When is the brothel owner the most innocent man in the room?

When he is Kazha Deinos, the owner of an exclusive brothel, and he has just been mistaken for one of his own escorts by his number one client.  Spice ‘n’ Solace by KC Burn is a delightful novella length male/male Science Fiction Romance published last year by Carina Press.

Kaz is a closeted and inexperienced gay man who inherited his brothel from the father who did his best to beat his sexual preferences out of him. Only after his father’s death did he turn the business into Spice ‘n’ Solace, the premier all-male brothel in the Galactic Alliance. Kaz has found professional success, but he hasn’t yet found freedom from the memory of his father’s brutal lesson or from the small minded brutes he must deal with running a brothel on Elora Ki.   Kaz is a complicated fellow and it is a testament to the skill of the author that all the parts of his life and personality come together to create a fascinating and convincing hero.

The second hero of the story is Jathan One-Moon, a skilled negotiator burdened with renegotiating the intergalactic peace treaty each year. It is up to Jathan to prevent all out war, a task he can’t escape and can only pass on to a biological child. The aliens refuse to negotiate with anyone else. The stress of this monumental task turns him to Spice ‘n’ Solace each year for the duration of the negotiations.  He longs for a mate, a long term lover, but since that hasn’t seemed within reach, the professional male escorts of the exclusive brothel have become his personal coping strategy.

These two men are brought together when a blatant attempt to undermine Kaz’s business leads to a lock down of the brothel on the very day Jathan’s annual visit to Elora Ki for the negotiations begins. With all of his escorts quarantined, Kaz decides to visit Jathan in person to explain and hopefully salvage the long time business arrangement. They’ve never actually met so it is easy to understand that Jathan mistakes Kaz for the escort he is expecting. The surprise is that Kaz is swamped by the desire to be exactly what Jathan needs. It is pure fireworks from that moment forward—until the plot to undermine Kaz’s business turns personal, putting Kaz and his relationship with Jathan at risk.

What I loved about Kaz: Kaz is a delightful mix of worldly, smart and still very innocent about his own needs. He can handle himself in a fight and is passionate about changing the world around him.  He is the brothel owner with the heart of gold.

What I loved about Jathan: Jathan is a man with heavy responsibilities. He is good at what he does and is used to taking what he needs on a personal level, but he takes nothing for granted. He doesn’t abuse his position and he respects and values Kaz, even thinking he is a paid escort.

Overall, the book is a fast, captivating read. The characters are unforgettable and the world is well drawn from the mean streets to the alien negotiations. I’ll be looking forward to the second book in the series, due out this summer. Alien ‘n’ Outlaw will focus on the alien negotiator seen in Spice ‘n’ Solace.

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