This sometimes somber and intense story continues to showcase the author’s ability to pen a sensual and emotional tale about damaged women and their struggle to heal from their various wounds. Shelly’s self-image is reflected in the following quote: “They praised me, they used me, and so I found sustenance.” but she, and those around her need to accept that “no matter what had happened in the past, you could choose your present.” Her journey is an enthralling combination of angst and hope and the revelations about her past and the past of those around her is occasionally startling but definitely mesmerizing. It was nice to get a glimpse of the characters from the first novel in the series, but somewhat heart-wrenching to read about the cruelty that shaped the lives of many of the characters and continues to haunt them. I think this is another fascinating couple with an intensely complex relationship who epitomize the statement, “Forgiveness isn’t about whether you deserve it or not. It comes freely or not at all. Like love.” Words we can all live by.
“Selling Out” by Amber Lin is book 2 of the ‘Lost Girls’ series, a dark and erotic exploration of the lives of women who have eked out a living as call girls but who learn to expect more of themselves and those around them. Shelly has been through a series of horrific experiences which have shaped her into the survivor that she is but her foray into respectability quickly fizzles when her former pimp forces her to resume her previous life. Her complicated relationship with both Phillip, the man who had paid generously for her extended companionship and Luke, the policeman who believes that she is better than she herself believes is an intricate and mine-filled dance that she may not be able to navigate successfully. Her desire to help others caught in her situation leads her to actions which may undermine any success at reinventing herself, especially since her apparent allies have secrets of their own.
Shelly Laurent escapes her life as a high-class escort, but against her better judgment she takes the scared young Ella with her. In retaliation, her pimp and his dirty cops frame them both for murder. On the run, Shelly turns to the one man who could be her salvation: Detective Luke Cameron. She doesn't know if she can trust him or if he's just a mirage, but she needs his help to free them all.
With a heart forged in fire and irreverence born of necessity, Shelly fights Ella's demons--and faces her own. She throws light on the shadows of Chicago's underworld, challenging everything she knew and the man she's come to love. Together, a prostitute and a cop fight for truth stronger than secrets, hope deeper than deception, and a bond more enduring than betrayal.