Struggling to finish her journalism degree and help her cancer-stricken mother, a young escort finds herself swept up in an erotic education that threatens her impending fairy-tale wedding.
Elle hopes her job working for an exclusive escort agency won’t last long. Obligated only to accompany wealthy men in need of arm candy to their social functions, she sometimes takes advantage of the after-hours, off-the-books amorous perks. Yet the encounters leave her dissatisfied. After a silver notebook mysteriously appears in her bag one day, Elle begins receiving erotic notes from an anonymous admirer. One evening, she meets the brilliant, charismatic media mogul David Barlet. A whirlwind romance ensues, and within weeks they're engaged. Elle ought to be thrilled, but it all seems too fast; David hasn’t kissed her yet, and she’s still harboring a few secrets. Certain that David would drop her if he knew about her escort work, Elle is determined to quit but agrees to take one final job—which turns out to be with David’s charismatic brother, Louie. Her silver notebook starts filling with not only erotic notes, but also demands, presumably from Louie. He sets Elle a series of erotic challenges, each accompanied by a signature fetish and held in an aptly chosen room at the Hôtel des Charmes. Echoing The Story of O, most of the games arouse Elle’s desires to submit and to dominate. Yet others have an odd ring to them, such as her encounter with a man clad entirely in black latex wielding a whip, like a superhero deeply concerned about germ transmission. As the games continue, Elle starts to wonder about the death of David’s first wife, Louie’s motives and her own desires.
Rife with sexual tension and mystery, this first tale in a trilogy will have readers eager for the translation of Mars’ next installment.