Title: Raising the Rent
Author: JL Merrow
Cover Artist: unknown
Rating: 4.50 of 5 Stars
“Rent boy rule number one: Never fall in love with a customer.”
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.
Warning: Contains unfashionable haircuts, unreasonably long words, and a May-December romance between a not-so-streetwise rent boy and an erudite English teacher.
Raising the Rent is a delightfully sweet novella proving the love can blossom where and when you least expect it.
Nathan’s a rent boy, it’s not the lifestyle he wants but it’s all he can do right now to survive while he tries to continue his education. Nathan wants to go to university; he wants to make something of his life, something his late mum would be proud of. Nathan has a Thursday night ‘regular’ a man he thinks of as ‘the voice’. What Nathan doesn’t know is ‘the voice’ belongs to Edward Stephen Pearson an English college professor, and that Stephen will be Nathan’s English professor when the new college term starts.
Neither man wants their secret out in the open so they keep a discrete distance until a vicious attack leaves Nathan battered, bruised and homeless. Stephen offers Nathan a roof over his head while he recovers, with no strings attached. But what happens when Nathan wants more than just friendship? Is it possible Stephen might feel the same?
Raising the Rent was previously published as a short story in the anthology Sindustry. I loved it when I first read it and the revised extended story is as beautiful now as it was then. Both Nathan and Stephen are characters who tug at the heartstrings. Nathan’s been on his own since his mother’s death, leaving home to escape his abusive stepfather. He’s doing his best, refusing to lower his aspirations, determined to do all he can to build a decent future for himself. Stephen comes over as a bit lonely, quite shy, he’s in his own words, ‘once bitten, twice shy’ and Nathan brings out feelings in him that he’s afraid to let lose into the open light. JL Merrow brings these two wounded souls together in a story richly filled with depth and emotion, you want these two men to be happy, to get their happy ever after, and they both deserve to be loved.
Raising the Rent is a lovely story, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face, and I highly recommend it.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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