At Your Beck & Call by Jane Harvey-Berrick
Published by Harvey Berrick Publishing
Published on May 30, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
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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.
4.5 stars – At Your Beck & Call was unexpected, unpredictable, gritty, and emotional. This is a book I won’t soon forget.
Hallen has been an escort for the past seven years and as the blurb says, “not all services are professional.” He’s extremely good at what he does, knowing just what his clients need without them having to say a word. It’s his job to make the woman he sees feel special, at ease, and satisfied, something he can do now with his eyes closed. But after all these years, it finally begins to take its toll.
I stood for a long time, letting the hot water pour over me. Some nights I felt like I could never get clean again.
I wasn’t sure how I felt in the beginning of this. I was interested, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting. What we get is a VERY in depth look at Hallen’s life and events that have shaped the man he has become. Hallen is currently 28-years old, but this story goes back to his time in college and how he got into the escorting business, briefly visits his life prior to that, and extensively details memorable clients he’s worked with during his career.
I think I was expecting a more fun, sexy first half but honestly much of it kind of depressing and left me feeling unsure. There is no sugar coating what happens and at times it was hard to read about. Hallen is a really closed off person, he can “turn it on” for his clients but he never shows who he really is and has lost sight of his true goals and dreams for his life. After awhile I really started to understand him and could even empathize with how he compartmentalized his life.
The whole book feels pretty intense, Hallen is bearing everything for the reader and his point of view feels very genuine and is so well done for a guy’s perspective. There is a real shift in the story when it is brought back into present and you can understand just how low Hallen is beginning to feel. When he meets a new client, things begin to change for him. What I loved about him and Laura was that it is very different from how I expected things to go. I really could never predict how their relationship was going to progress.
“I knew there was a cost, but honestly, it didn’t bother me that much. Until I met you.”
Laura is much older than Hallen, having children of her own who are closer to his age than she is. Having a friendship, let alone a relationship, is extremely complicated.
Two sets of emotions were warring in my brain, the side that insisted this was just another job; and the side that said she was mine- my woman. It was confusing, and I was finding it difficult to catch my breath. For the first time in a long time, I was with a woman I want to be with. The balance shifted between us again and I felt like I was surfacing and drowning all at the same time.
These two really just broke my heart and warmed my heart all at the same time. On one hand they have so many obstacles to overcome to be together – their age difference, Hallen’s job, Laura’s past relationship and children, and SO much more that I could have never anticipated (and seriously felt like a punch to the stomach). On the other hand, they bring out so much in each other and how they help each other become the people they want to be is honestly just remarkable to read. There wasn’t a second that I wasn’t rooting for them to be happy and together.
“You’re so beautiful,” she said.
“Of course you are. You’re a beautiful man.”
“I don’t feel it, in here,” and I pointed to my chest.
“Oh, you’re so wrong. That’s the most beautiful part.”
Even though At Your Beck & Call didn’t start out how I thought, it ended up exceeding my expectations as I kept reading. I can’t think of a book that I’ve read that is such equal parts emotional, sexy, depressing, and uplifting all at the same time. I loved it! 4.5 stars.
“There’s always change –it’s how we meet it that matters. You and me –together.”
“So, what other services do you offer, Hallen?”
How many times had I been asked that question? How many times had I answered it?
She laid her hand on my knee, her gaze sharp, questioning, lustful—and ashamed.
The light was not kind to her, emphasizing hard lines around her mouth, the overly tight skin of her forehead.
She should have chosen a bar with softer lighting. Candlelight hides a multitude of sins. Except my sins are all on the inside.
When I’d arrived at the designated restaurant earlier in the evening, she’d been careful to conceal her age. Maybe she thought I’d care. I didn’t. I gave my name to the hostess and asked her to let Ms. Mandelsohn know that I had arrived.
It was always interesting meeting a new client—a challenge, too—getting to know her, putting her at ease, helping her to feel comfortable, working out what she wanted from a date. She needed to feel safe with me, like I’d take care of her in all senses of the words. And talking is underrated as a method of foreplay. Clients often said they felt like they’d known me for years. Well, they knew the part I showed them, which wasn’t the same thing at all. But it was enough to let me fuck them.
They didn’t always want sex—or they said they didn’t. Once they’d met me, they often changed their minds.