DownpaymentLGTitle: Downpayment
Author: A.J. Mars
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15th 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Mike Barrow and his friends are among many boys in Manchester who think the city will be their chance to improve themselves. But for now Mike is living in a damp flat with his friend Callum, and they’re both making ends meet by working the streets. When Mike meets Chris Wildsmith, a late-twenties entrepreneur, he thinks he’s hooked a job that will pay his rent for several weeks—a windfall already.

But his connection with Chris quickly goes beyond what’s normal between rent boy and client. Mike meets Chris’s friends, goes to Chris’s parties with him as his “boyfriend,” and finds himself swept up in a world he’s never known. He’s sure it’s all going to go horribly wrong, and when Chris’s work colleague figures them out and becomes violent, he’s almost proven right. But Mike isn’t the only one who has confused professionalism with something else. The breakup that follows gives Mike the impetus he needs to relaunch himself as somebody else, a man who will hopefully be someone Chris very much wants to be with.

I’m afraid this story did not work for me at all. I kept thinking throughout the whole thing that this was an English M/M version of Pretty Woman – without the entertainment value. You don’t believe me?

Mike, our heart of gold whore, is forced to go trolling after his roommate and best friend, Callum takes their rent money to party and buy drugs.

Chris meets Mike and hires him for the night, but it goes so well Chris ends up hiring Mike for the week. The following day Chris gives Mike a credit card to go shopping and outfit himself, particularly for a special dinner. Mike is unable to buy anything because the clerks are mean to him.

big mistake

Mike returns to their apartment, and Ben, the (Valet? Butler? Not really sure – but all around fairy godfather) arranges for a suit rental for the special dinner. A dinner where Mike charms the attendees quite handily.

slippery little suckers

Seriously, it keeps going. There’s even an evil “Stuckey-esque” co-worker who approaches Mike and treats him like…a whore. You get the idea.

There are differences here and there, but the similarities continuously stuck out like sore thumbs to me. Added to the somewhat clunky writing style, weird tense changes, the odd POV changes and weirdly done not-so-journal-more-memories entries…it simply didn’t work for me.

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Galley copy of provided by in exchange of an honest review.

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