Review: Incentive by Pam Godwin
Note: A review copy was provided by the author.
It's too late to hold on to the vulnerable pieces of myself. He's already taken them, and in exchange, he's given me hope. Hope that he won't hurt me. Hope that this will last.
Hope is the most dangerous incentive of all.
Le sigh! This book was so much more than I was expecting it to be. I love Pam Godwin's writing, and Incentive just happened to be the lone title that I had yet to read. I confess that my main worry was that because it belonged to an existing book universe, I was going to end up feeling like I was missing something. I'm very happy to report that wasn't the case at all! While the story has ties to Aleatha Romig's Infidelity book world, it was the companion matching service Infidelity that was the main connection. I never felt clueless or couldn't understand what was happening at any point in the story, so it's safe to say that this is a standalone.
Incentive is the story of Decker Gabrielli, a twenty-eight-year-old once-successful business owner whose world was shaken up after a scandal involving his best friend and business partner brought everything crashing down, and Laynee Somerset, a forty-year-old actress whose fame and fortune belies that trauma that she's endured from men she mistakenly trusted. After losing his bartending gig, Decker's desperation has him agreeing to an interview with Infidelity, a service that matches paying clients with a companion deemed suitable. He fears being matched with someone old and ugly; imagine Decker's shock when he meets his client and it turns out to be Laynee. He's nothing like the companion she requested for, but they're tied to each other for a whole year. How long will it take for Decker to prove himself worthy of Laynee's trust?
Pam Godwin is known for her dark romances, but if you think she isn't capable of writing lighter fare, think again! Yes, there's a fair bit of angst and some kink in Decker and Laynee's story, and yes, it's as steamy as you expect Godwin's books to be. However, this is, dare I say, more lighthearted in tone, and I'm certainly not complaining. I loved seeing Godwin take on this kind of storytelling because it highlights that she's a gifted author who isn't limited to "just" dark romances. Decker and Laynee were sublime main characters, and I felt privileged to have a front row seat to their relationship's journey. Theirs was a tale about trust and starting over, and I loved every bit of it. Five-plus stars go to Incentive! Dare I hope for a book about Reese Cromwell?
Date Read: 30 May 2021
Learn more about Pam Godwin.