The Pleasure Trap, by Niobia Bryant
264 pages, Dafina Books/Kensington Publishing
Book Review by: Melody Charles
Graham Walker might be his name, but pleasure becomes his game….literally AND figuratively.
First introduced in Niobia Bryant’s scandal-driven Mistress series (Message From A Mistress, Mistress No More and Mistress Inc.) via his trysts with Jaime Hall, male stripper and on-call sex servicer Pleasure gets his own engrossing novel via The Pleasure Trap. If you haven’t yet read any of the Mistress books, you can still follow Pleasure with a minimum of confusion and yes, it’s worth the effort.
Cover to cover, Bryant lays out delectable detail about a young man’s struggles with his parents’ divorce, his father’s freak-show-level philandering and his mother’s attendance at the wrong church all leading up to the teen becoming an in-demand male entertainer who uses sex appeal to mask his insecurities and inner demons.
Blessed (and cursed) to be the carbon copy of his tall, dark, handsome father Tylar, Graham learned all-too-early—and from one of his father’s girlfriends at that—-how appealing he was to the opposite sex and what to do to exploit those carnal gifts to his advantage. Instead of graduating high school and pursuing paths that his intellect is well-suited for, Graham works menial jobs until he encounters Joy, a lawyer who moves him into her plush condo and keeps him high as a kite and sexing her other hedonistic friends for cash to pay room and board.
When Graham’s addiction nearly kills him, he flees back home, gets clean and decided to parlay his ‘Midas Touch’ with the ladies into real gold (read, cash money) by becoming a stripper, taking the name his pimp of an ex game him—Pleasure—and claiming it for his own as he finally controls who he gets naked for and sleeps with. But just as he becomes rich and famous, falls in love and starts therapy, a masked and disturbed woman tracks him down, breaks into his home and tortures him by threatening everything that Graham worked so hard to achieve. Will he discover who this unhinged assailant is…..before it’s too late?
In her first male-focused protagonist novel, Bryant succeeds in delivering a salacious story that excites as well as educates about the depths of addiction (substance and otherwise), the trauma of sexual abuse and how unchecked anxieties can overtake one’s past, present and future. Graham, AKA Pleasure, is also a likable dude. Unless one has taken a vow of celibacy, the frequent sexcapades throughout the novel might make some female readers want to scour strip clubs to find their own version of the man (not to mention the ending, a true stunner, that will leave folks breathless). Don’t let that delectable cover fool you: The Pleasure Trap is more about the heart and soul rather than ample endowment and bulging biceps.