Rating: 3 stars out of 5
For ten years ex-rent boy Noah Everett has fought the good fight, offering second chances to those still in the life. Now he’s cracking under the stress. What began as a two-man mission is now going corporate, meaning rules, regulations and inexperienced volunteers needing guidance in a field Noah makes up as he goes along. Who can he turn to when his mentor’s strength is all but gone and his lover is leaving for college—possibly for good?
Four years at State with a full ride scholarship will launch Jeremy Kincaid’s future, but his present includes Noah, Doc, and the closest he’s ever had to a family. And a meth addict who’s become Jeremy’s own personal mission.
An attack sends Noah spinning out of control. Jeremy has to find the way to reach Noah before the man he knows and loves disappears forever.
This story was tough for me to rate. I was excitedly looking forward to the sequel to one of the first books I read in the M/M genre: The Angel of Thirteenth Street. I love the author and clearly recalled enjoying that story. But this one fell short for me, mostly because it took me a long time to engage with the characters. I’m a voracious reader, so a few thousand characters have come and gone in my life since I read Angel, and I didn’t recall specifics about that story or about the main characters, Noah and Jeremy. I realize now that I should have gone back and reread the first one because this one may have captured my attention and engaged me sooner if I was able to freshly recall that story.
And because I didn’t recall the characters—either individually, or as a couple—I didn’t connect with them in the early sex scenes and actually skimmed over the scenes because “ho-hum two guys having sex” before I became invested in them as a couple was just that—ho-hum. It wasn’t until about 60% of the way in that I started to really care about what was happening to Noah and Jeremy and Doc and definitely about Lark and Sam, two of the secondary characters. In fact, I just read online that they are going to have their story told someday, but honestly, I wouldn’t have minded just having their full story woven into this one. They engaged me. Noah and Jeremy did not.
The story is definitely a continuation of the first one, and because I didn’t clearly recall the first, I would not recommend this as a standalone. The author relies heavily on a fan base from the past. Noah comes across as an older man (though I think he’s only early thirties) and since he’s undergoing an emotional crisis and can’t shake his past throughout most of the book, and heemotionally detaches from his “almost” nineteen-year-old partner, I really didn’t like him much.
Jeremy, on the other hand, was a sweetheart—smart, sharp, understanding, caring, concerned, generous, and more. But him with Noah? Most of their scenes together were sex scenes in the first half and walk-on-glass-around-the-grumpy-guy scenes in the second half. The ending was satisfying, though, and I really liked the Christmas Carol theme of the intervention spearheaded by Jeremy.
So, overall, yes I liked it, hence 3 stars. But I would offer a warning that should be posted with the book—read or reread book one immediately before starting this one because together they make a whole—and I think anyone would enjoy this one much more if book one was fresh in the memory banks.
Cover by P.D. Singer is a simple side profile of a young man leaning against a brick wall. Not colorful and not attention-getting IMHO.