Title: Angel of 13th Street
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (59000 words)
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5, DIK
Summary: Dispite Noah’s noble intentions, Jeremy gets under his skin in a way that is impossible to ignore.
The Angel. That’s what the young hustlers call Noah Everett, the man who’ll help them get off the streets. Once a hustler himself, Noah doesn’t take his own good advice, which is, “Don’t let this ruin your life.” Haunted by the past and those he couldn’t save, Noah carefully keeps others at bay until his self-imposed loneliness is shattered by determined, ambitious, but homeless eighteen-year-old Jeremy Kincaid.
A ruthless pimp has targeted Jeremy, but if Noah will fight to get anonymous young men out of the life, he’ll fight harder to keep Jeremy from getting in, even if it means a return to old stomping grounds to make a deal with the devil. To save Jeremy, Noah risks more than just his body. He risks his soul as well, because Willie Carnell, pimp, was once Billy Cordell, Noah’s lover.
Jeremy is 18, but looks closer to 15 and the street thugs that work for the local pimp want to add his body to the stable of young male prostitutes. But Jeremy has different ideas. He wants to graduate high school, win a scholarship, and go to college. His struggles are vividly described in the first few paragraphs. It’s early winter and raining and Jeremy is hiding from Trent, Willie’s recruiter, who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Jeremy gives the gang the slip and makes it to his ‘home’, a flooded, cold warehouse basement. His thin, patched, second hand clothes are dirty and he needs to wash them before school the next day. He takes the last of his carefully hoarded money and makes his way to a laundromat called Tub of Suds. It is close to a busy bar and grill and Jeremy is fairly certain his enemies won’t attempt a capture there.
Noah owns the 12th Street Bar and Grill, misnamed because it sits on 13th street. Noah has a mission in life, to pass forward a kindness done to him 12 years ago, to persuade these messed up male prostitutes that selling their bodies is not all there is to life. Some he persuades to return home and some he helps get a job and return to school. But if the kid doesn’t want the help, Noah can do nothing to force the issue. Noah understands life on the street only too well: 12 years ago he was a young male prostitute, selling his body for a night or a few hours but he escaped that life and has the scars to prove it.
Noah also owns the Tub of Suds right next door to the bar. He once glimpsed Jeremy doing his laundry and has been on the watch for the kid ever since. Tonight is his and Jeremy’s lucky night. Noah befriends the wary Jeremy, offering a dry, warm apartment above the laundry in exchange for help with that same laundry. Jeremy immediately assumes the worst, that Noah is looking for sex. But Noah only wants to give the teenager a chance to make it off the streets.
Eden Winters weaves a tale that is heartbreaking, humbling, and exciting. She takes a homeless teenager and an ex-prostitute and writes a story that is spellbinding. Noah and Jeremy are attracted to each other, but there’s 12 years difference in their ages. Noah has physical and emotional scars that he wants no one to see, or let no one close enough to care about. Jeremy is just rolling with life’s punches, evading the street gang, and trying to make a better life for himself.
You know, I look at sex as something that happens inside the safe bounds of love and respect for each other. I know that there is prostitution, both male and female, but I’ve never thought of it in the terms that Eden writes about. She lays open the stinking, rotten underbelly of it, and it makes me sick to think that young men have to sell their bodies just to survive. And makes me even more grateful that I live in rural Texas.
The story has it’s twists and turns in dramatic ways, but nothing over the top. It is all very believable. The ending is fast paced and quite unexpected. I would find myself wishing I could read faster, then dreading the next page because the gang was still waiting to find Jeremy alone. Would they capture Jeremy and ruin all his dreams? Would they try to inflict harm on our Angel?
Read the story, it is well worth the 6 bucks Torquere Press is charging for it. And you’ll need a box of tissues too.
My rating!! DIK