precious_boy by KZ Snow
Length: 142 pages
It was just an amateur porn video, like thousands of others on the Internet. Like hundreds Jonathan Wright had seen and hundreds more he'd ignored. He hadn't intended to watch it, but he gives in to his curiosity. When he sees the lithe, blond young man who's doing naughty things with a bearish, older man, he's seduced… and feels like a pervert afterward. The youth in the video seems a little too young, despite the fact he runs his own escort service. Worse yet, Jon gets the nagging feeling he's seen "Justin Time," aka precious_boy, before.
When Jon takes a chance and meets Justin in a Chicago hotel room, Jon's past, present, and possibly his future begin to converge in alarming and confusing ways. There's no escaping the resulting dilemma: Jon must decide just how involved he wants to get with a sweet kid whose life has turned sour… a decision made more complex by a surprising connection to a lover from Jon's past.
A sweet, kind of cute, story that was enjoyable but didn't leave a lasting impression.
The story/plot isn't bad and has several strong points, the majority of which centers around Ethan and his strengths. He's in a bad situation and while he hasn't made the best choices, he's also strong enough to recognize that and, with a little help, do what is needed to change. The coming together of these two men is sweet and enjoyable, although I felt it was a little forced sometimes.
I wasn't enthralled with the characters and found the leading male especially lacking. While the plot covers some pretty heavy topics, nothing feels like it's developed deep enough to really appreciate the struggle of the characters. Jon may be representing a realistic character, but as the reader, I didn't like him. He wasn't bad or hateable, but he wasn't someone I actually cared about either. Readers who don't mind Jon and his issues probably will enjoy this story more.
I founded the majority of the characters likeable and that they added nice flairs to the story. However, when Jon sleeps with Ethan's father when he knows he feels attracted to Ethan (and knows Ethan's father is lame), I found my dislike of Jon growing. He really isn't that bad of a guy, and maybe my obsessive reading of true love tales has tainted me, but I found the action unsavory. Jon of course grows and matures over the course of the story into a man who is worthy of Ethan, but I still found it difficult to like him.