The Lessons is an upbeat romantic comedy made complete with quick-witted dialogue and in-depth characterization. Elizabeth Brown brings a common dilemma to the table ("the curse of the 30 year old virigin") and explores it through unconventional means. If the plot alone hasn't captured your attention, be assured that the racy scenes between the two main characters will bring you to your knees and leave you begging for more.
Natalie is a planner. (You know the type!) She has meticulously strategized a plan for her life and makes every endeavor to stick to the plan.
"I got out a big red pen. It was time to make some edits."-Natalie
Unfortunately, as in most cases, life doesn't always happen the way we expect (or hope) it to. Natalie has just approached her 30th birthday.
"Thirty. Nothing like a milestone birthday to make you take stock of things. And me? This birthday made me realize how ashamed I was and how far my life had swung off course."-Natalie
Natalie is unmarried, alone, and despite her attractive physical features and successful career, she has somehow managed to maintain "virgin status". At this point in her life, her virginity is weighing her down and causing her severe anxiety. Natalie bravely makes a "new plan". She decides to leave her current life in New York and venture to San Francisco where she will continue her professional success at a new job and turn in her V-Card!
"It's time to get off my ass and get my life back on track."-Natalie
What does one do when they want to safely rid of their virginity? Simple, they hire a sexual surrogate. Natalie is confident that once she has sex she will be able to move forward with her life and get back to "the plan". Things are bound to get better for her now that she is literally "open to business"!
"A sexual surrogate helps patients to fix sexual problems by serving as a stand-in partner with whom to share physical and emotional intimacy. The therapy may or may not include sexual intercourse. Surrogates are frequently certified in fields such as counseling, psychology or sexuality and they often work in conjunction with psychologists and other therapists to help the patient."-LivestrongHealth.com
Natalie settles in quickly to her new home. However, the anticipation of meeting her new therapist and sexual surrogate looms over her like a black cloud. When she finally meets her therapist, she does her best to shield her insecurities. The fact that Natalie is a product of the foster system and has recently lost her adoptive mother to cancer, has left her on the defense regarding her emotions. Natalie is gifted at self control and compartmentalizing her emotions. When she meets her teacher Ryan, her sexual surrogate, the line between lust and love blurs into one colorful mess. The lessons he has in store for her will demolish her self control and expose her to a completely different category of schooling!
"Uh, yeah, my patnies are wet and I need an infusion of Ryan Andrews cock, stat."-Natalie
Ryan is an upbeat successful guy. He has been working on his doctorate in psychology and in order to make some extra money he works as a sexual surrogate. He has never struggled maintaining professionalism and yet, when he meets Natalie everything he has ever experienced is thrown at the window. He quickly falls for her and begins to want more then the standard sexual surrogate relationship. He wants a genuine relationship with her.
"She was so soft, so delicate...! My new client was so f*cking hot it was messing with my brain."
"Natalie was such a puzzle to me. Coarse and rough one moment, with a tomboyish sass, and then innocent and unsure the next. It both confused and enticed me-it kept me on my toes, like a puzzle I needed to solve."-Ryan
Natalie and Ryan, who were brought together through unconventional means, form a quick friendship. They have so much in common and the sexual chemistry between the two is off the charts. Ironically, Natalie has nothing to compare it to, which allows the reader to enjoy each sexual experience through her eyes. Let's just say "the magic of the first time' never felt so good! Although the two try to maintain a professional "patient/doctor" relationship, their paths are continuously crossing and the notion of "sex without emotions" is quickly cast off.
"Yes, I called him mine. He'd put his mouth on my vagina, and I was a feeling a little territorial about the whole thing. Sue me."-Natalie
I throughly enjoyed the journey that these characters took together. Ms. Brown has an irrefutable ability to describe every detail with amusement, sensuality, and class. My heart broke for Natalie and Ryan who were both striving to find the good in life. Their journey is littered with rocky terrain as Natalie and Ryan grapple questions of morality, their past hurts, and their ability to admit their feelings for each other. It is when they come together emotinoally, that true happiness is found.
"I'd never wanted something, someone, so much in my life. I'm not ever going to make that mistake again. You make me so happy; you make me laugh."-Ryan
Overall, I cannot rave enough about this read. This fresh perspective on sexual norms and issues of the heart will leave you breathless. I laughed, I cried, and I swooned with these characters through each and every page. The dual POV gives you a clear panoramic view of each scene as the plot unfolds. Additionally, the glimpses into Ryan's past intensifies your empathy for his character. The supporting characters were intriguing and I hope that we will see more of this scooby crew. If you are looking for a unique romantic comedy, look no further. I anticipate amazing things to come from this author. I look forward to reading more of her work and I for one, hope that there will be more lessons to learn. If Elizabeth Brown is teaching, this student will be never be late to class.
~BR with Mer and War! Thank you ladies for learning some lessons right along with me!~
~ARC graciously provided by Elizabeth Brown in exchange for an honest review.~
~The Lessons was read as part of a special Author Indie Star Chat on SHH at https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... Thank you Elizabeth for spending a week talking with us about your work. It was an amazing experience chatting with you while reading your bookl!~