The Intergalactic Star Pilot Academy has accepted Thierry Leroux into the elite class of sky year 2231. But the academy comes with a hefty price tag, and there's no way he, a poor Sythe orphan, has the credits the academy requires. Thierry's brother, Corbin, a high-class companion, suggests Thierry sell his virginity for the cost of tuition. It seems like a ridiculous idea, but it may be Thierry's only shot, so Thierry asks Corbin to arrange a meeting on the pleasure planet of Wish.
On Wish, Thierry meets Corbin's boss, Monroe, and they agree to auction off Thierry's virginity. Thierry is grateful to the masked buyer he knows only as "Dragonfly", and Dragonfly is gentle, making Thierry's first time a good memory. When Dragonfly requests to see him again, and pay for the pleasure, Thierry returns to Wish. But in this game, falling in love is dangerous for the heart, and Thierry might not like the man behind the mask.
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Sucker punch of feels!
The first thing that surprised me about To the Highest Bidder is that there’s a surprising amount of fluff and angst in it. It’s…fluffangsty. Yeah, I just made up a word. Deal with it. The other thing that surprised me is just how invested I got in the story, the world building, and Thierry, Corbin and Monroe.
I listened to the first 60% with a huge smile on my face just really enjoying the story.
Corbin, Thierry’s older brother, is a high-class companion who suggests that Thierry sell the only thing he has of value – his virginity – in order to pay for the tuition to an elite Pilot Academy. Thierry has only ever wanted to pilot a spacecraft and agrees, reluctantly, that selling his virginity to the highest bidder is the only way he’ll ever afford to do it.
Corbin approaches the owner of the brothel he works, Monroe, about auctioning his brother’s virginity. A virgin is incentive enough, but because Thierry is also a Sythe, who are highly reactive to another’s touch leaving their lovers fulfilled and pleased beyond measure, Monroe believes Thierry will bring in even more credits than he needs. Monroe agrees to the auction, taking a 25% cut of the profits.
The auction goes extremely well, with the winner bidder requiring complete anonymity. The winner wears a mask, with only his mouth uncovered, and doesn’t speak during their encounter. Thierry calls the man “Dragonfly” based on a tattoo the man has on his torso. The night is very special, with Dragonfly being a perfect lover for Thierry.
Dragonfly requests through Monroe, after their encounter, to keep in touch via letters with Thierry for an additional $1,000 credits per month. Thierry goes off to school and he and Dragonfly communicate back and forth. Eventually Dragonfly asks to see Thierry again for an additional $5,000, and Thierry eagerly agrees, not because of the money, but because he’s fallen in love with Dragonfly. Thierry’s enormously happy when Dragonfly admits he too has fallen in love with Thierry.
So, yeah – super fluffy, romantic, and hot. I’m swimming right along, enjoying the story thoroughly, big smile on my face and then BAM!
Oh. My. God. I did not see that coming. I mean, part of it I did, I totally called part of it, but the other part?
Nope, I did not see it coming – and it BROKE MY HEART. Though it all works out, I was devastated and never quite regained my equilibrium with the story. So, yeah…fluffangsty. Then the story goes on…and yes, I could see why it was necessary for what happens next what with the 23 years age difference between them. I could see why it was all necessary and it made a sort of sense – but my heart didn’t want it. My heart wanted a different path.
It’s my first audiobook with Jean Samson as the narrator, and, I think, his first as well. Though he brings emotion to the story, and I enjoyed the narration on the whole, he does have a few pacing issues and a couple of flubs, one memorable time even calling Dragonfly “Firefly”. Though, for a first time narration attempt it wasn’t bad and I’d certainly give him another go in the future.
All in all be prepared to be enjoying flufftastic sweetness followed by a huge shock and just go along for the ride. Don’t worry, there’s an HEA waiting in the end for you.
I know one other thing – I’m looking forward to checking out book two, Fantasy for a Gentleman!
Good, but ending ruined it...
- Candateshia Pafford