Giveaway: I’m offering a $20 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour. (See here for a full list of the blogs I’ll be guesting on, in case you’ve missed any)
I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 27th October, GMT. Good luck! :D
Raising the Rent by JL Merrow
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd. (October 14, 2014)
Amazon Kindle: Raising the Rent
Never fall in love with a customer—especially if it’s sex you’re selling
Rent boy Nathan’s determined to get an education and get off the streets for good. 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 because of 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. This could mean public humiliation and maybe the loss of his job. But when Nathan shows he’s only interested in getting his A Levels, not in blackmail, Stephen realises 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 unable to work and homeless as well. Stephen steps in to help, and Nathan starts to think they could have a future together—but Stephen’s guilt and lack of trust could end this back-to-front romance before it even 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.
The bloke swept off his tan leather jacket and hung it on the back of his chair, leaving him in a soft-looking sweater and nicely tailored trousers, both black. Then he turned to face the class. “My name is Dr. Edward Pearson, and I’ll be teaching you English literature this year.”
The meaning of the words filtered in slowly past the pounding in Nathan’s ears. He wasn’t sure if it was the voice he’d recognised first, or that distinctive face, with long dark hair framing a high forehead, strong chin and broken nose.
It was Stephen.
“Today we will start by looking at…” The voice (mellifluous, Nathan’s brain supplied helpfully—he’d looked it up and now knew it meant flowing like honey, so he’d been spot on there, not that it was going to help him one bloody bit in this total, utter disaster) faltered as Stephen’s gaze swept across the class and came to rest on Nathan, but he recovered after an instant. “…the poems of Rupert Brooke, of whom I devoutly hope you have all at least heard, and his contemporaries. I trust you all have with you your copies of Generation Lost: A World War I Anthology?”
There was a chorus of muttered yeses and the scrape of chairs, the rustle of bags and the slap of paperback books on desks. Through it all, Nathan sat frozen. This…this wasn’t supposed to happen. College was his second chance. His fresh start. What he did on the streets to survive, that wasn’t supposed to even get in the door. Let alone stand up in front of the class in a posh sweater and start teaching him poetry.
Siobhan nudged him, breaking the spell. “You can share mine, all right?” she whispered, sliding her open book across towards Nathan’s side of the table.
Stephen looked over sharply at the sound of her voice. Nathan braced himself. Was this it? Was this where he got chucked out, told to stop wasting decent people’s time? Anger rose in him, sharp and nauseating. He had as much right as anyone to be here. What he did in his own time was his own business, and who the bloody hell was Stephen to chuck stones? If that bastard said a word, one word, about what Nathan was, he’d…
Then Stephen looked away and just carried on with the lesson.
JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.
She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.
Find JL Merrow online at: www.jlmerrow.com, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow
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