ARC REVIEW: The Escort (Shamed #3) by Laura Marie Altom

♦♦♦ RELEASE DAY ♦♦♦

I didn’t read the two preceding novels where Nathan Black and Carol Moore are introduced. When I requested this book on NetGalley I wasn’t clear that it was book 3 in this series. That said, I don’t feel like I missed anything pivotal about Carol or Nathan by not having read the previous books. The Escort can easily be read as a standalone. I will say that what I read of Ella and Liam here did not endear me to go back and read their love story.

The Escort begins with both Carol and Nathan standing on the sidelines of Ella and Liam’s wedding sulking. Nathan has been carrying a torch for his friend Ella and it’s no secret that Carol has been in love with Liam, her boss, forever. To say that Carol and Nathan aren’t exactly happy for the happy couple is an understatement.  So what do they do to assuage their pain? They go off to a back room to have hot sexy time!

Even though Carol and Nathan start as each other’s rebound and a way to get their minds off pining for Ella and Liam, their feelings change and grow. I was so on board with these two broken souls at this point. Unfortunately, as we learn more about Carol and Nathan, I liked their characterizations less and less. I felt both of their struggles, but pity is the last thing I want to feel for protagonists in a romance novel.

Nathan is less “bad boy” than the blurb suggests. I liked that Nathan was a stand-up guy who wants to prove himself on his own terms to show Carol he is worthy of her. Regrettably, Nathan’s pride increasingly works against him as his relationship with Carol progresses. There were many points that I felt Nathan was being rather naive and acting more like a teenager than a grown man. Carol, OTOH, projects an “ice queen” persona of someone who has it together when actually she is one of the most insecure heroines I’ve read in a long time. Both MCs are plagued by their issues until almost the very end of the book. I will say that of the two Carol handles her own issues better and bounces back in a more positive way. Nathan takes much longer to get with the program, which had me like…

At the latter part of story, everything sped up and there’s a rush to the end for Carol and Nathan to get things right. Because it’s told in between time jumps, I had trouble believing they were really ready for HEA.

Though The Escort fell short in certain areas for me, it’s overall a good story with compelling protagonists who have sizzling chemistry and enough angst to keep readers engaged.

*ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

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