Continuing with the Rights & Responsibilities Challenge:
23) Buy porn. Read an erotic romance.
For this part of the challenge, I decided to read Audrey Carlan’s Calendar Girl: Volume One, which is the first book in a four volume series. Published in 2015, this first book covers the months of January, February, and March.
Mia Saunders is a mid twenties, aspiring actress, who puts her own ambitions aside in order to, once again, save her family from themselves. Mia’s mother left home when Mia was only 10 and her sister 5. At that young age, Mia becomes a surrogate parent to her sister, since their father is a compulsive gambler and alcoholic. Granted, he didn’t abandon his children, but he’s basically of little use to them since Mia has to take care of the family. This time, he ends up owing a loan shark who has him beaten to within an inch of his life, putting him in a coma. The responsibility for the loan then falls on Mia’s shoulders. Not only that, but Mia has been contributing money to her sister’s education, wanting to ensure that at least one of them will escape the hopelessness of their upbringing. In order to earn the money owed to the shark, Mia turns to her aunt who runs a high class escort service. Aunt Millie suggests that her niece become an escort for the next year, which should get her the money she needs. Each month, she will spend time with a wealthy client. Sex is not required, but if she does sleep with the client, she will earn $20,000 more than the fee she collects each month.
This story is the start of an erotic series, but there’s more here than just titillation. Each month is written like a novella, where Mia becomes involved in the ups and downs of her clients’ lives. Each one also teaches Mia something about herself or about life in general. In addition, her friends, family members, and even past clients pop back in and out of her life as the year progresses.
Although I was certainly drawn into each story, there were parts of it that really bothered, if not puzzled me. For instance, Mia’s aunt owns Exquisite Escorts, so why can’t she help Mia out financially, instead of putting Mia to work? That just seemed rather cold and callous. Also, although Mia certainly goes into this with her eyes open, she didn’t plan on or want to do it initially. It bugged me that she had to put her body on the line to pay for a man’s bad decisions, even though I recognize that her family was under threat. In fact, it’s admirable that Mia shoulders this responsibility, but it’s clearly a cross she insists upon bearing, martyr-like, as some of her clients offer their financial help to get her out of it and she refuses to take it. At times, I didn’t quite get Mia. She seems to look on her year as an escort as an unwanted burden but then talks about how she looks forward to the next month so she can continue to learn about herself and meet new people. So, is she just making lemonade out of lemons or is she into this, despite herself? I don’t know. In any event, I’m curious enough to continue reading, but the story still gets mixed reviews from me. I’d give it a B-.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 9 down, 9 to go