, I felt that the latter third of the novel simply meandered and lost its focus. There were also pieces that didn’t ring true for me such as the compassion with which Rufus treated the murderer, a person who had killed his best friend, and this was just after being attacked himself and watching Wren being wounded as well. I just scratched my head in confusion. This felt so untrue as compared to the rest of the story.
In the end, the novel was just a bit of a miss for me, a nice romance but not really indicative of how well this author can craft a story.
You can buy A Dangerous Game here:
[zilla_button url=”https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-dangerous-game-by-rick-r-reed-7053-b” style=”blue” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Dreamspinner Press [/zilla_button][zilla_button url=”http://books2read.com/A-Dangerous-Game” style=”blue” size=”medium” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Amazon & Other Booksellers [/zilla_button]