Title: Raising the Rent
Author: J.L. Merrow
My Rating: B
Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Main Characters: Stephen and Nathan
Release Date: October 2014
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy
Life as a rent boy is not a long-term career goal for Nathan, who's determined to get an education. But when he turns up for his first day at college he's horrified to find his English teacher is one of his regular customers: Stephen, the one Nathan dubbed The Voice for his educated, honeyed tones.
Stephen's just as shocked to see Nathan sitting in his class, not to mention terrified he's about to be exposed as having paid for sex with a student which would mean public humiliation and maybe the loss of his job. Yet it's clear Nathan is only interested in getting his A Levels, not in blackmail. And Stephen realizes there's more to the nineteen-year-old than meets the eye.
Nathan still has to earn a living, though, and when a customer turns ugly, he finds himself homeless and unable to work. Stephen steps in to help, and Nathan starts to think they could have a future together if Stephen's guilt and lack of trust don't end their back-to-front romance before it starts.
This book has been previously published.
Warning: Contains unfashionable haircuts, unreasonably long words, and a May-December romance between a not-so-streetwise rent boy and an erudite English teacher."
I really love m/m books that feature rent boys or porn star story lines so when I heard the premise of this one, I grabbed it. And while it was a reasonably good book, it didn't quite live up to all that I'd hoped it would be. Part of the reason for that, I think, is because the story is told entirely from Nathan's point of view and he doesn't observe Stephen's reactions to things very well so it was hard to connect to what Stephen was feeling. The story could have been SO MUCH more if there hadn't been that disconnect...because overall, the story is good. It just didn't quite feel as deep as I felt like it could be and that made me sad.
The book takes place in England and is very British in its language usage...I loved that. It was just like a quick little jaunt to England where I lived for two years so it was fun to hear the phrases again that I haven't heard in a few years.
I do love the premise of the story too. My heart ached for Nathan...he's in such a desperate place, just trying to make a better life for himself and I think Stephen sees some of that even though he hates what Nathan is doing. I'm telling you, this could have been an incredible book filled with angst and emotion if the author had just explored Stephen's pov some and gotten deeper into Nathan's emotional state. Instead, I've had to fill in the gaps myself and while that works to a certain extent...I still want more.
But overall, I definitely don't feel like I wasted my time reading this one. It's an interesting story and definitely gave me a couple hours escape onto the streets of England. It's a short story and works for what it is.