Maria Lantos is a post grad Yale student researching illicit 18th-century literature. She’s become exceptionally well-versed in the narratives of classic erotic fantasy.
She’s also Claudine, an in-demand escort specializing in sexual role play for an elite clientele. Anonymous. Satisfying. And discreet.
Until the tenuous separation between her worlds starts to crack. It begins with the murder of a stranger. Where it leads is to two men who will test Maria's limits of control and awaken her own sexual desires.
As her private nights bleed into day, Maria will discover the dangerous places that extend beyond the imagination, and secrets no longer consigned to the dark.
Palmer's splendid exploration of sensual performance is much a study of erotic literature as it is an addition to the genre. Maria Lantos, a literary-minded post grad from Yale, supports herself as a student by giving special performances for one night only. Each is tailored to the particular tastes of the evening's client. Palmer is eager to confess her fascination with historical figures and books of ill repute, and she keeps a sultry gaze squarely on her protagonist, taking a fetishist's delight in clothing and fragrances throughout. While paying homages to classic scenes of sensuality, Palmer is unsentimental in portraying the painful and dangerous components of Maria's descent into lasciviousness. But the artful presentations of debauchery for its own sake also contain the hope of romantic ideals. Readers will breathlessly follow Maria's adventures to their satisfying conclusion.