Noah Everett rose above his life on the streets as a teenage prostitute to become a somewhat successful business owner. Despite walking away from his life as a rent boy, he’s still haunted by those he left behind. He’s made it his life’s work to devote what little time and money he has to ensure that others who are forced into selling their bodies for survival have the resources to get out.
Jeremy Kincaid aged out of the foster system and was forced out onto the streets before he could graduate high school. With a chance at getting a college scholarship, Jeremy will do almost anything he needs to in order to ensure that his high school GPA doesn’t suffer just because he has no place to live. But with a ruthless pimp, Willie Carnell, determined to recruit Jeremy into working for him – voluntarily or involuntarily – Jeremy knows he doesn’t have many options unless he has someone willing to help him.
When Noah meets Jeremy, he is determined to help, but he needs to prove to Jeremy that he doesn’t have any ulterior motives. However, neither of them were expecting the sparks to start flying between them as they begin to open up to one another…except Noah isn’t ready to act on those feelings until he begins to confront his own past.
This story has a bit of everything. There’s some action, a bit of mystery, unresolved relationships, and a bit of romance. Set in an inner city neighborhood, this is not your typical romance story. With a former prostitute saving homeless kids from a life of selling their bodies, it offers a message of hope.
Jeremy has aged out of the system before graduating high school. Pinning his hopes and dreams on a scholarship to get him ahead in life, he just has to keep himself focused on his goals in order to graduate. Easier said than done. Jeremy spends his days being picked on in school for wearing old, dirty clothes while being one of the smartest people in class, and his nights trying to keep one step ahead of those on the street who hope to persuade him into taking the easy way out of poverty by selling his body. He trusts no one…until the Angel of 13th Street makes him an offer he can’t refuse.
Noah clawed his way up from the days where he sold his own body on the streets. Now a business owner, he has devoted his life to ensuring those who seek to escape their lives on the streets can. When he meets Jeremy in the laundromat, he is impressed with his lack of bitterness at his circumstances and his resolve to do whatever it is he needs to in order to ensure he qualifies for a scholarship. Offering Jeremy a job at the laundromat and a place to stay that is safe from those who seek to derail his plans, Noah finds himself drawn to the younger man who has a head for business.
The third character who plays a prominent role in this story is Willie – the pimp who seeks to entice Trent into working for him. Willie and Noah have a history together that began many years ago when the two of them were working the streets. Though their relationship ended badly, the two struggle with their feelings for one another. I had mixed feelings about Willie’s role in this story because there is a lot of unfinished business that Willie and Noah need to sort through. So on one hand, I didn’t want Willie to take a leading role in the book, I also found myself sympathizing with Willie and his story.
My biggest complaint about this story was the romance between Jeremy and Noah and how it at times seemed that there was just too much angst going on. With a 10-year age difference, at times Jeremy seemed to act so much older than 18; then at other times he seemed to act very immaturely. Then with Noah, at times he seemed to take on the role of a father figure, but then his thoughts were anything but parental.
My second complaint is that Noah has sex with a character other than Jeremy in this story. For me, this is a big no-no in my romance stories. I can overlook a reference or a fade to black scene early on in the story before the two main characters meet, but I don’t want to see this after the characters have met. This is personal preference; others may not find this to be a problem.
Overall, this was just an okay read for me. If you like a well told story with a lot of angst and like stories where there is a significant age difference between the main characters, you may find this is the story for you.