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Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: Selling Out (The Lost Girls #2) by Amber Lin


Shelly Laurent escapes her life as a high-class escort, but against her better judgment she takes the scared young Ella with her. Framed for murder by her pimp and his dirty cops in retaliation, Shelly turns to the one man who could be her salvation: Detective Luke Cameron. She doesn’t know if she can trust him or if he’s just a mirage, but it's time for her to take a stand. Just one shot, make it count, she’ll fight Ella’s demons—and face her own.

     Shelly throws light on the shadows of Chicago’s underworld, challenging everything she knew and the man she’s come to love. Together, a prostitute and a cop fight for truth stronger than secrets, hope deeper than deception, and a bond more enduring than betrayal.

My Review:

Selling Out, Amber Lin’s (AL) second installment of The Lost Girls series had me on the edge of my seat.

We met Shelly in the first book, Giving It Up, Allie’s faithful friend who always stood by her side. Shelly was also a call girl and was living it up with Philip, a crime lord she was secretly spying on for Luke Cameron, a cop Shelly fell in love with.

At the end of Giving It Up, Shelly is shot and Luke is bereft his informant was hurt. But that was it – we learn in Selling Out, that Luke and Shelly were never physical, though they both seem to want each other desperately.

Shelly tries to leave her hooking life behind, but it’s hard to do when you don’t have any education and your bills are piling up. Not helping matters any, Shelly’s pimp, Henri, wants her back. Taking her from her apartment, Henri throws her back to work, and Shelly starts to fall back into her normal routine.

That is, until she meets Ella, a young seventeen year old who is also at Henri’s party with some heavy hitters, starting as the main show. Shelly can’t help herself and tries to rescue her when all hell breaks loose and a murder is pinned on her and Ella.

Shelly runs to the safety of the only person she can think of: Philip. Hoping he’s forgiven her, Shelly brings Ella along in hopes of hiding out until things tide over. She also enlists the help of Luke, but as she searches for evidence to clear her name, Shelly’s search for the truth sets her down a road which uncovers secrets she never could have imagined were true.

With her whole life ripped apart, will Shelly ever trust anyone again? And what about Luke? Is he really the Knight In Shining Armor she thinks he is, or is there something in Luke’s past which will forever change how she sees him?

Selling Out starts you out on a curved path and the road just gets darker and more twisted as you move on. It features several triggers and themes* (*story plots that are mentioned as happening, but not explicitly shown) that weren’t my cup of tea, but I could see how they related to the character and story development. AL is still a genius at what she does best, creating a happy ending for flawed characters hurting for a way out. I can’t wait to see what else AL has in store for us and I loved Allie and Colin’s cameo in the book! Shelly’s sense of humor also kept the book going, and I loved her snarkiness Smile 

Selling Out features:

  • underage themes*
  • incest themes*
  • oral sex
  • ménage themes*
  • torture
  • kidnapping
  • angst



Downstairs, I found Ella sulking into a coffee mug that smelled like chocolate.

“So, did you have a good night?” I asked.

She said nothing, glaring at her drink like she could bring it to boil through sheer force of will.

“I did,” I said, sitting across from her. “I always sleep great. It’s a gift and a curse.”

“Why would that be a curse?” she asked before catching herself.

“Isn’t that the proverbial moral compass? That way I could know when I’d done something bad. Though I’d probably get permanent insomnia.”

She snorted.

“Hey, I know. You can just tell me why exactly you’re upset, and we won’t have to rely on my

faulty internal equipment.”

She frowned at me.

“Lay it on me. I’ll even let you smack me around if it’ll make you feel better. I normally charge extra for that.”

She choked a laugh. “I can’t believe some of the things you say.”

“Believe it, baby. Here’s a lesson about lying: tell the truth. You don’t have to tell the whole truth, just the parts that work for you. Me, I hardly ever lie.”

“That statement could be a lie.”

“What is this, a paradox? I’m trying to be a mentor here.”

“And for reasons that are beyond me at the moment, I’m trying to learn from you. It doesn’t make sense, because I don’t want be a…a…”

“Hooker. Say it, or I’m going to start calling it the-profession-that-must-not-be-named, and the last thing I need is another mouthful.”

“An escort,” she finished. “I don’t want to be one, but I still want to be like you. Is that crazy?”

It was sweet. Humbling. And a really bad idea.

“If that’s crazy, then so am I. I want the same thing, honey.”

“So why were you there, at the penthouse? Why not just quit?”

Ah, what a question. If prostitution was the oldest profession, then how to quit was the oldest dilemma. “It’s hard to explain.” I thought for a moment. “Did you know a spider has venom to paralyze its prey? Most people just think about the web, but it’s the venom that incapacitates them. Then it liquefies them, all before the spider takes a sip.”

“That’s disgusting. Also, please stop being creepy.”

“My point is, the guns and the beatings, even the money, that’s the web. It’s easy to see, so people think that’s why prostitutes stay in the life. But really they’re stuck because of the venom, the sick poison of shame and fear that we’ll never fit in with regular people again—it paralyzes us. We stay there, frozen, even knowing that we’re going to get eaten.”

“Oh, Shelly,” came Allie’s voice from the door. “You are like normal people.”

Something caught in my chest before I breathed it out. “This is why you don’t lie,” I told Ella. “Too easy to spot.”

Allie dropped a box of doughnuts on the table, and Ella grabbed one.

“Now what is this I hear about a trip to a club?” Allie asked as she grabbed her own doughnut.

“Who told you that?”

“A little birdie.” When I stared at her, she conceded. “Okay, Adrian may have told me about your clothes. And the fake IDs.”

“Traitor,” I said, snatching the doughnut from Allie’s hand.

She rolled her eyes and grabbed another. “Someone has to talk you out of it. It’s a dumb idea.”

“It’s the only idea,” I said. “Which makes it a good one.”

“I assume you’re bringing Philip along for protection,” Allie said, probing.

I examined my nails, feigning nonchalance even though I’d never get it past her. “Actually, I’m

bringing Luke. Or I will, as soon as I ask him and he says yes.”

Allie’s eyes never left mine. “Ella, can you excuse us a moment?”

“Uh-oh. It must be time for my spanking.”

She grabbed an extra doughnut before heading out. “Okay. If I hear any screaming, I’m going to assume they’re cries of ecstasy.”

“What are you teaching that girl?” Allie asked when Ella had cleared the room.

“I think she’s been watching too much HBO.”

“And what’s this about Luke?”

“Yeah, you know, the detective who can gather clues and make arrests and stuff. I figure he’ll be useful to have around, since we want to get our names cleared. Legally. Philip would probably start World War III before our drinks came.”

“Whatever, it’s always about Luke with you. Seriously, can you guys just go fuck it out? The world would be grateful.”

“Tried that. He didn’t want me.”

Rating: 3.5 Kisses


Amber is giving away a free e-book copy of her book, Selling Out. All you have to do to win is:


1) Follow us
2) Leave a comment with your email and follow method: Would you risk your everything to rescue a stranger? Tell us about it!

Good luck! Contest ends 4/17/13.



*book was provided to Read Our Lips! for review by author*


  1. *****ENTRY SAMPLE*****

    It would totally depend on the situation and if I was physically able to do it. Push someone out of the way - yup! But scale a wall or climbing or physical activity, forget it, I'd be out of breath. I so need to work out and get in shape!

    I follow via email and GFC.

    Thanks for the chance to win; the book sounds amazing!

  2. I don't think so. I wish I could say 'yes,' but let's be honest... we don't always go out of the way to rescue strangers. It depends though. If I see someone being violated, then yes. If someone emails me out of the blue, who I don't know, asking for help... then no.

    mestith at gmail dot com

  3. And the winner is . . .

    Congratulations! Thank you so much for supporting our blog!


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