Audio Review: Lissa Kasey – Hidden Gem (Hidden Gem #1)

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Author: Lissa Kasey
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Paranormal/Sci-fi futuristic/BDSM

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Narrator: Adam McLaughlin

Summary:
Misaki “Aki” Itou is a psi – a person with mutated DNA granting him psychic abilities. He’s also a contracted companion – a whore. It may not be the perfect profession, but having a roof over his head, food to eat, and not being subjected to torture is a dream come true. He is the top companion at the Hidden Gem, and it makes him enough money to buy the prettiest, most sparkly shoes he can find.
Shane McNaughton is an Irishman who survived the Third World War and works as a cop. As head of Missing Persons, he’s good at finding people, but after the plague mutated his DNA, he has a hard time letting anyone see the monster inside. He’s been paying for Aki’s services for two years, both the psi and the sexual kind, but he wants more from the companion.
Shane needs Aki’s ability to see into another person’s past to track down a serial killer murdering the children of rich and powerful men, but the more they work together, the clearer it becomes that they are linked through a darker past than either of them realizes.

Review:
First and foremost—both this story and the narrator are outstanding. And second, I never would have picked up a sci-fi story if I wasn’t in need of a complex audiobook that would occupy me while I painted rooms in a new house—normally a mind-suckingly boring task. Boy, was I shocked by what I got—an outstanding, complex sci-fi futuristic and paranormal (shapeshifters) adventure set in a new world populated by humans, clones, psis – those who have mutated DNA that allow them to have psychic abilities, and AMs – Animal Mutations – those with mutated DNA who literally turn into monsters at least once each month.

One psi, known as Misaki “Aki” Itou, is a stunningly beautiful whore working in The Hidden Gem, a gentleman’s club in this new world. He and his best friend, Candy, are roommates and both are at the top of their profession. One of the greatest problems Aki has is the fact that he cannot touch anyone other than Candy and his former mentor, Paris. For everyone else, the feelings and experiences of the other person overwhelm him, so he has to use condoms and wear gloves when giving oral sex and he can’t have anal sex at all. Besides his work in the club, he’s done some work for the police to help find someone, but the headaches he experiences are so severe that he’s rarely called upon.

He is the focus of attention of Detective Shane McNaughton, however. Shane has used Aki’s talents, both in searching and in the bedroom, but because Aki won’t allow anyone to touch him skin to skin, his oral skills are what attract Shane time and again. Shane is an AM, a secret he keeps from Aki and others. He controls his beast, but barely, and he’s ashamed to let the beautiful young man know who he really is.

When the number of local young people kidnapped and murdered increases dramatically, Shane asks for Aki’s help. Though he gives it, he’s negatively affected—hospitalized, removed from Shane’s presence by his owner, and sent back to work with Paris to learn how to better shield himself. A quick note here—Paris is a Dom and Aki a submissive, and though Paris uses D/s techniques to help control Aki, there is no overt sadism to their relationship or other BDSM in this story.

Without going into multiple details, I will say that the complexity of this story is outstanding and it is a springboard for a series of which I’ve already gotten the sequels. Plus, there’s romance—not just sex, but real romance—for this very special young psi and his AM admirer.

Each step of Aki’s and Shane’s journey is interesting and exciting, and I truly enjoyed every minute of the audiobook. The narration was perfect as well, with the narrator giving very varied voices to all the characters. I highly recommend this to those who enjoy a fantasy or sci-fi futuristic novel, and if you do indeed pick it up, be sure to get it in audio format.

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Dreamspinner Press 

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