Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Selling Scarlett ( Love Inc. #1 ) by Ella James

Selling Scarlett by Ella James

Elizabeth DeVille doesn't belong at a party like this - one where the gowns cost more than her Camry and cigars run higher than her grad school utility bills. Dragged out of seclusion by her best friend Suri, Elizabeth is merely playing dress-up, rubbing elbows with a crowd that banished her troubled family years ago.

Hunter West is tired. Tired of parties, tired of pretending, and tired of trying to right a wrong that haunts him every day. Bourbon heir and professional poker player by day, by night Hunter is gambling with his life in a high-stakes game of crime and blackmail. 

When Elizabeth stumbles into Hunter's den of vices, she's a light in the darkness, a flame in the void. And, just like everything he touches, Hunter mars her in a record time. To rectify the damage done, Elizabeth needs money she doesn't have, and she's come up with a foolproof way to get it.

Follow Elizabeth - code-named Scarlett - to the lush Nevada brothel where she'll auction her virginity and risk the only thing that's not for sale: her heart. The highest bidder is a familiar face, with wicked hands and the devil's mouth. And a secret so dark that it could cost her life.




I love the unique plot of this story, is something I never even remotely read before. A woman who tries to sell her V-card for a noble cause. That sounds Victorian, which make me assume that this was initially a historical romance. The cover and the blurb sounds like the normal fluff, but there were some pretty serious issue dealt here. Kidnapping, abuse, human trafficking, friendship and love, of course. 

The heroine, Elizabeth aka Libby is a virgin, a fact that will usually make me cringe, but she is not the usual kind who annoys me with her naivety or act all holier than thou. She is such a courageous, strong and selfless character. The length she would go to help her best friend, Cross, might make you question her sanity, but I simply wanted to salute her. Cross was fatally injured in an accident and now laying comatose, Libby needs money to get him into the best healthcare facilities. I bet this woman will even sell her soul to the devil if this is a paranormal book. Her reaction towards her situation feels so real and I snickered whenever she talked about her 'belly bats'. 

Meanwhile, there is the enigmatic Hunter West, Libby's secret crush since she first met him six years ago. He is the West Bourbon heir, professional poker player and also the frequent patron of Love Inc, the high end brothel established by his best friend, Marchant. Although we have Hunter's POV, his background, secret and motivation are part of the mystery and towards the end I still find myself finding out new tidbits about him as a character. 

Hunter find himself in a very sticky situation that might threaten his freedom and his family reputation. An escort of the Love Inc was missing and Hunter was turning out to be the prime suspect. Initially, I thought he seems like typical alpha male, but later I found out that's not the case. All I can say is 'Aww....poor Hunter'. From the beginning of the book, I had no idea Hunter was such a tortured hero, now I just wanted to wrap him up and assure him that everything is going to be alright. 

The prologue and the first quarter of the book threw me off guard and I kept splitting my head trying to figure out what the hell is happening. Either the author is lousy in conveying the message or she intentionally keep me in the dark, I'm not sure, but I'm so wildly intrigue and got so caught up with the mysterious plot.

Hunter keep popping in and out of the picture throughout the book and left me panting every time he vanished. I just wanted to simply put a thumb on him and keep him on the page with Libby. Okay, that sounds weird. Although the amount of page time that Libby and Hunter were actually together was not as much as I would prefer, I found their romance really heart warming and sweet. They both care for each other deeply even before they were an item. They spent most of the book getting embroiled in the chaos that I anticipating some down time for them to just be together. I find Libby kind of like a knight in shining armor trying to save him from the evil. She is so stubborn and persistent when it comes to getting what she wants. She is simply marvelous. 

We also had a great cast of secondary characters, the girls at Love Inc, Loveless and Juniper, Hunter's best friend, Marchant, Libby's best friend, Suri and Cross. I wonder will Cross end up with Suri in the next book. Last but the least the woman I hate the most, Priscilla Heat. Urg! I so wanted to punch her fake boobs and skin off her sprayed-on tan.

My minor problem is with the overall investigation on the missing escort. There was simply too many parties involves and some parts were not explained clearly during the process. I find myself feeling puzzled most of the time. Anyway, Hunter and Libby were simply too intriguing that I don't really give a damn on that issue. The HEA epilogue we got is really sweet and it wrapped up all the unanswered question nicely. Though I wish I got much more elaborate epilogue or maybe even another half length of a book dedicated for their time together. I'm looking forward to Cross book to get some glimpses into Hunter and Libby's life later.

"One time I fell in love with a woman in a Porsche".

Rating 5/5