Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Author's Pal in exchange for an honest review.
By the Hour is the much awaited second novel in bestselling author Roni Loren's Pleasure Principle series and it lived up to the high level of standard set by its predecessor, series starter Off the Clock. If you've read (and loved!) the first book, Dr. Elle McCray and Lane Cannon, the main protagonists in this second book, should be more than familiar to you. Both these then-supporting characters left their mark, and now, they've got their own story to tell, and if you thought you had an inkling of who they were from book one, you're going to be in for one hell of a surprise when you realize how different they actually are from who you may have perceived either of them to be.
Dr. Elle McCray knows what she wants out of her life. She has direction and nothing and no one is going to derail her. The betrayal of a man she had exchanged vows with taught her many harsh lessons, making her into the aloof and cold-hearted woman she is today. Her work at The Grove is what keeps her focused on her goals and no one, not even the flirty meanderings of someone like Lane Cannon will distract her. Unfortunately, Lane has set his sights on her, and The Grove's sexual surrogate intends to tear down every one of her defenses. One night of hate sex has him wanting more, and while Elle may think she's holding the reins, Lane knows who's truly in control here.
I don't think I'm the only one who didn't think very highly of Elle in book one. The woman was downright awful and she thought that her bitchy ways would get her what she wanted. Now, knowing that she was going to be the main female character in book two already had me wondering what her back story was and I had all my fingers and toes crossed that this wasn't going to end up being one of those books that had me hating the heroine, which would lead to her spoiling the entire reading experience for me. Roni Loren didn't just make Elle tolerable; she gave this woman a story that made me understand why she was the way she was, and so I found myself liking her.
Of course, Lane was the kind of hero that I couldn't help but like. The man had purpose and there was so much more to him than being a former escort. Elle belittled him, choosing to fling barbs and insults his way when she felt he was getting too close, but Lane knew her modus operandi and stuck to his guns. He wanted Elle and nothing she could say or do was going to break his resolve. His back story was as interesting as Elle's was, and he was already someone likable to begin with. The more I got to know him in this book, the easier it was for me to see why Elle's attempts to keep her feelings at bay and to remain detached were going to fail miserably, as they should, indeed!
And hello? Can I just say how hot these two were together? They took hate sex to a completely different stratosphere, and if sex with someone you hated was as good as what these two had, well I would think hate sex would be more of a thing. I thought what Marin Rush and Donovan West had in Off the Clock was steamy, but goodness, Lane and Elle took the cake again and again...and again. So, why just five stars instead of a similar five-plus-star rating? I confess that I grew a bit frustrated with Elle's two steps forward, one step back thing pattern of behavior with Lane. However, in terms of overall reading experience, By the Hour more than left me happily sated. ♥
Read my reviews for the Pleasure Principle series:
Off the Clock (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review
By the Hour (book two) - five stars - My Review (posted above)
Date Read: 04 May 2017
Learn more about Roni Loren.