Please take me with you. Or kill me. Anything but leave me in this misery for one more day.
Title: Hidden Gem
Series: Hidden Gem, #1
Author: Lissa Kasey
Cover Artist: Shobana Appavu
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Sept 26, 2014
Genre: BDSM / Mystery/Suspense / Other Paranormal / Science Fiction / Werewolves/Shapeshifters
Heat: You’ll need a cold shower and/or some private time
Length: 246 pages
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Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi—a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion—a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find.
Shane McNaughton is an Irishman who survived the Third World War and works as a cop. Head of Missing Persons, he’s good at finding people, but after the plague of the Third mutated his DNA, he has a hard time letting anyone see the monster inside. He’s been paying for Aki’s services for two years, both the psi and the sexual kind, but he wants more from the companion.
Shane needs Aki’s ability to see into another person’s past to track down a serial killer murdering the children of rich and powerful men, but the more they work together, the clearer it becomes that they are linked through a darker past than either of them realizes.
Aki’s life has been a combination of nightmare, pain, loss, abuse, torture, and oddly, most recently family and maybe even love. He can’t touch people unless he wants to be subjected to their thoughts, pain, and memories. This is kind of a problem since he’s also a companion(whore)—the top paid one in the all of City M, in fact. Being a psi isn’t easy and isn’t something he can hide—their eyes give them away. There are only two exceptions to his touching issues, his best friend, Candy (also a companion) and Paris (a senator who was once a companion at the Hidden Gem just like Aki), not that anyone knows why they can touch him and it not send Aki into convulsions and nightmares.
Detective Shane McNaughton—whom Aki and Candy call the big DM, lol—hasn’t had a great life either. He’s the product of a plague that spread through the ranks of the Northern soldiers at the end of the 3rd World War. He survived, but it changed him. He is now a genetic mutation who must change monthly into his animal form. It’s not tied to the moon and it’s lycanthropy, per se, but it is painful, dangerous, and most don’t survive the first change. He did and that was decades ago.
There’s a serial killer on the loose killing kids and then mutilating them. McNaughton seeks Aki’s help but that comes with a lot of risk to Aki as his powers are never kind to him. All this is intermixed with the two of them trying to deal with the realization of desires, needs, kink, sparkly shoes (Aki has a serious pretty shoe fetish that Shane is more than happy to help feed), Aki’s past coming to light—a past he didn’t remember!—and more.
This is not your simple little story that will be a quick, easy read for a lunch break. It is however a sexy, sensual, read that will have you turning the pages to try to figure out what’s going to happen next, what happened to Aki, who the hell the baddie is, and just where did he come from…. There are so many layers that I reread the book before I reviewed it, not wanting to have missed anything. And yes, I enjoyed it just as much the second time!
As anyone that’s read my books know, I have a thing for food and clothing in my stories… and I just l o v e Aki’s wardrobe and shoe horde. This is not a shelf or even collection, I assure you. I promise, the mention of these trappings and more are in no way extras or fluff. It always adds to the scene and the character in a positive way and often makes you understand them just a little more. I’ve never seen clothing, shoes, and makeup used so skillfully!
Hidden Gem is an incredible thriller, a stunning and creative romance, and a true Lissa Kasey story. I cannot wait to read Cardinal Sins (book 2) and cannot recommend this book highly enough.
About the Author:
Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.
*eBook copy given by author in exchange for honest review.