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“They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they'll still be there looking at you.”
What if sex wasn’t precious? What if sex wasn’t just for the healthy, the wealthy and the beautiful? What would love be like if we stripped away the lies we tell each other and ourselves about sex? What would sex be like if we stripped away the burden of romantic love and celebrated all the ways sex makes us human?
Nothing stops time like a camera. Darby Randolph has a knack for hearing the off-note or catching a scent on the breeze and being in the right spot at the right time. He can catch lie or a moment of truth and suspend it because he understands the secrets humans hide and how to find them with his camera.
Like the subjects of his photographs, Darby is suspended and caught in a lie when a wrong number brings an entirely different animal to his doorstep. There’s never been a man like Carys Channing and Darby jumps at an invitation to tag along and witness love and sex through the eyes of a very high-end escort.
And what about the ways we feed or deprive ourselves with sex? Each of Channing’s clients is a different animal and has his own love story. Each client is a snapshot and glimpse into all the different ways a heart can love when we don’t lie to ourselves and each other about sex. Every photograph and every touch draws Darby closer to the truth and he becomes seduced by the elegant and enigmatic escort and his menagerie of clients.
Before we get started…
First and foremost, this will not be like any other book I’ve written. This book is built to be different. It will not follow the traditional romance path and it won’t feel like our usual K. Sterling love story. But, this is still very much a love story with a very happy ending for our main characters. Second and crucial: Carys Channing is a sex worker. Darby, like the author, believes there is dignity in all work and has absolutely no problem with the work Channing does. This book is not an examination or commentary on sex work. Channing operates within the industry from a place of extreme privilege and exercises incredible agency. He’s a fantasy and his primary role as an escort is to provide us with a snapshot of his clients, so we have an opportunity to bring a whole new cast of romantic heroes into the book. I didn’t want this to be the normal “escorts are good people and deserve love too” use of the sex worker trope. Let’s leave that behind and see what the freedom a character like Carys Channing and his clients offer us and what we can learn about love and sex through the eyes of a witness.
Trigger Warning Guide: This book contains many difficult themes and I wanted to help you navigate them in order to give you warning and avoid potential harm. Let’s start with a blanket warning about past abuse, even though we see very little of it on the page unless we look closely.
Ch. 1 Introduction- Grief and cancer Ch. 7 Affirmation- Agoraphobia and panic disorder Ch. 8- Past fat shaming and bullying Ch. 9 Isolation- Past fat shaming Ch. 11 Rendition- Aging, Alzheimer’s and death Ch. 12- Negative feelings re: self-worth Ch. 13 Dark Room- Past abuse, self-worth Ch. 16 Liberation- Disability/quadriplegia Ch. 20- Past abuse