Brent Winton has been working two jobs to support his younger brother through college and law school after their parents died. One job is legitimate, the other requires Brent to sell his body so that his brother can have the best textbooks and laptops, and focus on his studying.
When Dimitri moves next door, Brent finds himself attracted to the Russian refugee, but knows he can’t get involved and risk having his brother find out his secret. As Brent tries to fight his attraction to Dimitri, he fails and finds himself falling for a man who has secrets of his own.
This is a very fast paced, short novella that deals with prostitution and gay persecution in Russia – two topics that I think much larger novels couldn’t adequately tackle in a single story, but somehow this author has managed to at least bring these issues to light.
Dimitri lives in fear after seeing how gays are persecuted in Russia. Having watched friends disappear only to reappear in a coffin, it is no wonder that he fears giving away any indication of his sexuality. Now in Australia, he is learning that maybe he doesn’t need to hide.
Brent and his brother are both openly bi. While Australia is more tolerant, Brent knows firsthand that being gay is one thing, being a gay prostitute is another. Yet, despite the danger, he knows selling his body is the only way to ensure his brother can make a better life for himself.
When Dimitri finds out what Brent is doing, he agrees to keep his secret, but also ensures that Brent has the protection he needs. I will admit, I found this part of the story a bit disturbing with Brent having sex with customers while Dimitri is sitting at the bar below having drinks.
What surprised me was how Brent was when he was with Dimitri during sexy-times. I have to say that what I thought was going to be bordering on raunchy sex, given Brent’s occupation, was surprisingly tender and romantic.
My only complaint about this book, and it’s a big one, is that the book ended abruptly. Without ruining the story for anyone, let me just say that you turn the page and expect there to be something and there’s nothing. It felt unfinished to me. I felt like I needed to know something more.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story, except for the ending. While it ended on a high note, I felt it needed something more, even if it was a short epilogue to wrap things up nicely. I look forward to reading more of this author’s works!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.