I really wanted to like this one more than I did given my love for rentboys and tattoos. ;) I'm still trying to decide whether or not it was 'meh' or 'cute'. It's probably both to be honest. It wasn't really what I was hoping for when I bought it, but it wasn't bad. I didn't realize it was a novella when I bought it. So, it was a little short for the cost I think. Ends @ 89%.
I don't really feel the need to rehash the plot in this review because the summary does a pretty good job of it already. I was hoping for a little more 'rentboy' in this. I know it says former, but somehow I thought we'd get a bit more of Jem's history and his relationship with Riley when they were kids. I would have loved to see him & 'Sasha' together. Possibly more with Nick during that time period too. It would have made for a great story. It was missing the angst and grittiness I was expecting, I think. I'm not sure.
Also, I didn't really connect with either character enough to care about them. I liked Jem enough, but Nick was really flat. I just finished reading this one and I don't remember a single thing about him. I can't tell you what he looked like, things he liked, or anything other than he smirked a lot and liked shibari. (Which is Japanese rope bondage for those unaware. A system of intricate knot work over the body. And while this might sound hot for those who like a little kink, it wasn't really delved into within the story. Another disappointment.)
This would have been a better story had it been longer with more fleshed out characters. There was far too much telling and not enough showing. And the villain was far too predictable for me.
I did like Pancake though. Or the story behind him anyway. ;) I'll let you discover that should you choose to read.
Overall, it wasn't a bad story really, just not what I was looking for or expecting. For me, this was a case of cover lust gone wrong, I guess.