Wednesday, March 27
Author: Amber Lin
Series: The Lost Girls #2
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Publisher: Loose Id
Date/Year: February 19, 2013
Reviewed by: Michele
*This book was provided to the reviewer by the author in exchange for an honest review
Summary from the publisher:
Shelly throws light on the shadows of Chicago’s underworld, challenging everything she knew and the man she’s come to love. Together, a prostitute and a cop fight for truth stronger than secrets, hope deeper than deception, and a bond more enduring than betrayal.
I drove home on fumes and climbed directly into a scalding hot shower. I scrubbed away the rejection from earlier, the fear and the stench of the streets. After using up half the bottle, I poured the rest of the soap out and watched as the peach-colored gel swirled down the drain. I couldn’t have used it again anyway, not after using it today. Maybe it was strange, but the rituals kept me sane, and what did they hurt? Who did they hurt? I lay down on the cold, hard floor of the tub and curled into a ball on my side, letting the water rain down on me.
Distantly, I heard the phone ringing, but I couldn’t have moved. Not until the water turned cold, and I began to shake. I pulled myself up and turned off the shower. After throwing on a large shirt to sleep in, I grabbed the answering machine and climbed into my plush bed with 600–thread count sheets. I curled my body around the little black box and pressed Play.
“Hey, it’s me.” He sounded tired. “I guess you’re busy.”
There was a pause, which I scribbled in with well deserved recriminations. I may not have been with a client today, but I would be tomorrow. This was my life. I could apologize for it, but I couldn’t change it any more than a ship could change the tides.
“I worked a double shift today,” he said on the recording. “One of the other guys, his wife went into labor, so I took over for him. Wasn’t too bad, though. Just tiring. For her, I mean. It took her ten hours to push him out, so what the hell do I have to complain about? Nine pounds, a boy. I didn’t see him yet, came straight home.” There was silence. “Straight home and called you. Funny.”
The answering machine broke the awkwardness with a click.
There were no more messages. I pressed the button again.
“Hey, it’s me. I guess you’re busy. I worked a double shift today. One of the other guys, his wife went into labor…”
Shelly is the “hooker with a heart of gold” we first met in Giving It Up when she was the one remaining friend helping keep Allie and her young daughter Bailey from living on the street. Now that Allie and Bailey have Colin in their lives, Shelly has only herself to look after, but even that seems to be a task she can’t get quite right. Her stint as a police informant for Detective Luke Cameron nearly got her killed once before. Now that she’s taken on responsibility for a young girl caught up in an underworld hit and framed for murder, Shelly’s secret hope for a better life with Luke seems like a crazy dream destined to be just as impossible as all the other dreams she’s ever had. But by the end of Selling Out, we see that what ties Shelly and Luke together forever is more than just physical and that they have more in common than they could possibly imagine.
Normally I tend to shy away from romantic suspense stories, as my enjoyment of the romance so often ends up being affected by the immediacy and drama of the suspense, especially if the suspense takes over the plot completely. Keeping that delicate balance between danger and love is one that few authors do well, in my opinion, but Amber Lin is already one of the best. When I read Giving It Up, her first book in The Lost Girls series, I couldn’t believe how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Allie and Colin being in danger as much as their tender romance. So when I found out there was a sequel featuring Allie’s friend Shelly, I knew I was in for another wild roller-coaster ride before getting to what I wished and hoped would be Shelly and Luke’s happy ending.
In Selling Out, we see much more of the ugliness and depravity of the Chicago underworld than in the previous book. Shelly’s connections to this world run wide and deep, deeper than she realizes until it’s nearly too late. She tries to save other girls from the life whenever she can, but it’s the last girl she tries to save who may end up taking them all down with her. We revisit Shelly’s relationship with Colin’s brother Philip, and meet the other key players in the sad sordid life that Shelly keeps trying to leave behind, apparently to no avail. While Shelly’s motivations seem obvious, Luke’s become murkier as more of his past is revealed. By the time we reach the book’s moment of reckoning, it’s not clear if either Shelly or Luke can survive what has already happened and what will happen after all the secrets are revealed.
I loved Selling Out so very much, not only because of how wonderfully Amber Lin develops each of her characters, but also the intense level of emotion each of her characters brings out as they attempt to survive in a world where all the odds are set against them from the start. Neither Shelly’s redemption nor Luke’s love are guaranteed, but the path to both is a satisfying action-packed thrill ride you won’t regret.
Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 5 (several acts of sexually related violence, references to rape and incest)
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To celebrate the release of Selling Out, the second book in her Lost Girls series, Amber will be giving away $25 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
- Mandatory: Leave a question or comment for Amber about this book, the review, or any other burning need to know question you might have (good for 1 entry)
- Leave a comment at each stop on the blog tour to earn additional entries for the grand prize
- The winner(s) will be selected randomly from among all of the comments of the blog tour by either the author or by Goddess Fish Promotions who will also be responsible for contacting the winner(s). Please contact the promoter for all the official rules and disclaimers.
- Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit
- All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
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