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Rise

Hold, Book 4
Narrated by: Kirsten Leigh
Series: Hold, Book 4
Length: 5 hrs and 18 mins
4 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For almost a year, Talia has lived as a sex worker for the High Director of the Coalition Council, providing recreational sex and sensual pleasure for some of the most important and influential people in the explored universe. After a difficult and joyless childhood, she now has comfort and security, living and working in the center of power in Coalition space. She has everything she needs, and she doesn't know she has anything else to hope for - until she meets Desh.

Sex with Desh is better than she's ever known sex could be, but they have no future together. Desh is a rising champion in a combat tournament, but she knows he's hiding secrets. He's on a doomed mission that will likely kill him in the end. And even if it doesn't, Talia will always be a sex worker. Her job is to have sex with other men. She can offer her body to Desh for now, but offering her heart to him would mean giving up her hope of a future - and probably risking her life.

Falling in love is the most dangerous thing she can do.

©2017 Claire Kent (P)2018 Claire Kent

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kd
  • 05-03-18

More than it 1st seems

Talia was 18 and the usual young female type in romance and erotica tales. She's described in common ways too with a "heart-shaped face" and rounded hips. She had some body issues not being what she called "slim," though she admits that she wasn't "fat" or "overweight." So this story sends a great message that women should be self-conscious about their body if they don't meet a certain standard. Sigh. Also common among romance novels, Talia is "inexperienced." There is a bit of world-building in the tale, but not a lot. In the background, we learn about struggles and battles with very little detail.
There was one developed planet in Talia's universe. She grew up on a poor, undeveloped planet in a poor family of miners with few options. Her dad signed her up to be chosen for the leisure suite on earth. She'd been chosen as an escort which benefitted her family. She didn't want to return to her old fashioned home planet that was unnamed. She believed her position gave her a better chance for a good life, one that was to be found if she, and others like her, convinced a man to provide her with security in exchange for access to her body at his will. So her mentor, Ginelle, a high-achieving escort, instructed Talia not to romanticize and to focus solely on "seeking donations."
Men were considered easily manipulated & all the same as takers. Women just wanted men to like them & give them material items. And men just wanted to be studs. So a stereotypical view of both men & women was common during the 1st half of the book.
While "seeking donations," without any disease protection at any time, Talia met Marshall, a commander, and Desh or Dash, a 28-yr-old combatant (aka fighter/gladiator). Talia tried to become Earth's next "Pretty Woman." That included finally having an orgasm during sex. I won't tell you how or with whom. Talia was too needy, wanting more than anything, at first, to be desired, chosen & considered pretty.
There was a slow reveal of the story's conflict. As it was revealed, the story got better. It started as slightly below average and, midway thru, rose to average. The narrator played a big part in the improvement. It's largely another story of love thru sex. But it was not insta-love, and they spent time sharing their life stories and confidences to a degree. So beginners' love seemed plausible. There's a nice surprise that I shoulda seen coming but didn't. And the ending was feasible as well.
Even w/ an escort as a main character, the tale isn't all sex nor gratuitous sex, but there's still enough sex thrown in. And some of it is very sexy w/ a degree of romance.

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Absolutely loved this one!!

This author has a true talent for writing stories that are really tricky to get right and getting them right. It's so hard for anyone to get their dynamic right (same as all the other couples in the series). With every book in this series there should be such an imbalance of power in the heroes and the heroines but SOMEHOW she manages to pull it off and do an incredible job at it! There are so many things someone can (and often do) get so wrong in a story where one MC is a prostitute or promiscuous in anyway and the other is 100% a monogamous being, but she gets every single element right! While he's gutted with what she has to do he never makes her feel low about it, but shows enough emotion that we KNOW he's completely gutted. The heroine is so sensical and logical about it all while still being warm, open, and loving with the hero.

This has been one of my favorite series ever and I'm desperately hoping for more. This author is an absolute gem!

She also goes back and forth between multi POV to single POV and pulls it off.

The performance is also fantastic! She does male voices so well. Like this incredible author she just gets it right!

There's so much more she can do with this series and I would've liked a more final resolution to the major conflict of the entire series. While I'm super bummed she ended the series and it felt unfinished overall, I'm still really glad I read the books.