Hallen Jansen has it all. At 28, he has a flashy car, a great apartment, and a job he’s good at and that he loves – as an escort – working at your beck and call.
His life is easy, with no emotions or attachments slowing him down – choosing to keep moving, always running from the past.
But when a new client awakens unfamiliar feelings, all bets are off. Can he convince a recently divorced woman twenty years older to trust men again – to trust him? Can Hallen trust himself not to screw things up?
Surrounded by people who choose to judge them, will they make their relationship a reality, or is it heartbreak for both?
Not all services are professional.
And she does it again!!
5 STARS FOR HALLEN & LAURA!
I was sooo excited to read this book and it did not disappoint. A hot sexy male escort and an older female client turned lover. Sounds wickedly intriguing, right?
Hallen Jansen is an escort, to put it politely. If we’re being less PC, he’s a hooker. A prostitute. A gigalo. Or in his own words…
“I fuck women for money.”
He kind of fell into the job, as you do, right? Like any poor, college student, he needed a way to pay for his education. When a job making porn came up, Hallen had his first taste of working in the sex industry. But it wasn’t until a few years later when he met Eloise, that he started making a living by selling his ‘services’ to women. And that was what he had been doing ever since.
Horny women = hard dick.
Any guy can do the math. It’s a reflex, like blinking.
Before we go any further, can we just take a moment to appreciate the finery that is Hallen Jansen. Oh. My. Goodness. Now, obviously, the man has had an inordinate amount of practice in the art of pleasing a woman, but boy does he know his stuff. In fact, I’m considering asking Jane HB for the number of his agent, because I’m not too proud to admit that he sounds like a service worth paying for.
“Costs a fortune to fuck him, but it’s totally worth it.”
The first half of this book is a hilarious, frank account of the day to day life of a male escort. We are introduced to many of Hallen’s clients. Older women; young women; bossy, controlling women; terrified, women in need of a confidence boost; women who want to rip his clothes off as soon as they meet him; women who just want company and intelligent conversation; karma sutra positions; drugs; swingers parties; celebrity soirées; paid for vacations on luxury yachts… The stories that Hallen treats us to are brilliant and everything I wanted to know about the life of an escort. And come on, admit it, you so do want to know about the life of an escort!
“Maybe you’ve convinced yourself that you’re a pioneer, but the truth is that I’m a whore and you’re a pimp. I’ve been spat on, slapped, punched, whipped, laughed at, jeered at, patronized, pissed on and ignored. I’ve done some degrading shit that makes me sick to my stomach to remember. I’ve been a commodity and passed around and yeah, I made a lot of goddamn money because clients like the packaging, and I fuck any woman who pays for it.
You think that doesn’t have a price?”
Now, ordinarily, I am a major advocator of straight-up, no-nonsense romance. I want to know who my two main characters are, I want them to meet early on and I want to spend the whole book rooting for them. At Your Beck & Call wasn’t like that… but for once, I think the book was all the better for it. I was so fascinated by Hallen’s anecdotes that I just lapped every word up, despite the lack of true ‘romance’ in the first half of the book.
“I’ve had sex with hundreds of women, Laura, but I’ve only made love to one.”
In fact, I loved the way it gave us a real insight into who Hallen was. Each time he’d meet a client, he wouldn’t notice the effects the job was having on his psyche and his self-worth. However, over the span of many years, his self-esteem was eroded away, little by little and the end result was a young, gorgeous, sensitive guy, with so much to offer, but so many issues. Without the level of detail provided by the first half of this book, we wouldn’t have witnessed this downward spiral in Hallen, and therefore wouldn’t have truly understood the personal challenges he faced when he finally met the woman he wanted to have a future with.
“Laura, I can’t take away everything that I’ve done. I wish I could. I don’t like who I’ve become. I wasn’t always this.” Her brown eyes melted into mine. “I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, but when you look at me like that I feel as if I’ve been given a second chance.”
This brings me to Laura. Laura is The Older Woman. The broken, divorced client in need of a man to show her how special she is. We don’t meet Laura until almost half way through the book. But that didn’t matter. I still loved her character, felt connected to her and wanted her and Hallen to make things work.
“Love doesn’t come in neat little boxes – it’s messy and disorganized and a pain in the ass.”
Once again, Jane Harvey-Berrick has done an outstanding job of writing a vulnerable hero. Her heroes, to me, are some of the very best. They have an innocence, despite the things they’ve been through and seen, and a vulnerability that makes you want to wrap them up and protect them from life, from themselves, from everything bad. Every time I read one of Jane’s books, I finish up feeling completely head over heels in love and fiercely protective of the hero she has given me. First with Sebastian, and then Daniel, then Miles, then Jordan… and now Hallen.
“What do you want, Hallen? You’ve been at everyone else’s beck and call for years – what do you want?”
As always, Jane writes scorchingly hot sex scenes, in At Your Beck & Call. As I’m sure you can appreciate, there are quite a few opportunities for experimentation and creativity when it comes to writing a story about a prostitute, so you will get all kinds of education with this book. But, obviously, Jane’s skills for writing a steamy love scene really come into their own when Hallen meets Laura. The chemistry and mutual adoration just roll off of the page. I loved their relationship. I loved that they are both so unsure, that they both felt that they were the inferior one in the relationship, that they wanted to make things work, even though there were a million reasons it might not.
“Jag vill dela evigheten med dig. I want to share eternity with you.”
This stand-alone adult romance is superbly written, fascinatingly original, bold, controversial, heart-breaking and heart-warming, all at once. It is abundantly clear that the author has done her research into the lifestyle and, despite this being a work of fiction, I really felt like I was reading an accurate account of an occupation that receives much speculation and judgement. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip into the life, heart and mind of an escort.
Sex should be intimate, not something sold to the highest bidder. I was such a fucking fool.
I could rattle on for as long as you’d be patient enough to listen, about how much this book intrigued me and gripped me. About how amazingly perfect and broken and misguided and wonderful Hallen is. About how much I worship Jane Harvey-Berrick and devour every book she brings out and then pester her for more each time. I could, but I won’t. You get the idea. If you’re looking for an original, fascinating, sexy, loveable story that you can really lose yourself in, At Your Beck & Call is a must read!
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