Title: Cruce de Caminos
Authors: Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: Short Story
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance

Rating: 3.75

Sean O’Hara has pretty much hit rock bottom. He is broke and living on the streets of New Orleans. His girlfriend has left him for a sugar daddy, he is teetering on the line of total drug addiction, and his backpack with all his worldly possessions has just been stolen. In need of food, shelter, and a fix, Sean decides to take on a little street work for some cash. Just as he is about to get himself into a particularly dangerous situation, he meets a stranger named Angel, who oddly enough looks a lot like Sean. Angel offers Sean another way to make money – join him for a one-time job as part of Angel’s escort service. Sean jumps at the chance to make a lot of cash quickly and seemingly easily, with the goal to score some drugs and get back his girl.

Things after that turn a bit weird, both with the job, as well as the next day as Sean finds himself at a crossroads. One path in all likelihood leads him down the road to destruction – drug addiction, bad news girlfriend, no real future. And the other more difficult path may lead to getting clean and getting his life back together. And as he makes these decisions, Angel (or variations thereof) serve as a guide, helping steer him the right way.

Ok, so if that description sounds sort of confusing, it is because I was in fact a bit confused. I’ll be honest, I am not sure I totally got what was going on here a lot of the time. I see Angel as almost a guardian angel of sorts, albeit sort of a whacked one. He seems to be right there right when Sean needs him (or wants something) and in a roundabout way guiding him along. But he also leads Sean into some trouble too. While the escort job may have been the lesser of two evils compared to street hustling, something weird definitely went down that night. I am just not totally sure I get what it was.

So I really struggled with this review and this rating. On one hand, I was definitely drawn in by Sean and Angel. I was interested in what was happening with Sean and very intrigued as I tried to unravel who (or what) Angel actually was and what his role was in Sean’s life. I liked the idea of this guy at the pivotal point of his life, right when things can lead him to total destruction or to his potential salvation. But I couldn’t rate this book higher because when I finished reading, I felt really muddled about what had actually happened. In all honesty, I am not sure if the authors didn’t convey it well enough, or if I am just not smart enough to pick up on the subtleties. Either way, I was left with sort of a foggy sense of “good” but not a very clear picture of it all.

I will also point out, this story is not really a romance. Although Sean and Angel do have sex together (I think – I honestly am not even sure), the book is not about a sexual or romantic relationship between them. That didn’t detract from my enjoyment, but I point it out in case that is an issue for some readers.

Overall this book left me curious, intrigued, confused, entertained, and a bit frustrated. I can actually see myself reading it again, just to see if I follow more upon second reading. And I would love to talk about it with someone. and get their ideas and share mine. But I was too muddled to totally love it.  So an interesting story that just didn’t completely work for me.

Be sure to check back later as author Violetta Vane will be here to talk to us more about sex work and sexual orientation as well as to bring a great giveaway.