Author: Cat Grant
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
When love’s for sale, who really pays?
Connor Morrison is a 3-D optics pioneer, the star of the UC Berkeley physics department, and a socially inept workaholic. And with his dear friend and business partner, Steve Campbell, handling their investors, he’s content to remain in the shadows. That is, until he meets the gorgeous and starry-eyed physics student Wes Martin.
Wes is brilliant but broke. Ever since his scholarship fell victim to the financial crisis, he’s had no choice but to sell his body to stay in school. Already half in love with Connor, Wes initially resists Steve’s offer to be Connor’s thirty-fifth birthday present. But in the end, Wes is too broke—and too smitten—to say no.
Connor has no idea Steve bought Wes’s attentions, and he quickly falls under the young man’s spell. Yet after one night together, Wes disappears. He can’t bear to hook with a man he could so easily grow to love, but he also can’t bear to tell him the truth. Besides, if he sleeps with Connor again, there’d be no way to hide the bruises one of his regular johns loves to inflict. Only one thing to do: let Connor go. Walking away is painful, but not nearly as much as building a relationship on lies.
For anyone who isn’t aware, this title is part of Riptide’s Rentboy collection. It’s my first one in fact and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Once I learned where Cat came up with the idea for the story itself, it meant more to me, it allowed me to connect with the characters on a deeper level of understanding.
This is a story about a young man, Wes Martin who is doing all he can to put himself through college, this is a young man full of will and determination and he’s willing to do what it takes to stay in school and while he’s there he gets the most of it. He’s not there to fool around like so many of our college students are these days. Partying and drinking until he passes out isn’t his idea of a good time. As we all know, an average job working at a burger joint doesn’t pay enough to cover an electric bill, never mind school tuition, food, gas for his car, clothes and the like. His parents died when he was very young and was raised by an aunt and uncle who had their own kids to put through college. So, really Wes is on his own and putting his self through college.
Our next character is Connor Morrison, a professor at the same college Wes attends. In fact, Wes appears at all of Connor’s presentations, lectures and tries to learn all he can from the older man. Connor is a single gay man, living in the dorms I do believe, among the same minded students as himself. He’s a physics professor and has come upon something new and exciting that he and his best friend Steve Campbell are trying to get investors involved in helping them see this come to life. However, because Connor is focused on his work and such, he rarely if ever goes out to socialize.
Well one evening there is a surprise birthday party for Connor that Steve arranges for him, and Connor is less than thrilled. He argues that they could have just done the dinner thing like they do every year and Steven won’t have it. So, during that party, Connor escapes to a balcony where he could be by himself. Crowds and all that don’t sit well with him and I totally get that. Suddenly there with his is a stunning younger man and he’s polite, charming, talkative and before Connor realizes what in the hell is going on, he’s being kissed by the younger man.
This at first went very well with Connor but all too soon he comes to his senses and shoves the younger man away, he can’t do this and a rejected Wes just disappears from the party. Now, oddly enough Wes has a room just a few doors down from Connor at the campus, and they sort of avoid one another until a big conference comes up where Connor is the guest speaker, again, trying to sell his idea and Steven, who just won’t give up offers an aide for Connor, because quite frankly, Connor is a frazzled mess. Who does Steven offer up? Wes of course.
Yes, Wes is super as Connor’s aide and then so much more as they end up in bed together and come morning, Wes, who is so full of guilt for some odd reason (you’ll find out when you read it.) takes off before Connor even wakes up. Now Connor is lost and just shrugs it off. He goes back to work, and again, sees Wes on occasion but they go about their business. Now Wes still has bills to pay so this is when we find out how he makes his money. And boy-oh-boy. The shit he goes through and don’t think Connor doesn’t notice the changes in Wes because he does. He sees bruises and such on the younger man and bless the man, he comes to Wes’s rescue.
Overall it’s a good story, just the right amount of angst, sex, and a great plot. I call it great because you would not believe the amount of kids who do exactly this to get through college. I mean even girls do it. They are that determined to make something of their lives and if that means dong things they don’t exactly like, they do it because they have a goal and that goal is to climb above and go for the gold.
Reviewed By: Michele