Escort work has been rather good to JD Pierce. He sets his own hours, chooses his own clients, and has a knack for making encounters with his clients satisfying for everyone involved, himself included. Being bisexual and open to poly-type situations only increases his client base. What started as a lucrative means to support himself after exiting the military is now his sole source of income. Mostly, JD is willing to wait and “age out” of the business unless or until he finds a true calling. That is, until he meets the Ballentines, a rich and stylish young couple desperate to figure out how to make their sex life work in the wake of an accident that left Nick Ballentine paralyzed from the waist down.
Less than two years have passed since Nick suffered a rock climbing accident that robbed him of the use of the lower half of his body. Nick suffers with the knowledge that he is longer able to satisfy his wife, Alethia, sexually. When a family friend recommends the services of JD, both Nick and Alethia are skeptical a threesome would return results where professional sex therapists have failed. Desperate to get their marriage—and their intimacy—back on track, however, the Ballentine’s agree to a night with JD. What ensues is more than just fantastic sex. JD’s ability to read people, to target and satisfy their needs allows the Ballentines a tantalizing glimpse at the life they could have, paralysis notwithstanding.
The caveat is that Nick and Alethia can only find that deeper connection when JD is in the mix. Conversely, JD suddenly finds himself not just disinterested in his other clients, but actually turned off by the emotions that seem shallow compared to the love the Ballentines have for one another. As Alethia and Nick continue to hire JD for his services, all parties concerned will have to grapple with morals and ethics…and maybe even rediscovering love.
First, to be perfectly blunt, sex features into just about every aspect of this story. When JD is not with the Ballentines, Edwards largely focuses on how JD interacts with other clients. On the one hand, this builds JD’s character as someone very in tune with physical relationships and with an ability to read and respond to what his clients want (which lends more credibility to JD hitting the mark just about every time he’s in the bedroom with the Ballentines). On the other hand, that increases the on-page exploration of sexuality that isn’t about our main three characters.
The prevalence of M/F scenes did color my anticipation of how JD and Nick would interact with each other. JD’s introduction into the Ballentine’s bedroom was couched as Nick trying to find a way to ensure Alethia is physically satisfied and Nick himself is initially presented as nothing other than a cisgender straight man. This holds true the first time the three are together, where JD seems to occupy a role more like a sex surrogate. Personally, I was a little let down by how “sidelined” I thought Nick was in the initial JD + Ballenintes scenes. As the physical spark grows between Alethia, JD, and Nick, Edwards does focus some hefty attention on the Nick/JD dynamic. While it wasn’t exactly perfect, I didn’t think Nick’s later-in-life discovery that he was bisexual was horrible, just a bit on the prosaic side.
As far as JD goes, we see that we have a character who’s thrown himself into the escort business 100%. His theory is that he enjoys the work, it’s pretty easy, and it won’t last forever. He never felt a personal connection to his clients (though, to be honest, I only remember a couple of the older couples, the client old enough to be his mother, and a passing mention to a lesbian couple) until the Ballentines. There is plenty of on-page angst about JD realizing he feels real emotions for Nick and Alethia and it colors some of their interactions. Seeing the three characters have frank discussions about what they want, and how what they want is changing, was amazing to read.
Overall, this is a story that really highlights the physical aspects of a polyamorous relationship. It starts off as strictly sex, but quickly escalates with deeper emotions and we get to see a bit of JD’s soul searching on-page while he’s away from the Ballentines. The lopsided participation (i.e. Nick’s idea of physically replacing himself with an escort) caught my attention at first, but later, the relationships balances out better (though with JD as the narrator, we don’t have much insight into the private conversations between Alethia and Nick). If you’re interested in M/M/F with high sex content and a decent about of emotional exploration as people acknowledge their romantic feelings, you’d probably like this story.