You do what you have to do to survive. For eighteen-year-old Liam Newman that means living the life of a gay porn star, a job he loathes. He isn't a star. He's a prisoner and his warden is the man who saved him from the cold Vancouver streets.
Justin has been Liam's next-door neighbor for two years and has had a crush on him for just as long. Oblivious to Liam's porn career, he 's content to mind his own business about Liam's turbulent relationship until the truth stumbles drunk into his apartment one night and he realizes something must be done.
When Liam's boyfriend turned producer decides rent boys make more money than porn stars Liam's nightmare takes a horrible turn. Justin must find a way to rescue him before it's too late.
He hated Tuesdays. Hated them beyond mere loathing, but he didn’t have a word for what came after loathing. Despised seemed far too civilized.
Liam stood in the bedroom with his back to the mirrored closet doors so he wouldn’t have to look at himself and ignored the brush of heavy terrycloth against his skin. That robe represented everything he hated about his life. His stomach churned with resentment that made it tempting to lock himself in the bathroom. Too bad that wouldn’t do any good.
He heard the dreaded knock at the front door on the far side of the apartment and the knot in his stomach pulled tight. There had been a time when that sound had made him want to hurl chunks. He supposed the lack of terror was an improvement of sorts.
“You ready, Babe?” Cord called from the living room.
“Yeah,” he called back, “why the hell not,” he muttered to himself.
He padded out of the room struggling to feel something besides annoyance as Cord opened the front door to welcome the man he’d be sharing a bed with for the next eight hours. He was compact and bulky with short-cropped bottle-blonde hair, and a tan he obviously hadn’t gotten from the Vancouver sun.
Liam flopped into a chair near the kitchen and pretended to be engrossed in one of Cord’s trade magazines. He saw no reason to acknowledge the rented cock of the day until absolutely necessary. Instead, he flipped pages while Cord talked about positions and emotion in a lecture he didn’t need to hear. He’d been doing this twice a week every week for years. He knew the routine. It didn't matter that a hundred shoots a year wasn't the industry standard. It was Cord's standard.
He ignored Bulky Blonde as the actor stripped out of his clothes to give Cord a look at what he had to work with that afternoon. There was nothing new on that body. They all looked the same: tan, toned, and tattooed. He didn’t need to see it. He’d get a very good look over the course of the day.
He stifled a sigh he knew would sound petulant and turned another page without seeing anything on it. Cord hated it when he pouted. He could be angry and resentful as long as he did what he was told. Pouting would just get him a pep talk full of lies. Those weren’t new either.
He saw Bulky Blonde step to him out of the corner of his eye and pasted on his best smile before looking up to meet his gaze. Being difficult and aloof with the rented cocks only dragged out the torment. When they were tense, they did things wrong and the more they got wrong the more time he had to spend with them. He stood up and tossed the magazine in the chair before shaking Bulky Blonde’s hand.
“I’ve seen a few of your videos,” Bulky Blonde told him. “I like your work.”
He couldn’t say the same and he wasn’t in the mood to lie.
Foxy Rating = Four stars
*ARC provided by the author in exchange for my honest review
I liked the premise of this book from the synopsis, as the porn industry holds a fascination for outsiders (like me!) that can give the fake impression that it is all glamour and glitz. This story thankfully illustrated the true underbelly of the scene and the effect it can have on some.
Liam is a young eighteen year old living with his older boyfriend Cord, who also happens to produce web porn with Liam holding the starring role. This has been Liam’s life for the last three years which has gradually worn the young man down to the depths of repulsion but he still continues for he cannot say no to Cord. He feels he owes Cord for taking him off the streets, in exchange for a roof over his head and love……
Justin is the guy from across the hall who he finds a kindred video games addict. It’s with this escapism that aids Liam to cope with the sessions with the ‘cookie cutters’ and all that those entail. Justin is not privy to what happens behind the door across the hall, until one night after a particularly bad scene, Liam downs a bottle of vodka and admits his sorry existence.
Nothing happens at that point, in fact the story is then filled with Justin’s developing relationship with Rich, a man he met on a blind date (ish). Rich has his own issues with his on and off boyfriend he has had since high school. Although I liked the relationship with Justin and Rich, I couldn’t really invest my feelings in it as I kind of hesitated a guess of the outcome at an early stage plus I knew something was waiting to come with Justin and Liam.
The turning point of the story comes after something happens to Liam at the hotel Justin works at. This, for me, was when the storyline picked up and gave the more in depth emotion and angst ridden flow that delivered a better understanding of the impact of Liam’s early life in the porn industry. It was gratifying to see the caring and devotion Justin gave to young Liam, even holding back his own feelings to help Liam start to recover from his past.
There was a lot of over descriptive narrative for areas that didn’t really add to the story, however I am now fully aware of skills required should I ever need to run a service function in a top hotel! As much as this was a great insight I would have preferred to have had more background to Liam and Justin.
I see this is book one in a series but I’m not sure if the story of Justin and Liam will carry on. From where the book ends (which was a good one) I feel more can be given to the story of Justin and Liam in the next stage of their relationship. I certainly hope so. Overall a good storyline and a four star read for me.
DP Denman writes character-driven gay romance about survivors. Her stories are real and intense but always resolve in the type of ending that makes readers want to start the book all over again. She is from the Pacific Northwest and bases all of her stories in Vancouver, British Columbia, a city that is dear to her heart.
In her spare time she is a dedicated gay rights activist fighting for those who have been marginalized and abused. To that end, 25% of the royalties from every book go to support LGBT charities.