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Sex in Seattle #3

The Mating of Michael

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Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it's cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.

James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of eighteen, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by twenty-eight, he's lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.

Michael and James are made for each other. But they must let go of stubbornness to see that life finds a way and love has no limitations.

240 pages, ebook

First published June 29, 2014

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About the author

Eli Easton

76 books2,657 followers
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a game designer, an organic farmer, an avid hiker, and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an addicted reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.

Her website in www.elieaston.com
You can email her at eli@elieaston.com

See what's in the pipeline here: http://elieaston.com/work-in-progress/

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 620 reviews
September 22, 2020
This is hands down my favorite Sex in Seattle book to date, even though it's nothing like the first two books in the series, which were light and funny.

The Mating of Michael is more. It's still an easy read, because Easton writes with effortless grace, and I sink right into her novels.

But this is not a light story. There are lighthearted moments between Michael and James, sure. They are both geeky and a little silly, so their bantering was humorous and cute. But this book deals with some serious issues: disability, depression, abandonment, loneliness, healing, pain.

Don't be put off by this though. Incredibly, Easton avoids the all-consuming angst. This book is gorgeous and complex. Michael is one of my favorite characters from books 1 and 2, but I was still unprepared for how beautiful he is inside and out: empathetic, trusting, real, sweet.

And James...ah, James doesn't trust easily; he's been abandoned and hurt, and lives a lonely, cocooned existence.

James is a science fiction writer who had a hit novel at age 18, but his career has been on the downturn. James is uninspired, frustrated, and reclusive. He is so shackled by his disability and "crippled" self-image, he doesn't want to be seen. When James finally agrees to a public outing, a book signing, he is unprepared for the force that is Michael.

But Michael really SEES James. The wheelchair doesn't matter to Michael; the man does. Michael wants to meet the mysterious author of the book that changed the course of his life, but Michael doesn't care about fame and money. He cares about James.

Until the end of the book, I felt like James had far more power in the relationship than Michael. Michael is willing to put himself out there, but James hides. James is angry; he's held on to many resentments. And he isn't always fair to Michael.

When I first read about Michael being a sex surrogate in book 1, I was really a little uncomfortable. It seemed weird and wrong somehow. My reaction isn't uncommon. Michael is afraid to tell James about his surrogate clients because he worries James won't take it well and feel like a charity case himself. Of course, the longer Michael omits the truth, the bigger a burden it becomes.

This novel features very mild petting between Michael and two of his surrogate clients (one of whom is a young man with burns over 70 percent of his body, and the other a man in his 40s whose overbearing, religious mother found sexuality abhorrent and a sin), but they are NOTHING like the sizzle and scorch that eventually happens between Michael and James.

The difference was palpable, and I finally got it. It hit me like a punch to the gut: What Michael does with his surrogate clients is not about sex; it's about healing and comfort and empathy. There is nothing sexual about it, not really. It's about touch, HUMAN touch.

I seriously was in tears over this realization. (Thank you, Eli.)

When Michael is with James, it's all steam and passion and tenderness. I loved the smexy scenes in this book. They made my heart feel too small. The discovery of the first kiss, first touch, first lick, first burst of unbridled lust: so lovely, so damn sexy. James was super toppy. Dear god, yes he was. There may even have been bondage involved, but you didn't hear it from me.

And when Michael touches James's atrophied legs for the first time: serious tears (hypothetically speaking, of course *clears throat*).

There are wonderful, three-dimensional secondary characters in this book: Marnie, an octogenarian who wears hot pink, swears like a sailor, and loves to make Michael blush; Tommy and Lem, Michael's surrogate clients, each of whom deserves a story of his very own; Michael's gentle mom Kathy; and James's agent and friend Amanda.

Easton also writes a story within a story: several scenes from one of James's books about a robot named Lamb, who's built to serve as a sex toy, are included as chapters in this novel. Lamb has human emotions; he is more than the sum of his parts. I got almost as caught up in Lamb's story as I did in Michael and James's.

I loved the writing about writing here (yet another element the author slyly wove into the plot). Because James is a writer, he understands the elation of having fans and the horrors of the negative review, particularly the dreaded 2 star ARC rating.

*looks around shiftily*

What? I know nothing about this.

I wrote a missive here, yet I still feel like I wrote nothing about how startling this book is: thought provoking, emotional, lyrical, brave. I absolutely loved how much Michael and James grew in their relationship, and how James came to terms with his childhood. With Michael's help, he learned that forgiving can be the most freeing experience of all.

James's disability wasn't brushed aside, but it was also just ONE part of him, not his entire self. Michael never treats James as less, and eventually that's how James sees himself: not a disabled man, but a man, a writer, a sci-fi geek who likes words and happens to gets around in a wheelchair.

(Yes, I'm crying again. What of it?)

And the end. Well, hell. *grabs tissue*

Let's just say this is one of those books I'm going to keep on my Kindle for a while so I can reread bits and pieces, especially the epilogue.

BECAUSE. Serious FEELS, people.

And also LOVE.

(This novel CAN be read as a standalone, although I liked having background information on Michael from books 1 and 2. However, except for Jack, for whom Michael works, none of the characters from the other books makes an appearance.)
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,884 reviews5,810 followers
October 27, 2014
Hot, sexy, and emotional.... DAMN, Eli Easton just NAILED this one and she nailed it HARD!!

Just to set the stage, I started this book on a plane from Chicago to New York, surrounded on all sides by Orthodox Jews. And I read this in paperback. Pictured me huddled around my book so my uber-religious seat mates couldn't read about the scorching hot man-sex happening on page. And it was so freaking hot!

It isn't often that a book makes me actually cry. But this book! Gah! It was so in-your-face emotional! I felt so much for these characters: Empathy and compassion for Eli's patients, tender towards James, and so incredibly in love with Michael. I adored Michael. I found him inexplicably sexy, especially when he was doing his sex surrogacy stuff, and so sweet that it killed me.

I thought that the sex surrogacy concept was a brilliant idea for a story, and that Eli Easton handled it perfectly. It felt like therapy and it felt necessary. I went from a disbeliever to a believer in the very first scene. The whole way that the sex surrogacy was presented was flawless- sensitive, raw, and judgement-free.

James was a more prickly character and harder to get to know, but once you get him and understand his hangups, it is hard not to love him too. His surly exterior is just a mask for his feelings of inadequacy and his self-conscious lack of dating experience. I just really understood him as a person by the end of the story. And that scene, guys, that scene with James and Michael and his feet... I dare you not to get teary-eyed!

This was honestly one of the best stories that I've read in ages. It was everything that I wanted it to be and more, and WORTH having in paperback!

Awesome work, Eli Easton!
Profile Image for Carol [Goodreads Addict].
2,435 reviews24.8k followers
July 27, 2020
The Mating of Michael is the third book in the Sex in Seattle series by Eli Easton. While there is humor in this one, it’s a little more emotional than the first two. The subject matter perhaps a little more serious. I met Michael in the other books so I was looking forward to his story.

Michael Lamont is twenty six years old and is a home health care nurse as well as a gay sex surrogate for Expanded Horizons. Michael has a very small build but is strong and has a heart as big as all of Seattle. He loves helping people. He gets so much fulfillment from his surrogacy work because he helps people move on to have fulfilling intimate relationships with their partners. He wants that for himself, though. Anyone that he ever dated ran for the hills as soon as they found out about what he did for a living.

the mating of michael eli easton - Google Search

J.C. Guise whose real name is James Gallway, is twenty eight years old and hasn’t had use of his legs since he was five years old and contracted polio. James wrote his first science fiction novel when he was eighteen years old and it was a huge success. In recent years, though, James has lost his inspiration. He never goes out in public. He doesn’t want anyone to see him in his wheel chair. He keeps his identity secret. His writing has suffered. His book sales have worsened. He is starting to wonder if he will ever turn things around. His publisher is forcing him to do his first ever book signing. And that’s where he first saw him.

“He was painfully aware of the beautiful boy in the chair next to him and had no idea what to do with that except feel even more unbeautiful and uncomfortable by comparison.”

sexy man in a wheel chair - Google Search

Michael can’t believe it. His favorite author of all time and the man he has had a bit of a crush on since he saw the one and only picture he ever found of him, is doing a book signing right there in Seattle. Of course he was going. And when he saw him, he was more handsome than he ever imagined. He was awe struck.

“Being with him was like stepping into a warm cabin after having been lost in the snowy woods. The weird thing was, James hadn’t even been aware that he’d been out there in the cold until he felt Michael’s heat.”


Michael couldn’t have been more perfect for James. He had a gift for seeing the beauty in a person and when he looked at James, beauty is all he saw. These two fall hard for each other, but they have many obstacles to overcome. This was their journey. This was sweet, sexy and the banter between them was fun. At times I felt like there was a bit much description. But their story was wonderful.

Since I read the fourth book first, then started at the beginning, this was the final book in the series for me. I definitely look forward to reading much more by this author in the future.

“Some things were worth the risk.”

For more about this book and so many others, come and visit me at Carol's Crazy Bookish World.

Profile Image for Nick Pageant.
Author 6 books888 followers
November 4, 2014

No! Please just look away!

First off, I have to steal from my fellow fantasy nerd Erika's review and say that this book's title made me hesitate, but thanks to all my friends' great reviews and my love of Eli Easton, I dove right in.

The story concerns Michael, a sex surrogate, and his romance with James, a disabled writer. This book is more deliciously sweet than a Nutella crepe bought from a Parisian street vendor. I loved it.

Eli Easton's writing style is on the light side, a thing I appreciate in m/m books a lot of the time. This time around, though, some pretty heavy issues were explored and I cried suffered from hay fever more than once.

I loved Michael. I mean I loved him. He was so full of compassion for everyone around him. This showed not only in the scenes depicting his surrogacy work, which were so sweetly written, but also in his dealings with other secondary characters, particularly my new role model, Marnie.


Easton's portrayal of James,the wheelchair-bound love interest, really got to me. His typical writer's insecurities were spot on. Writers are reclusive extroverts (yes, you read that right) who all need constant ego stroking. (Think of a man in a trench coat who likes to expose his... brain.) James has the added issue of physical disability and it was all just too much. Excuse me... hay fever's acting up again. *pops claritin and washes it down with wine*

Bringing these two wonderful guys together resulted in a sweetly sexy, tears of joy inducing love-fest that I recommend to everyone who is not a cynical creep. Yay, Eli Easton. Yay, sex surrogates. Yay, writers. Yay, love!

Profile Image for Baba  .
859 reviews3,873 followers
July 8, 2014
3 stars. Review posted July 8, 2014

 photo oie_FQRVOuR5Kjah_zps384156d2.gif

I loved Superhero but The Mating of Michael wasn't on a par with that story, IMO. It lacked the impact I was hoping for, probably due to James’s persistent negativism which got tiresome after a while. Though I can see why so many readers loved James and Michael's story. Some aspects I enjoyed and others not so much. Fact is, I loved the sassy and straightforward Marnie; she was my favorite character. The eighty-nine-year-old former burlesque dancer was the s@it. Do you fancy a little sample?

"Well then, if you think he's going to walk away now that you've gotten him laid, you're crazy. He's gonna be a heroin cowboy for the foreseeable future, and you're the only horse in town."
"Marnie!" Michael gasped, laughing.
She feigned innocence. "What? You were love-birding for the past two days, weren't you? And having lots of takeout, and I don't mean Thai."

My issues
The plot was very predictable and the story pushed the sweet tooth quite a bit. Plus, it bordered on being too melodramatic and sentimental.
Men do not giggle, they chuckle. Michael did giggle one too many times. The endearment babe didn't do anything for me. James, babe...
Michael's big brown eyes got way too much attention and the same can be said about his body. In the end it came off as irritating and too repetitive, at least to me.

oh god oh god oh god
The somewhat strange descriptions of the sex scenes felt…I don't even know what to say…for a lack of a better word let's say it didn't resonate well with me.

James was self-righteous, resentful and very bitter. He belittled himself all the time and his unwavering focus on his useless legs and how disabled he was and the constant talk or thoughts of what he can't do killed. The. Mood. For. Me. I won't lie, I didn't love James and he annoyed me more than once. Considering how much more other people suffer he should have been grateful for what he had and could do. Also, despite him being wheelchair-bound, he's a very attractive man with a ripped upper body, a handsome face and a witty mind. It was his choice to live like an angry and caustic recluse. I agree, his childhood sucked but there comes a point in your life where you have to get over it. I found his behavior tiresome.

I like a slow and steady build-up but needed a real make out session sooner. What I got wasn't really satisfying and then quite suddenly there was the first sex scene. Although what really irritated me was the fact that once they got it on they couldn't stop anymore. Between the 60 % and 83 % mark there was too much sex and not enough plot.

After pointing out my issues, I'd like to say that I really loved that It's a job that needs our utmost appreciation. *big thumbs up from moi*

Overall a sweet and nice read but it didn't rock my world. Regardless of my opinion, I'm sure that fans of Eli Easton will love it.
Profile Image for Rosa, really.
584 reviews313 followers
October 27, 2015

*Had to fix a fucking gif....

Okay, gimme a sec…


One minute…

You know how good this book is? I read the last 20% while watching last night’s Letterman. Colin Firth was the guest. Colin “Please soak your shirt so I can ride you like a pony” Firth.

Fuck Firth! I’m reading, you bastards.

When we first met Michael in The Trouble With Tony I so wanted to read a story about him. And I was so disappointed that the second book wasn’t about him. But it was worth wait. Michael is gorgeous & kind & empathetic and this line…
Why was it so easy for everyone to find love but him? Why was he always the bridesmaid and never then bride?
…led to my first bout of sobbing. Michael just wants to be loved.

As for James – he’s the character I’d usually get impatient with. Blah blah blah. You’ve been hurt. WE GET IT, DUDE. But Easton portrays James’ hurt and pain so convincingly. The flashbacks to his childhood – you know what? I totally lied, those scenes started my sobbing. At least the first leakage. I love this quote from James:
“When you first approached me, all I could think was that life didn’t work that way. The most beautiful boy in the universe doesn’t come knocking on the grisly recluse’s door. If I wrote that plot, I’d be laughed off Goodreads.”
No you wouldn’t, dude. We eat that shit up.

*Almost the best part of this book? That James and Michael both had painful pasts. Yes, if it was a competition James would be the clear winner -- but Michael had experienced a friendless childhood followed by a difficulty finding love, some rejection, that made him vulnerable. Yet instead of using that vulnerability as a reason to cut himself off from the world, Michael used it to connect & empathize with others. He took chances in spite of a fear of being rejected. James and Michael were opposites in that, but at the same time they had that small bit in common. And they recognized that fear in each other and it helped draw them together.

But also? Also there’s Tommy & Marnie & Lem. *sniff* And then there’s Lamb. That part was just so, so beautiful. *lip tremble*


I don’t mean to imply this book isn’t fun or a good time. It is. It may not be ha-ha-ha-hilarious, but it has a certain lightness that makes it enjoyable beyond the sobbing. The sobbing stems from how much it touched me. I so rarely cry over books these days that it’s an automatic 4 stars when it happens.

Not everyone is going to love this book . But I did. And that’s what’s important.

Okay, fine. I think you'll like it too, okay? Alright? That's also important.

Thanks to my BR buddies -- Alona, Otila & Sofia!

Profile Image for Elisa Glendenning.
512 reviews49 followers
July 23, 2021
✅ Slow Burn
✅ Hurt/Comfort
✅ Virgin MC
✅ Disability Rep

One of my favourite reads this year!

26 yo Nurse and Sex Surrogate Michael Lamont, is over the moon when he gets the chance to meet his favourite author, who’s novel was the inspiration for the man he is today. To his fan base, 28 yo James Galloway is an enigma. A recluse, wanting to hide his disability, preferring total anonymity. However, flailing book sales and pressure from his publisher forces James into the public eye by attending a book signing.

There’s an instant attraction, but Michael strikes out in his initial efforts to become better acquainted. Luckily, third time’s a charm. James just can’t believe that anyone would be interested in him and as a result of past trauma, has major trust issues. The flashbacks were heartbreaking. It would take someone special to break through his walls and luckily, Michael is just the guy. I loved their chemistry and relationship development, from their initial meet cute to their tentative friendship and eventually taking it to the next level. James had zero sexual experience and low body image and in crossing that final hurdle, he was so vulnerable and brave. Michael was so loving and compassionate. I still can’t get over that scene 🥰❤️

The only fly in the ointment is that Michael keeps the surrogacy a secret from James. Surrogates can help people overcome sexual trauma, sexual dysfunction, and generally get through any mental or physical blocks they may have in their sex life but surrogacy is controversial and not a lot of people can accept it. Michael had lost people in the past for this very issue and feared James wouldn’t understand. The clients he treats are so damaged and grateful for his attentions. His conflict in wanting to keep his job vs his fear of losing James was real. Although it was wrong, I had a lot of sympathy for Michael.

The ending had me crying again but at least they were big fat happy tears. I can’t say I was happy with everything though! Throughout the course of their relationship you also get little excerpts from James’ new work Sentimental Cyanide. I would so love for this to be a book in its own right.

My only niggle was given that James hated to be a burden and dependent on others, I did question why he couldn’t drive (unless it was down to finances). There are plenty of disabled drivers out there so I would have liked to have seen him become more independent in this respect.

Neither of these MC’s had it easy, but from the outset, it was clear that James and Michael were an ideal match. Perhaps I’m biased through my love for Eli Easton but I loved this. It wasn’t perfect but any book that makes me laugh and cry and leaves me wanting more gets my vote!

Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,884 reviews5,810 followers
September 1, 2016

Linky to my original review of the paperback version: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Eli Easton is one of my favorite authors and The Mating of Michael is one of my favorite books, so when the book came out in audio I was very interested in trying it. This alone is a little unusual for me. I tend to not listen to the audio of books that I've read before because I never want the audiobook to change my opinion of a book that I've previously loved. However, I've listened to many narrations by Michael Stellman, and so I was wiling to give it a shot.

First of all, let me say that this story is impossibly beautiful. Interestingly enough, it didn't make me cry or feel as turned on as I felt when I was reading the paperback version. I'm not sure if it is because I already knew what was going to happen, but I think my feelings were a little more... muted this time around. The story still sang to me, however, and I fell in love with Michael and James all over again.

Michael is tender, sensual, giving, and loving, and James is acerbic, slow to trust, and dying for someone to love him for who he is. They moved slowly as a couple, developing their relationship over time. I love how this story just perfected the hurt-comfort theme, and made Michael and James's romance feel absolutely epic.

In terms of the narration, I think Michael Stellman did a very nice job. I always sort of feel the same way about this narrator: he has a sexy, young voice that works well for M/M, but he is also totally incapable of creating different voices for different characters, which usually is one of my biggest pet peeves. Michael Stellman gets a pass from me on the vocal range because he just has such a freaking sultry voice, but I wish he was able to stretch a bit more. Still a very wonderful job, and with great understanding of the characters.

If you are looking to try this book out in audio, don't hesitate. It was a great listening experience that will touch the most jaded of M/M readers.

**Copy provided in exchange for an honest review**
863 reviews231 followers
July 5, 2014

4.5 stars

I have to thank Dani for her review of the book and bringing it to the forefront of my attention. I'd fully planned on reading it, but her review made me bring it to the top of my list! THANKS, DANI!



Eli Easton is such a great storyteller. And as much as I've loved all her books to date, I wondered with this being her first full-length novel, how she'd fare. Would she be able to sustain the story over 250 pages? Well, she KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE PARK. This book is the perfect balance of strong/memorable characters, an emotional story arc, some deep development with both MC's, a clever inclusion of a book within a book...and all the FEELZ all over the place.

Michael is a nurse and a part-time sex surrogate. And though I've met Michael in the past (this is the 3rd book of Easton's Sex in Seattle series...but it can ABSOLUTELY be read as a standalone (and it's the strongest of the series to date)), I never really...understood Michael. He was a bit flirty, he did this "sex thing" for a living, and I didn't know where he was coming from.

Meeting Michael in this book was a REVELATION and a LOVE AFFAIR. He is one of my FAVORITE characters to date. He is kind...I don't know that I can come up with another character in any book that is as kind as Michael Lamont...compassionate, his ability to care and give is BEYOND, he's confident yet vulnerable, he's fun, he's accepting, he's a sci-fi geek, he's hot...and...and...I LOVE HIM. He's just a GOOD person. I want to believe that there are Michaels in this real world. He fills my heart with hope.

Michael meets and falls for his favorite author, JC Guise (aka James). James is confined to a wheelchair due to complications from polio from his youth. James' story is bitterly and achingly sad. I cried so much as more and more of his past was revealed. I hurt for James the child. I hurt for James the adult. His loneliness...his fear...his shame. GAH...I'm crying just thinking about it. But for someone so so so low...so lost...it would take a HEART as HUGE as Michael's to show him how to love.

This is a TRUE friends-to-lovers story...and one where the friendship in and of itself was so satisfying. I wasn't just counting the pages until they hooked up. I loved growing with the both of them and getting to know both Michael and James better through the friendship. In fact, I do think, if there's a weakness to the story, it was mostly during the love relationship (I thought James morphed a bit into a caricature of the reclusive, angry guy when he was hurt...the selfishness and Michael subsequently being a bit of a pushover, in my opinion...was the only part of the book that didn't sit entirely right with me).

There were 3 things that absolutely made this book stand out: the flashbacks to James' childhood (gah...my heart! it hurts!), all of Michael's sex surrogacy sessions w/ his patients (holy crap...those were SO powerful, yet subtle. Talk about 'killing me softly'...so so good), and most of all, the excerpts of the fictional book "Sentimental Cyanide" and what those would eventually come to mean. I thought those bits were OUTSTANDING. And I want to READ Lamb's story! (<-that's a hint, Eli!) :)

I can not recommend this book enough. It's emotional, it's sweet, it's sad, it's hopeful, it's beautiful, and it's powerful. So so good...

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Profile Image for Sheziss.
1,333 reviews441 followers
January 20, 2016
*Taking a deep breath in*


When I hear the word "polio" I think about this:

And this:

And this:

And I think... Why are they smiling? How can they be smiling?

They could stay like that for months. Or their whole life. Or never because they were dead.

Those pics stuck to me, it's one of those medical horrors I can't understand that exists(ed). But believe it or not, three good things came out of this:

1. A rich man's son died to polio and invested lots of money for the vaccine. The following year, the vaccine was ready. It seems when you want, you can.

2. Those "iron lungs" were negative pressure ventilation machines, and were used for those people who had diaphragm paralysis. This inspired, for instance, the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) we use today.

3. The gathering of clinically unstable people in one only place for constant vigilance inspired ICUs. A cardiologist had the idea of doing so with patients recovering from a heart attack. He paced around with a scalpel on his belt the whole time just in case he needed to open somebody and revive him. People began not to die that often.

We have come to a point in Medicine where things cure rather than kill. Surgery was murder. Anesthesia was too dangerous. Phonendoscopes failed more than hit. Blood transfusions were unpredictable. Insulin shots were problematic. Drugs were given to pregnant women at will. With the passage of time science progresses. But there are still too many blind spots. And all these advances make us feel we will never die. But that's not true.

This book doesn't talk about all of this, but the MC is a writer who endured polio and the another one is a nurse, and his professional deformation makes his thoughts medically accurate and I appreciate it.

The story reminded me of guy I met when I was rotating in Pneumology. He was 55 years old and I don't remember his name nor why he was hospitalized. He could walk, barely and in a weird way and with cane but he could. And his thorax was an accordion. He had suffered polio at 14 and thought about operating on himself several times but neurologists told him it was very risky and as he could get by just the way he was, he decided it was not worth it. And even though he developed every kind of problems due to it, he was happy and it was a pleasure to be with him in the same room. He was too much fun. He said he was ugly and deformed but that he had managed to do everything he wanted to in life and that now he couldn't wait to come back home and eat and drink the best stuff. Some people have the spirits, or let's say, they have found the way to go on despite the handicaps.


Weak spots

Okay, first of all I find it difficult to believe Michael stalking James just because (at least the author said it in the book as a kind of self-criticism). That and that Michael is so OBTUSE about the reason for James to be alone. He is lovable and it's not hard at all to fall for him. But life is unfair and his state on a wheelchair gives enough clues. Michael's shock at James's statement of being alone due to his situation is almost insulting. Isn't it obvious? Maybe frustration an annoyance at society is logical, but not shock and surprise.

I have never read anything about sex surrogates. If I'm honest, I've never heard about them before. But it makes perfect sense they do exist. There was a blank space where they should be playing. Something to help people in this kind of therapy. Also, I discovered this plot is not that new. There is a movie from 2012 called The Sessions. The MC is a man who had polio and needs a iron lung to survive. He is a virgin so he decides to pay a sex surrogate, and the actress is Helen Hunt, who was nominated for the Oscar. Rings a bell? I'm curious about that movie now.

I was enjoying the book when suddenly I read this:

"She says I was conceived in Spain, or it might have been Majorca. She wasn't real sure."

Majorca is the biggest island of the Balear Archipielago, which is part of Spain. Majorca is in Spain. Majorca is Spanish! It makes perfect sense the mother has no idea of where he was conceived, seeing that geography and general knowledge are not something that bother her, and neither the son. This sentence is like saying "She says I was conceived in the States, or it might have been Hawaii. She wasn't real sure." See what I meant?

Minions were a little too much.


Strong spots

Michael is greatly portrayed. He's a selfless cute man who only wants to be loved. He felt as real as James. And his love for his patients and the feeling of being needed is something I felt so close it's astonishing. Michael didn't know what to do in his life till he read James's book about a medical MC and that right then he knew he wanted to help people. I could feel so identified! Sometimes... No. Often it's hard and frustrating and studying all day long feels like slavery but I have had a taste of what it will be in the future and I can't conceive doing anything else. It's a way too gratifying and beautiful. For example, and this is real life, a baby comes to you dying due to an esophageal atresia, and you have the possibility of operating on him and some time later you see him looking at you and jumping and laughing... I've seen that, and it's AMAZING, I can't describe how I felt and it wasn't my hand's doing. That surgeon must be thinking: "I've done this, I've made this possible..." Michael's awe at his own work is perfectly well written. It didn't feel empty or pretentious. It was real and true.

I liked James being the strong one, the independent one, and the toppy one. I could sense his spirit even at his lowest of moments. And his Sentimental Cyanide is just brilliant! I'd read that book for sure. Seeing as I'm developing a love for aliens maybe it suits me. Anyway, his past touched me more than the love story did. Not because the love story was bad, but I felt so powerless at what happened to him and how! Children need love, and he was deprived from that most of his life. My heart wrenched for him. But he is no one to feel pity for. He's a tough man and he needs nothing from anyone, although he craves love as much as anyone, or even more.

They made a perfect pair together.


So, all in all, I loved the topic, mistakes annoyed me a little, and I enjoyed it as a whole and what I liked most is that I found the best HEA I've read in a while.
Profile Image for Erika .
415 reviews130 followers
July 4, 2014
Dear Author, you bastard,

First of all, you psyched me out with this title, which pretty much guaranteed I would not have read the book if not for some trusty Goodreads reviewers and their glowing reviews. Then you managed to do the almost impossible: you made me tear up, damn you! You have killed me with this utterly sweet, kind, caring, and moving story of Michael and James and their love. It was never over the top or ridiculous, it was always just right.

My heart hurt so many times while reading this book. I wanted to climb into the book and pull the pages over me like a favorite blanket, so that I could be engulfed into the story, so that I could give Michael and James a strong hug and tell them everything would be ok. But in the end, they didn't need me because they had themselves and their excellent support system.

There are so many books I've read that I've ended up forgetting the details of a few days later, sometimes even a few hours later. Not this one. I'll be thinking about it off and on for years to come.

Beautifully done. Thank you.

A Happy Reader
Profile Image for Vivian.
2,848 reviews398 followers
September 25, 2014
Understanding empathy.

Empathy and love are not the same thing. Michael is a highly empathetic man who can't seem to find love. His profession is misunderstood and his fear of rejection compounds the situation. When he has the chance to grab a dream, he dives for it.

James is more than a little leery. His past relationships and emotional connections have taught him one thing--no one really wants him. Pretty devastating and I could go off on a huge rant--I think I will--
--and back to our regularly scheduled review... James is more than justified in his actions.

I had a major *headdesk* moment with one of Michael's decisions, and I'm just going to say this, if those are your priorities then you deserve to die alone.

Overall, a beautiful story of love and acceptance with shards of infuriation thrown in to terrorize me. Yes, it is all about me and my reaction to this story.

Favorite quote:
The kind of compassion you have is like a diamond—won under tremendous pressure.
Profile Image for Ingie.
1,361 reviews168 followers
June 16, 2016
Written October 23, 2015

4 1/2 Stars - Among the cutest, most charming and heartwarming in this genre

Yay!! ~ description description description description description

I didn't like the first part (as well on audio but with another narrator), The Trouble With Tony (2.5 stars), so very much but I crossed my fingers this one would fit me much better. (A M/M with recs and by a author I most often likes to read.) ...And it really was my kind of novel.

Loved every single audiobook minute
Eight addictive good (and quite interesting) hours narrated in a splendid way by Michael Stellman. Sex in Seattle is a series with new love-couples in each book fairly loosely connected to earlier book-parts and characters. Undoubtedly standalone's in my opinion.


The Mating of Michael is about Michael Lamont a nurse and part-time gay sex surrogate and the sci-fi writer J.C. Guise aka James Gallway, Michael's long-time crush.

Michael is a beautiful man with a very big heart and the gift and ability to care for and help others. James is strong, a great writer and bright but he got polio as a kid and has since been confined to a wheelchair. He still is very vulnerable and a bit "ashamed" about his handicap. Michael is a professional sex surrogate which can lead to misconceptions.
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‘He moved his arm under Michael and pulled him in, holding him so tightly, he almost couldn’t breathe. His hand caressed Michael’s back. James didn’t say a word, but Michael had never felt so treasured, nor had James ever felt so strong and confident in his arms.’

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Two men has to sincerely convince each other they both are worthy of being loved and also are unconditionally admired and loved by the other man here. ~ Heartbreaking moments, tender sexy encounters and a sweet convincing development of this story.


A great romance I should have read long ago...
I repeat myself: Among the cutest, most charming and heartwarming in this romance genre. I loved EVERYTHING about this book: the topic, the phase, these two main characters, the end and epilogue, and this impressive good narrator. My highest regard for a amazing goodfeel M/M contemporary by the gifted Eli Easton.

I LIKE - romance stories that touch my heart
Profile Image for * A Reader Obsessed *.
2,222 reviews454 followers
February 15, 2017
5 Stars!

Can I just say that I really, really, really liked this, despite the high amount of angsty fretting it put me through??


One. You've got such raw vulnerability and want from James. His painful past, his every fear and insecurity and doubt was so acutely felt. His absolute, torturous desire in hoping Michael was sincere in his intentions made me ache.

Two. You've got the sweetest, most compassionate, kindest soul in Michael. He too just wants to connect and love and be loved. Is that too much to ask for?? His gift for empathy and for taking care of others made him unbelievably amazing.

Three. Last but not least, you've got some serious, freaking, off the charts, palpable UST with yearning and want and.... UNF!! I mean, my gawd!

Suffice it to say I've added nothing new to the praises of this book. Peppered with some great snark and fluffy feels, it's not all doom and gloom. I'm not saying it's perfect but this wrung me dry and that counts for some serious bonus points, right?

I'm exhausted but floating on a cloud of happiness. I've got nothing but applause for Easton. Bravo.
Profile Image for Heller.
974 reviews119 followers
June 30, 2014

Except now I'm a weepy mess who has to get up and go to work in the morning with hardly any sleep. Damn you, unputdownable book!

Review later after I've caught some zzs.


I adore geeks in love, geeks are my people! This was a double GFY (Geek For You) so I revelled in it.

Michael is a registered nurse and a sex surrogate. He finds it difficult to maintain any kind of relationship because of his surrogacy job but he strongly believes in the work he does so he's not considered ever giving it up.

I have to say that part of the high rating I'm giving this book is for opening up the world of sexual surrogacy to my eyes. Incredible work done by incredible people and I found Tommy and Lem's stories and needs both vastly different but at their core it was all about the touch therapy that Michael provided.

James is a sci-fi writer. He contracted Polio when he was a child and it affected the use of his legs. He's a reclusive and sarcastic bastard and I loved him. He's touchy and leery to trust and he's a virgin. He also happens to be Michael's favourite author.

The men meet at a book signing and it's anything but smooth sailing. I've loved Michael in the previous two books of the series and wanted all the things for him because he deserves it. I'm happy to say that this book gives him that and more. It's a hard fought battle but both men get a HEA that was in my eyes, perfection, a bit battered but all the more sweet because of it.


So many great quotes but I have to list the one that has me laughing even now. I hope you all get a kick out of it when you run across it: "Are you clusterfucking?"

Profile Image for Eli Easton.
Author 76 books2,657 followers
June 4, 2017
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Mating-Michael-...

"The Mating of Michael" is the 3rd in the Sex in Seattle series, but it works fine as a stand-alone m/m romance. This series revolves around the patients and caregivers at a sex clinic in Seattle. Michael Lamont is the clinic's gay sex surrogate and he appeared as a secondary character in book #1 (The Trouble with Tony) and #2 (The Enlightenment of Daniel). This book is Michael's story.

Here's my desktop (inspirational images) for "The Mating of Michael":

And here's a post about the story (with an excerpt) on my blog:
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,528 followers
April 12, 2015
3.75 STARS

“The Mating of Michael” is the 3rd and final book in “Sex in Seattle” series and like its predecessors it can be read as a standalone. If the two books in the series are more light and funny, this one was more emotional.

Michael is a nurse and a part-time sex surrogate. He loves his jobs and loves to give others a little something. Michael knows other people don’t understand what he does for a living and see surrogacy as a very big deal. He loves to read science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise. James Gallway aka J.C. Guise is a SF author who had a hit novel at age 18, but after that his career went downhill. He’s in a wheelchair due to complications from polio when he was a child. He doesn’t have any family, any friends and he has isolated himself convinced by some events from his past that he’s unlovable. He is convinced that no one really wants him, having some trust and self-image issues.

When James is forced by his agent to do a book signing he meets Michael, a beautiful man who has the power to change his life if he learns to let go of his stubbornness and if he tries to trust other people. James and Michael become at first friends, but as the story progresses James starts to want more and to wonder if it’s possible to have what others have – a lover, a normal, stable relationship, happiness.

I really liked this one and even if I had some issues with it, this is my favorite book in the series.

The story is predictable, but I didn’t care too much, because Eli Easton is a great storyteller. I absolutely loved Michael. He is such an endearing character. He has a big heart, he’s compassionate, caring and accepting. He loves his job as a surrogate, he’s professional and he does a great job helping others giving them comfort and sympathy. He was wonderful with James. He is sweet and caring and all he wants is to prove him that he cares, that he sees the real James, that he’s not like the others from James's past. He treats James with such a tenderness and I loved him to pieces for that. I really felt for James, but at times his angriness and bitterness felt a little too much. He’s lonely and I get it why he has some trust issues, but come on...Anyway,...One thing that I loved about his character are all the flashbacks from his childhood. My heart really broke for him. I also loved Michael’s sex surrogacy sessions and the excerpts of James’s book. The author did a great job with these two aspects.

Overall, a great read!
Profile Image for Steelwhisper.
Author 5 books403 followers
December 26, 2015
I had numerous problems with this book. The worst of them: I was mostly bored. Very bored. So bored that I eventually skim-read and then flipped to the end. But to bring some system into this...


Did you ever crave candyfloss at the fair, queue for it, inhale that wonderful caramel smell, dripping saliva almost like a hungry puppy, and when you get it and bite into it, it's just sickly sweet and has no substance? It melts inside your mouth and you're left with a sugar hangover? Well, that's Michael. Too fluffy, too do-goody, too eager helper, and entirely, completely, utterly unprofessional at his job (whether you think it is sexual surrogate, or consider it more institutionalised prostitution). For instance, how the heck can a medical practitioner talk shop about his clients?! He also isn't believable in the slightest. I was quickly rolling my eyes at this super-sweet overachiever with the cutesiest hobbies and a helper syndrome which would, actually, bar him from such a profession and be cause to question his motives.


A minor celebrity and he doesn't get skeeved out, not even disquieted by a "number one fan" stalking him? Go yank someone else's! A minor celeb and they are fine with the described overbearing behaviour of the people around him? I know none who wouldn't immediately fire their managers for disclosing privacy items. Else James was a pretty unsufferable whiner. After years with his disability he still behaves as if recently struck?

The Romance:

Lust at first sight. In fact, lust exclusively. I didn't feel any real connection. James was simply attracted by Michael's looks, and Michael had this skeevy Annie Wilkes' style "number one fan"-thing going, complete with stalking, which reminded me just so much of a teenie crush (you know, the ones you had when barely into puberty?). Not wholesome. No real romance. Very skeevy. Very superficial.

Sexual Surrogate:

Most of this is simply dressed-up prostitution, at least as described in this book.

Firstly, no one has a right to sex. Ever. Millions, if not even billions of people go through life without sex, few of them because it is by their free will. The vast majority of these people do not buy sex from willing or unwilling prostitutes. They either don't do it, because they can't afford it, or they don't do it, because - quite justifiedly - they consider this an objectification at the expense of others they do not want any part in.

Secondly, I'm not just against prostitution (and variations thereof), I am against all this recent commodification of human beings, be it surrogate pregancies, surrogate sex, clearcut prostitution, organ trade, adoption trade, whatever. At the end of the day, it is something the rich can afford, and the poor provide, and to me that is so deeply, so profoundly obscene that it needs a lot to make it acceptable for me. What is definitely no such occasion is to provide a virgin with intercourse "just because". As said, no one has a right to sex to the point of objectifying someone else.

It is interesting, by the way, how the innate reaction to this these days gets scorned: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... (see comment on review). I don't think this scorn is actual proof of a more humane or civilised stance. In fact, I think that we are losing standards of humanity we should uphold.

Cheating and lying:

So sorry, but I can't find either acceptable in a partner, and certainly also not in a romance book. Michael is consistently having sex with others while allegedly in a relationship with James, and he isn't even telling him about that. His excuses are more than a bit lame. He cheats and he lies for personal gain, and that's not someone I would like to see as a partner.

Odds and bits:

The whole story felt disjointed. There seemed to be things added just for the fun of it (not), and left to never be touched again. Just saying, but Chekov's guns need to go off. There wasn't a halfway functional and normal character in the whole thing, everyone was their one-man-circus-freak-show. The ending was a classical romancelandia super-HEA tacked on with a shoestring, and none of the real problems were solved.

So, as so often I am stunned by the many high ratings this book has got.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for BevS.
2,750 reviews2 followers
October 11, 2018
***Audio Review ***

Obviously didn't do a review when I listened to this one before 🤔. I think Michael's raspy voice is probably an acquired taste, but I have listened to him do other audio...Melanie Hansen's Unquiet for example which was really good. He doesn't do as well with female voices as some other narrators, but he was perfect for Michael and James.

***Book Review***

Adored this one. Cannot be anything other than 5 stars. Absolutely perfect, certainly the best story of the series for me and deals with some very sensitive and serious issues such as depression, abandonment and sexual surrogacy in a totally sympathetic and empathetic way.

I already liked Michael from the previous books in the series, but this insight into his personal life...past and present, made me fall in love with him even more as a character. James, well...what can one say about him...he was tetchy, prickly and unloved, and had people issues...understandably so, but by the end of the story, I'd fallen for him as well.
Profile Image for LenaRibka.
1,436 reviews418 followers
July 28, 2014
2,5 stars

There are two writers who ruined The Mating of Michael for me:

Eli Easton herself. Because she wrote Superhero-I'm still consider it as her best work- and A Prairie Dog's Love Song-maybe because it was my first of Eli and I fell terribly in love with it. The Mating of Michael has never come even close to these two books.

Jim Provenzano. Because he wrote Every Time I Think of You and Message of Love. Actually these two books ruined every future book about disability that I will read.

I can understand why so many readers like it so much. I like Eli Easton's writing and I always admire the courage of the authors for approaching such a sensitive topic - it naturally involves a certain amount of risk. And unfortunately this book didn't work for me.

I personally had a lot of issues with the plot and with the main characters:

Michael. He is so cute, so nice, so kind, so caring, so...unreal in his aspiration for humanity and philanthropy.

James. I understand the reason for the absence of self-assurance and insecurity and loneliness that he radiates. But I can't accept his suddenly pursuit to dominate.(?!)

Romance between them. Too rush, I can't buy this instalove thing. Sex scenes were not appealing for me and also very unrealistic.

At last, the surrogate's issue. No, I didn't have problem with Michael doing his job. I know that sex therapy was not just a sick fantasy of Eli Easton, but I'm sure, it doesn't exists in this form and not for these purposes that were presented in the book. I was e.g. uncomfortable with the situation with Tommy at the very beginning, and it ended how I was afraid it could. Do you really believe that all these patients of Michael can keep an emotional distance to their therapist and he could solve their problems THAT WAY?! He left a lot of broken hearts behind. Everything else is very unlikely.

There were warm and heart-wrenching moments in the book and some memorable characters, and then there is a story within the story(that was my favourite part!), and probably this kind of Disney-story about a wheelchair gay author who finds his happiness after many strokes of fate is exactly what readers need, but for me it is an eldorado for stereotypes and cliché. In spite of a very good and beautiful writing.

Read Jim Provenzano and his amazing two books.
Then you can understand WHY I couldn't like this book the same.

I thank my dear GR friend Irina for building the small intimate BR!
Profile Image for Anyta Sunday.
Author 89 books2,574 followers
October 23, 2014
Best Eli Easton book I've read yet.

If you're wondering, this book can be read as a standalone!!! (I read it that way)

Really enjoyed all aspects of this story. :)

The main characters: they absolutely stole my heart, both of them! Michael for his great big heart, and James for his blunt, geeky wit.

The side characters: What hoots! <3 they added nice color to the whole thing.

The romance: Swoon, swoon, swoon. I loved this two and their dance towards a relationship.

The story within a story: Wow, that was really great, and sad, and intriguing. Could have read a little more of that, I felt like one or two parts were missing before the heartfelt end.

The flashbacks to James's childhood: I cried. My son is five years old, and all I could think was: what if this was him? I absolutely hated what the mother did, it whipped me up into a fury. I really felt James, and I wouldn't forgive her.

Loved it. Easton, you totally rocked this! ;)
Profile Image for Sofia.
1,182 reviews213 followers
July 19, 2014

Why haven’t I read Easton before – dunce. Loved the writing, flowing, easy, fun, witty, loving, the showing, not the telling kind of writing, yesss….

I knew from the outset that this was a romance and those usually end in an HEA or an HFN so why did I still cry "NO, you idiot, don’t do that asshole" to James or "NO, NO, NO, Lamb please NO" to Lamb, I know why, it’s Easton, that is why, she made me forget everything outside the book and immersed me in their goings on. For this I thank her. There is only one thing that I am sorry for, only one thing, I WANT TO READ SENTIMENTAL CYANIDE, and this because:
“Lamb touched Rebben’s face on the screen
and smiled.”

And I do not know how I can do this. It is the first time that I’ve fallen for a book character in a book in the book that I’m reading. Sounds complicated, I know, hope I have not lost you.

I do not seek out books that are full of angst and emotions but I have to admit that Easton wrung out emotions out of me quite deviously or else I am not such a hardened case as I like to think.

Loved, that Ms Easton played around with avid readers, fans, authors and goodreads. Taking our experiences here at Goodreads , seeing my own experiences being put there in a story is a sort of validation, a bridge between real life and GR life. The awe of talking to a favourite author; the possibility of being friends with authors; the horror of not liking a book by a favourite author, who is now also a friend.

Biddy read with the biddies Rosa, Otila, Alona - with huggy links to Nick and Giulio’s buddy read at the same time. Thanks ALL for the sharing.

Profile Image for Ami.
5,865 reviews496 followers
July 4, 2014
I first discovered Eli Easton during last year's "Don't Read in the Closet: Love Has No Boundaries" event in which she wrote a historical story, The Lion and the Crow, . Imagine me, one who always state that historical is not her thing ... and I ended up liking it so much. I must say that although I have read several of her stories since then, "The Lion and The Crow" is still my favorite of hers

... until this one.

Hands down, "The Mating of Michael" is now my top favorite of Eli Easton's. It is the most wonderful, the most touching, with the most DARLING character in all her stories. Yes, Michael is such a sweetheart, a gentle kind soul and I love him so, so much. I already wish for Michael's story when he first appears in The Trouble With Tony. I think what makes him an intriguing character for me is because of his occupation. Michael is a registered nurse AND a sex surrogate. I have never known that this kind of occupation exists before this book. So I want to know how Michael can land a relationship with his kind of work.

And how brilliant that Ms. Easton creates James --a reclusive disabled author, who has trust issues since people leave him behind -- to be the love interest? Because the possible conflict alone, if written well, is a promise of great hurt/comfort. Here you have one with trust issues and the love interest is a sex surrogate? Who clearly gives sexual healing to others?

On one hand, with this kind of set-up, the climax is predictable; you can see it miles away, that James will get angry and betrayed when he finds out about James's work. On the other hand, it is what making it such an engaging read -- it's definitely not easy for both but hell, even Shakespeare said "The course of true love never did run smooth".

I think the part where Michael is doing his therapy sessions with two of his patients: Tommy and Lem, is the one where he SHINES the most. I cannot tell you how deeply touching those moments are. It's amazing what he is doing. But like Dani said in her review, there is a different between those scenes and when Michael and James are doing their sexual intercouse. You can feel it. Because when Michael and James are together is love and sexual and connection, but with the patients it's a healing process. Incredible thing that Ms. Easton has here.

The secondary characters are great -- Marnie is my favorite -- and I wish I read more scenes of James reconciliation with his mother, but I guess that's me being greedy.

All in all, it's a great comfort read and I love it...
Profile Image for Alona.
673 reviews12 followers
November 6, 2015

I did not read the first two books in the series, I am SO going to do it soon!
Eli Easton's writing is beautiful, she writes her main characters in a way that captivate you and make you feel everything they go through in the core of your soul.

Daniel is a pure heart, a beautiful, sweet young man, that can absolutely ignores someone's appearance and looks, and see right into their heart.
This is what happens to him when he meet his favorite author at a book signing. He only see the man inside the broken body in the wheelchair.


James is not making it easy for Michael, he do not believe anyone will ever want him, especially someone as beautiful as Michael. He push Michael away at first, but when Michael insist and don't give up, he learn to trust him and let him into his life and his heart.

And than, there was Lamb, oh Lamb...


Now if I ever met a minor character in a book that deserves a book of his own... Lambs character NEEDS a book to call his own! (Please Eli Easton, pleeeease).

Thanks Rosa, Sofia & Otila for a great BR (and Nick, for jumping in to visit from a neighboring BR ;))

Yey!! BR with the girls!
Sofia, Rosa & Otila. starting July 16th.

Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,370 reviews1,507 followers
July 14, 2014
This is the first of Easton's Seattle series that I've read, but I enjoyed it as a stand-alone read.

Michael and James were both fun characters, with enough snark and smartass'ery thrown in to give them additional depth. Plus, it was fun to watch Michael pull James out of his wheelchair-induced hermit-hood.

As for the whole 'sex surrogate' deal, in theory, I get it. But from the standpoint of being able to do that work while being with someone that you love, it's not even close to my realm of understanding. That would be a huge deal breaker for me relationship-wise.

And I can't quite get it from Michael's standpoint either. I couldn't be with someone that I don't find attractive. To me, that would make me feel like a call girl. Sorry, 'call boy'... ; )

A pretty good read, even if I couldn't completely relate with one of the main aspects of the book.
Profile Image for Rain.
1,728 reviews28 followers
August 10, 2022
*2.5* Michael is a sex surrogate. He only works with men, because he is only attracted to men. He likes being with people who are not experienced, it makes him feel worthy and special. He’s a complete and utter sweetheart, you can tell how much care and love he puts into his work. Truly.

James is an author. His best work was written as a teen, and he’s struggled to stay relevant. He hasn’t had the use of his legs since childhood, and is in a wheelchair. He is asked to make a rare public appearance and meets a huge fan, Michael. After some mild stalking, they start dating.

*Slight spoilers below*

It’s understandable that Michael doesn’t tell James that he’s a sex surrogate. He knows that touching and letting other men touch him in a sexual way could possibly upset his boyfriend. Michael keeps repeating how the work he does isn’t really emotional, but that is proven incorrect by the action of one of his clients.

The biggest issue with this story is that there is no real discussion or communication about Michael’s sex work, or the relationship James has with his mother. Everything is gently glossed over to make a hea. Why have these huge issues for the characters to deal with if you’re not going to actually have an open and honest discussion about them?

Also how did a single, financially unstable women traveling the world, afford a high-end, 24/7 disabled childcare facility?

I adored the story within a story, Sentimental Cyanide, written by James. In fact, I would have loved to have read that beautiful sci-fi story about an robot who is designed for sex work. The correlation between Lamb and Michael was absolutely beautiful.
Profile Image for Sheri.
1,373 reviews154 followers
March 20, 2020
And this was it. Exactly what I was waiting for. Was the build-up worth it? Was it everything I had hoped for? Yes, yes and YES! I absolutely adored this final tale in the trio of Sex in Seattle. Consider the first two well-deserved foreplay if you must but this was the peak I was craving. If I’m entirely honest, I wasn’t sold on Michael in the previous books. Intrigued, yes. Smitten, not quite. However! Now that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing his marvelous mating, I flipping love him. And James too! I was worried, just as Michael himself, that a sex surrogate may not be desirable partner material. I suppose this simply reflects my own insecurities. Michael uses unique techniques in his patient care. Touch therapy may lead to mutual touches and ultimately a happy ending. If anything, the work that Michael does should be admired and respected. His focus is never on physical limitations or differences but straight into a person’s soul. There are few humans that possess such a gift. Truthfully, I think Michael is a treasure and couldn’t wait for him to find his beloved. It wasn’t an easy path but the best things never are, are they?

What's to like: Fan meets favorite author and falls in love? Yes, please! I was feeling Michael’s nerves as well and was pretty anxious to meet James myself. Actually, he thought he was meeting his beloved author at the time and had no idea it was the love of his life. Ooooh myyyy, I loved their first meeting. Adorable! Michael can’t believe his luck. His all-time favorite author, confirmed recluse, is finally taking himself public and doing a book signing…in Seattle, his town, of all places. It’s a dream come true but in all honesty, he wasn’t quite prepared for J. C. Guise. They had a tentative beginning that blossomed into a delicate friendship. Which is par for the course for James. He’s cautious and rightly so. Growing up in a children’s home, without any family to rely on has forced him to become self-sufficient. Add in his disability and James hasn’t had the easiest childhood. He’s a grown man but that doesn’t erase his vulnerable spots. Needing, trusting and depending on another person is not familiar to him. Yet, Michael breaks through all his barriers and allows him a taste of what he could have. If only…

What's to love: …love was enough. *sigh* Love can bring two individuals together but is it enough to bind them? I’m afraid not. There are times that love will test all boundaries and push every limit. This is when trust and faith come into play. James doesn’t give either away easily, the past has proven he has little reason to grant such liberties. I loved how they came together. I loved how they overcame obstacles together. I loved how they loved one another. Gahhh! I loved their ‘mothers’. I loved the surge of emotions at the end. I wanted a great deal and I received a great deal. Of course, it was lovely seeing familiar faces from the previous books but there was no question this was Michael and James’ story. Thanks for this one Eli, it warmed me to the core.

Beware of: Michael may be an expert at touch therapy but it takes more than a deft hand to woo James. A desperate need is ignored and denied until the dam breaks and James acutely understands how much he wants and needs a special sexy nurse. And forgiveness and love truly are superpowers.

This book is for: This can be read as a standalone and despite the fact it’s my favorite of the series, I wouldn’t advise you to skip them. Start at the beginning and enjoy the ride.

Book UNfunk
Profile Image for Otila.
364 reviews29 followers
July 20, 2014
This was such a sweet story.

I adored Michael. He’s sweet and so compassionate, he’s almost too good to be true. I thought it would be difficult for me to accept Michael having a job as a sex surrogate and a relationship at the same time but as I got to know Michael and his clients it became much easier to understand. Michael's job is not about sex, it's about healing and compassion. Michael’s sessions with his clients were very well written. "The kind of compassion you have is like a diamond - won under tremendous pressure. Well, whatever fire forged you, you are special. You’re a jewel.”

James on the other hand is bitter and cynical. His constant pessimism and lack of confidence got to be a little much. I just wanted to smack him sometimes. But he does have a heartbreaking backstory and I can understand his inability to trust and let himself be loved. What he understood was this...His legs would never be better, and no one would be there to love him. He had to learn how to take care of himself because no one else wanted to. No one else would.

Their slow burning romance was adorable and I enjoyed watching these two become friends before they became lovers. "Shut up. I'm trying not to scare you." "Baby, it would take a hockey mask and a chainsaw." My only problem was that even though I usually really appreciate an epilogue this one was just a little too sappy for me but that’s really only a minor complaint.

Finally, I just have to say that I want Sentimental Cyanide to be a real story. I want more Lamb!

BR with Rosa, Sofia & Alona! Thanks for the company, girls!
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262 reviews44 followers
July 20, 2014

One of the best Eli Easton's books I've read so far.
Deeply emotional and with the right amount of lighthearted moments.

As a SF geek, I appreciated all the references to the science fiction movies and books. (And Lamb's story: a book in the book, awesome idea)

As a man with some intimacy issues, I found Michael's character and the interactions with his clients very believable and heart warming. I had a few doubts about the sex surrogacy thing, but Easton did an awesome job at describing it. I believe that the key word to fully understand Michael's character is compassion

"The kind of compassion you have is like a diamond—won under tremendous pressure"

As a reader who loves to stalk interact with authors, I liked a lot J.C. insecurities about his books and his inner struggle with his public persona

"Readers like to feel they know authors these days"
I plead guilty!!

As a romantic fool, I loved the relationship between the MCs.. it was simply .. wow.

"Never, ever underestimate a man's ego"

Truer words were never spoken!

"Maybe life was stranger than fiction. A few hours ago, he'd been in one of the darkest moments of his life, and now, right now, he was in the happiest, most incandescent stillness. Joy. Please. God, let me have this, at least for a while"

Yes God, just once. Please?

A tear-jerker read, but in a cathartic way.


Minor complaint: the HEA was too happy for my taste and the evil Mom too easily forgiven.

Buddy read with a very patient man.
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