A guest review by Jenre
Sometimes the only way to make a living is to stop giving it away. The men of Hard for the Money know all about what a guy has to do to make a buck, and they all know that it’s impossible for a rent boy to find love. Right?
In Syd McGinley’s A Cheap Racket, Tim figures all he has going for him is his young body and his patience for his older clients. His roommate Cal has a trust fund, and is pretty sure men only want him for his money. Can a rent boy and a trust fund baby find love and trust as they battle a corrupt and abusive nursing home?
Chaos is an uneducated stripper who knows that life deals guys like him a rotten hand. When he meets RJ at a bachelor party, though, he has to re-evaluate his needs. Can he and RJ find common ground? Find out in Kiernan Kelly’s A Hard Man is Good to Find.
Finally, in Cops and Robby, by Carol Lynne, brothers and fellow cops Cole and Morgan have always had to hide their love. When they rescue rent boy Robby, though, they find someone they can share themselves with. Robby’s got problems of his own, though, problems that might endanger them all.
All of these men have been hard for the money, but can they face their difficulties and find a happy ending?
I picked up this anthology of stories about male prostitutes because I’d enjoyed the DSP Sindustry anthologies which had a similar theme and I wanted to read more. I found that, on the whole, I enjoyed these stories but they weren’t without their weaknesses.
A Cheap Racket by Syd McGinley told the story of Tim, a male prostitute who makes the majority of his money servicing over 60s gay men who live in retirement communities. Tim is saving up for his teeth doing and then a nice bank of money so that he can retire and live a good life on his earnings and he likes the older men that he caters for. When one of his clients pays him to visit a dying friend in a nursing home, Tim, his room mate Cal and Tim’s on-off lover Ari are disgusted by the poor standard of care in the nursing home and decide to do something to help the elderly people in the home.
If you are one of those readers who like their on-page sex to be between the two heroes only then this story isn’t for you as we get to see Tim have sex with a few of his clients. In fact, for a long time I wasn’t sure whether the other hero was going to be Cal or Ari. The strength in the story lies with the character of Tim who is quite unashamed of his job as a prostitute, seeing it as a quick way to earn decent money so he can retire early and reap the benefit. I liked the pragmatism of this. I also liked the development of the story from the opening scenes of Tim going about his day-to-day job as a prostitute into the rather more serious theme of elder abuse – all the while keeping a fairly light tone so that that I didn’t feel the story became too overwhelmingly bleak. The part that didn’t work so well was an awkwardly placed D/s sub-plot between Tim and Ari which could have been cut without any real harm to the story.
A Hard Man is Good to Find by Kiernan Kelly was another story which started off light and yet also contained the serious theme of spousal abuse. It follows stripper and prostitute Chaos who attends a job stripping for a bride-to-be. Whilst there he meets RJ the brother of the bride-to-be and they hit it off. When RJ is without a date for his sister’s wedding, he calls Chaos and asks for his services.
This was my favourite story out of the three. I liked RJ and sympathised with his antagonistic relationship with his soon to be brother in law. I also liked Chaos – especially his self-depreciating attitude and resignation over his job. The way that the two men struggle with their attraction to each other but are afraid to commit until they have worked out some of their problems was nicely done. My only niggle would be that the story came to rather a sudden end and we are never given answers as to why RJ’s sister wanted to marry a man who was so different to her.
The final story was Cops and Robby by Carol Lynne. It tells the story of brothers and cops, Cole and Morgan, who are lovers. Cole finds a man in the alleyway near his home who is naked and has been sexually assaulted. The man turns out to be a prostitute, Robby, and Cole and Morgan let him into their home to recover. It isn’t long before they are letting him into their bed and hearts as well.
The brocest in this story didn’t bother me, but I know it’s not going to appeal to everyone. In terms of tone it was typical Carol Lynne in that the three men fall in love quickly and all their problems are easily sorted. I found that I liked the characters, especially Robby whose cynical outlook on life hid quite a sensitive soul. Morgan was your typical brusque cop with a heart of gold and Cole was the soft-hearted peace-maker. The majority of the story involves Robby’s recovery and attempt to disengage himself from his pimp. It wasn’t complicated, but it was still an engaging read.
Overall, I enjoyed the stories in this anthology and would recommend it to those readers who like stories containing prostitutes and don’t mind reading brocest.