I love reading Courtesan/Escort romances, perhaps because of Robin Schone’s The Lover or that is shows another faction of the human spirit of overcoming classes and those whose past are not pure white, or perhaps I watch Pretty Woman way to much, no matter the case, and while this book didn’t live up to the hype I had for it, it was still a very engaging read that had me reading to the end. Lady Ruth has just been tossed aside by her lastest protector for a younger woman. At Forty-one Ruth is at a cross-roads in her life dealing with her sexuality, her age and what other think of her. Her life changes again when she meets Barron Garrick Stratfield at a ball, and after he saves her from a few snubs from the set, Ruth and Garrick part ways until they meet again as they bid over Crawley Hall which both unknown to either want to buy to be built into an orphanage. Each meeting leads them both drawing closer to one another secrets and a sexual tension either can resist. Both leads have some deep wounds, thorns that have fester over the years. Ruth not only dealing with being a courtesan after so many years, but her age now comes into play and the What Ifs start popping up into her mind. Knowing it’s time to move on, she’s trying to help orphans for a better life and more options, something she didn’t have at the time. She’s very leery and with good reason of Garrick who while may be a younger man, makes her forgot her age and sees her as a sexual, desirable woman. She finds it odd how Garrick fights the attraction between them while offering friendship and when the truth behind Garrick’s actions are reveled Ruth is drawn even closer to him even when she knows it may well be her heart broken in the end. Garrick maybe a great kisser, but because of his abnormality he happen to be born with and after his evil Uncle (who was became Garrick and his siblings guardian before Garrick kicked him out) belittled him at a tender age. Garrick has hidden himself away from anything sexual, until he meets Ruth, even against his better judgment can’t keep his hands off . Ruth and Garrick both help the other deal with one another insecurities and their pasts. Like any chain, it’s only as strong as it’s weakest link, and sadly the characters for me fell into link. Both were strong characters, caring and dealt with a lot of hardships that only made them stronger were it could have broken anyone else. My problem was the merry-go-around they got stuck on. I can understand about the insecurities, I wouldn’t be human being if I didn’t have my own insecurities, but I don’t dwell on them like Ruth and Garrick did. Of course they were scarred and hurt by those around them that only caused their scars to deepen and re-open, they keep going back to square one. In any relationship, couples go through hurdles and when we thought Ruth and Garrick finally were over one hurdle it was like the same hurdle was here again. Ruth was point blank about Garrick’s abnormality, she even laid herself on the line in being blindfolded and tied up for Garrick to feel at ease when they first have sex, and still Garrick doubts her. Garrick proves to Ruth how much her age doesn’t matter, going out of his way to shower her with affection and still she doubts him. *headdesk* Their insecurities almost became a sort of character and monster Garrick and Ruth danced around and hid behind when things got a little to heavy for them. They were suppose to be stronger then that and even then strong people can be weak, but together the TRUSTand LOVE they put in one another and everything they went through should have been proof enough for them to have moved on from one hurdle and moved to another. My other trouble I had was the disbelief Garrick showed toward the end, and this cliché used many times over, of Ruth showing her love by putting herself into her own downfall and scandal and the Garrick not believing in her and only after someone (a stranger, policeman etc) says what she did, does he finally believe. I liked Garrick but by this point in the book I wouldn’t have minded kicking his butt to the curve. It would have been 10X better if he came to this knowledge on his own instead of someone else, because he believed and loved Ruth and knew her better then to spread a lie. Even the ending had this same cliché with Ruth’s father whom was narrow-minded only believed the truth of the his wife and Ruth’s mother he supposedly loved and he kicked out of his house, only after he found a journal of the truth did he believe after all these years. Wasn’t even given some groveling from the old geezer either! There were some bright spots in this book, the time when Garrick and Ruth weren’t hiding behind their insecurities and were together were some of the best moments and how much they grew to fall in love with one another. Burns is a strong writer and it shown in great shades in Pleasure Me, but not with the characters sadly.