Note: This ARC was provided by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
At twenty-one, Francis Murphy has never known what it's like to have a family or a home. At an early age, he learned that he had to do whatever it took to survive on his own. His being a prostitute may be looked down on by many, but it's his life and he doesn't take to charity too kindly. However, when push comes to shove, taking a pastry or two along with a cup of coffee at a church event is too difficult a temptation to turn down. It is at one such event where Francis meets Randy Wright, who may be the same age as him but whose life has been the polar opposite. The next time Randy sees Francis is after the latter has been attacked by a would-be customer. Randy's parents offer Francis a place to stay as he recuperates, and soon, Francis begins to wonder if he could possibly have a life beyond prostitution. The Wrights are open and warm, and have gone above and beyond, giving Francis something to do and promising to help him plan a better future. But will they still want to help when they learn of the developing feelings between Francis and Randy? After all, Randy is straight and as much as his parents have preached about how love is love, they may think differently when it's their one and only son who turns out to be not quite so straight.
Starting New was a story that had a great deal of potential and even with Randy and his parents being as religious as they were, it didn't feel as if ti was overly preachy. Francis was an interesting character. He was independent, a stubborn but resilient young man who is virtually homeless and who is forced to rely solely on the money he earns from the clients who pay him for sexual favors. He and Randy couldn't be more different, but there's a kinship of sorts that's there. Randy's fascination over Francis soon morphs into an attraction, but I did become frustrated with his back and forth, acknowledging that he saw Francis in a new light but believed those feelings were unacceptable. It's that very hesitation that he shares with his parents, although it's his mother's reaction and clear resistance to the idea of her son being bisexual or gay that's brought into the story more than his father's. It's easy to become irritated with they hypocrisy shown by Randy's parents, but if we're being honest here, it's too common an occurrence in real life to be denied. The relationship I found fascinating was the one Francis had with his regular client, Baxter. All in all, Starting New was a good read, although it did border on being too sweet and sappy at times. 3.5 stars. ♥
Date Read: 11 August 2016
Learn more about S.C. Wynne.