Why I read it: I saw a tweet from Sarah Frantz which said this book was super hot so I pre-ordered. It was even on special. That's called karma.
What it's about: (from Goodreads) For the past six months, Jared’s been selling sex at Market Garden, a London club that caters to the better-off. But business is slow in the run-up to Christmas, when businessmen and bankers are too busy bickering over bonuses to rent themselves a little high-class action.
Though Jared’s wallet finds the downtime unnerving, the rest of him rather enjoys the opportunity it gives him to admire Tristan, an old hand in the club whose reputation usually sees him well-booked. Jared has been crushing on Tristan for months—he’s no more immune to Tristan’s cockiness and confidence than the johns, and those are just Tristan’s inner qualities.
Just as Jared’s about to chat Tristan up, a businessman asks for something a little different: he wants to book them both. They agree—and Jared finds himself going from crush to mind-bending lust as he’s made the pawn in a sexual power game. Tristan shows him how a pro handles a john while delivering the top-shelf sex for which the Market Garden is so rightly renowned.
What worked for me (and what didn't): The blurb is spot on as to what happens in the book so I knew not to expect a traditional romance with HEA. It is an erotic short story, not a romance. There does appear to be some romantic interest between Jared and Tristan (certainly on Jared's part anyway) but whether it will turn into anything remains to be seen. I gather that there are further books in this series planned, so I'm hoping to see a romantic arc develop. The story is told from Jared's deep third person POV so Tristan remains largely unknown. I'm certainly looking forward to learning more of him.
For some reason I expected this to be an historical short so there were a few times I jarred as I came to grips with the modern setting (this is just me - too much Ava March! LOL).
Sarah Frantz was right. The story was super hot. There was also a very interesting power dynamic between Mr. Rolex (the john) and Tristan. As they bargained between them - money for sex between Tristan and Jared, keeping Jared on the edge.
For me, there was also an uncomfortable moment where Mr. Rolex got involved and I didn't think there had been specific consent for that. The text supported me in that because Jared wasn't all that comfortable with it - Rolex was rough - but he was turned on and happy that something was happening in the particular area Rolex was penetrating so he didn't use his safe word. The fact that he thought of it meant, to me, that there was some lack of consent there. In Jared's mind too, was the fact that his prime purpose as a rentboy was to please Mr. Rolex. I wondered where consent fitted in.
Because there was a connection, more than just putting on a show for Mr. Rolex between Jared and Tristan, I felt like the john was an intruder in terms of my enjoyment of the story. I suppose he was meant to be the catalyst which starts a beautiful partnership.
It is short - only about 35 pages, but it made a perfect evening's read (even if hubs did rudely interrupt by putting on the cricket). The ePub copy I bought from Riptide was very clean and well edited and well formatted for which I was grateful. I'm looking forward to more in this series. The grade reflects my preference for more romance, but I knew what I was getting into when I picked this one up. Maybe I'm being unfair?