Raising the Rent by J.L. Merrow (3.5 Stars)

Told only from Nathan’s POV, this was a cute romance. The story was a bit sad because Nathan was dirt poor, trying to go to college while working the streets, and then he gets physically assaulted. Stephen, Nathan’s professor, takes him in, but they never really have any serious conversations to make me understand why they were together. The ending was also really abrupt, which would have worked if I had believed in the relationship.

BLURB

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.

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