This was pure, glorious trash and I regret nothing.
Avery came from a rich family drowning in privilege. And then one day, her father betrayed the wrong man in a crooked business deal. Now, he is in a hospital bed, and Avery is about to lose her home, her father, and everything else she values -
Unless she sells her virginity.
Because, you know, that's the classic "get rich quick" scheme in new adult romances everywhere. Avery, coming from money, happens to conveniently know of a classy venue to do it. And this being a romance novel, the dude who "buys" her isn't some sweaty, creepy, Internet troll with an overseas bank account and a fetish for weird porn, but a hot, jacked dude with tons of cash.
Because, you know, hot, jacked dudes just sit at home all day watching the Online Virginity Exchange and waiting to buy, buy, buy.
Even though my raised eyebrow stayed near my hairline for much of this novel, I enjoyed every moment of it. Avery is not as dumb as most heroines in her ridiculously expensive shoes. I felt like she was just awkward and uncomfortable enough about her situation to make it realistic, but her upbringing and her chess lessons with her father gave her an edge she wasn't afraid to pursue in order to take care of her life and not lose her soul in what was a pretty soulless bargain.
The sex scenes are hot, and while the virginity fetishization is a little weird - okay, REALLY weird - THE PAWN has this irresistible bodice ripper vibe that makes it feel like late-80s glamor trash, masquerading as one of those ridiculous medieval romances involving spoils of war and torn garments. The upside is, there's no rape (if you can wrap your head around the fact that she sold herself to the "hero" for money), and even though the hero ends his novel as a dirt-bag of the highest caliber, certain insights in this book make me think that he has his (dirt-bag) reasons for doing so.
Good thing I have the second novel.
P.S. For more books about dirt-bag heroes "buying" the women who have betrayed them, check out Meagan McKinney's LIONS AND LACE. It's basically like a classier, more old-fashioned version of this, only with less sex and more pining.
4 out of 5 stars