Lucas Thompson is living the dream as a successful businessman. He’s smart and convincing and good at manipulating the conference room. He lives alone and tells himself that’s also exactly what he wants. When his childhood friend, who is also his ex-boyfriend, invites Lucas to the Bahamas for his wedding, Lucas is hesitant to go and spend ten days with his entire family who will constantly ask why he is still single. He’s resigned to go alone until he sees the jam-packed itinerary of activities that are planned and the trip seems more of an obligation than a vacation.
When Lucas’ life collides with Jack’s while getting into a taxi, both men are about to have their lives change in so many ways. Jack is gorgeous and captivating and he’s also a male escort. There is an instant spark and when the men run into each other a second time a deal is struck for Jack to be Lucas’ date for the trip and the wedding. It is ten days in paradise where truths are revealed in a relationship with a fake boyfriend that just may fit better than anything ever has for both men.
There were many things that called to me to want to read this book despite storylines involving fake boyfriends not being what I generally gravitate toward. It was great that I didn’t miss out on this one.
Lucas is the classic overworked, overachieving businessman, and while his presence can be abrupt, there is still a bit of softness to draw you in. Which then makes Jack his opposite, as the first time Lucas sees him he is dressed like a youthful rock star as he’s just heading home from the previous night’s client. Now while Jack is an escort, he’s an exclusive, highly paid, sought after escort and many of his clients simply require companionship. He owns his profession, but the spin on it also makes for an intriguing character that is cool and confident at first glance, but with a true layer of humility and self deprecation running through him.
And that’s the deal here. Neither man is what you see at first glance. Lucas is not just a conniving corporate shark and Jack is not just a high priced escort and the layers that get revealed for both men, especially Jack, make for an enticing read. The opening of the book offers fantastic banter between the men that is playful at first and even when it turns more vicious and cutting, it is clearly a cover for both of them.
The writing is descriptive and sets each scene, whether it’s pages of Jack’s grooming routine, which was remarkably more fascinating than maybe it should have been, or the backdrop of an island paradise, or the many hours of sexual tension that course through these guys, or the way Jack simply captivated each and every person he came in contact with. While the set-up here is a little familiar –think Pretty Woman–there are enough differences to make the story stand out on its own.
The book is long and that was where the story took a misstep for me. The itinerary for their getaway is packed and we get anything from a glimpse to full on pages and pages of karaoke, home movies, beach Olympics, water parks, and a whole lot of family interaction. While the conclusion of each activity brought the men closer together, from my view, a portion of this could have been streamlined without losing impact.
The story is a slow burn in many areas as the men first practice to get comfortable with touching each other to put on a convincing performance, to the briefest of temptations that ramp up as the story progresses. There is also insta-love and the men making huge life changes and decisions in a matter of days. If this story sounds at all familiar to you, it was originally a fan fiction that has been published into a full novel. The author states that she likes each scene to have a cinematic feel and while the ending did offer a nod to the movie While You Were Sleeping, each scene was visually rendered while reading.
Escapade offers two intriguing characters, especially in Jack, and could be a good choice to travel with the characters to a warm, romantic island that features luxury, entertainment, and touch of adventure as they fall in love.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.