The Fifth Favor - Shelby Reed This the the story of an unremarkable, average woman who meets a remarkably shiny new man toy. She wins him over with her innocence and changes a lonely sexual god into a perfect life partner. Sounds familiar...hmmm...It was okay. Romantic at times. Cheesy at times. I was in turns bored and turned on. So a three star read for me, even though I am once again in the minority with my average rating."Teach me, Billie. All I know are scripted lies."Usually, you think of an investigative reporter as tough as nails, willing to get down and dirty to get the scoop. Not so with Billie. She's somewhat naive, and that innocence is what lands her in hot water when she meets the subject of her next big story. Adrian is a male escort, and not only is he prime male flesh, built to please with the easy ability to seduce, but he's the top choice of women from all over the world. These women come to the sex club Avalon and pay upwards of a thousand dollars an hour for Adrian's services. And at first, Adrian seems to revel in his job.During Billie's first interview with Adrian, these two seem to bring out a new desperation in each other. Adrian is intrigued by this woman who puts up a tough front bus flinches at the slightest touch, blushes at a few naughty words...so he begins to play with her. And Billie is obviously attracted to the sex-on-a-man stick that she's stuck interviewing...who wouldn't be? When he makes is obvious that he'd like to show her just how good he is at his job, Billie makes it very clear that she's not willing to go that far for her job.At least, not yet.I seemed to enjoy this story a bit less than a lot of people. I didn't feel like I connected with either Adrian or Billie like I should have. I felt sympathy when Adrian's life is revealed in bits and pieces. But I also felt like he made his own bed, to a certain extent. No one was forcing him to stay in his line of work. He seemed to have just fallen in to a rut. Things start going very badly for him in personal ways, and Billie just happens to be let in on the man behind the mask, per se. She gets to see the real Adrian...heck, she gets to learn his real name! And she eventually caves in to his expert sexual ministrations. Yum, yum!One thing that bothers me in romance novels is when a woman chases after a man...it screams of teenage desperation. Convincing a man is a whole different ballgame, but Billie doesn't do much convincing...she just tells Adrian what he really feels for her. Of course, he concurs.Uuuh...really?So for me, this relationship didn't flow naturally, and at times felt forced. I never got that comfortable feeling that I like with my romances. And there is a suspense sub plot to the romance that wasn't really necessary. It could have been okay had it been handled differently and not taken up so much page time. The friend committing suicide added a sympathy factor, which I definitely think Adrian needed in order to establish the toll that his lifestyle takes on him. But the intrigue about whether or not Adrian had had anything to do with the death was overkill. The other escorts all sort of ganging up on him? Just weird, and not exactly believable that they had all worked together for so long but not a single person stood up for him.However, I can still see the appeal for many readers. It's a story of a beautiful man who needs the right woman to save him from himself."For a man whose life encompassed the raw, emotionless aspect of base human urges, he was unequivocally inclined toward gentleness. The tenderness of him, the dichotomy he was proving himself to be drove all rational thought from her mind, snagged her breath in her throat and filled her with longing. Deeper than sexual. Soul deep..."I'd say, read this if you like escort books, if you like a little drama on the side, if you need a book with some hot loving. It was somewhat forgettable for me, but an easy way to pass the time.