Title: The Cajun’s Pet (New Orleans Rent Boys 1)
Author: Jana Downs
Cover Artist: Lee Tiffin
Publisher: Silver Publishing
Buy Link: n/a
Genre: contemporary romance
Length: novella (146 pages/28482 words)
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Larissa
Review Summary: a story with a promising blurb and a good start, but soon fell short with flat characters and a rushed ending.
Gideon is a New Orleanian prostitute. Evan, the Cajun King, is magnetic, dominant, and attractive, impossible to resist. The Cajun’s embrace is tempting, but Gideon needs to conquer his feelings of inadequacy to find something lasting with his dream man.
Gideon went down to the Big Easy to escape his old life; unfortunately, things got worse. He’s homeless and alone in an unfamiliar city until a group of rent boys called the French Quarter Brats take him in. Gideon learns to use his body to survive. However, eager tourists and the occasional lonely local get boring and Gideon begins to yearn for more.
When Gideon meets the Cajun King, Evan St. Germaine, he’s struck by the man’s dominant personality and rugged good looks. He becomes obsessed with becoming the Cajun’s pet rent boy.
But Evan isn’t an everyday john and he demands more for his cash than Gideon’s body and his willing submission. Evan demands Gideon’s heart.
Alright, when I read the blurb I didn’t expect a story a-la Pretty Woman, but a story more along the lines of down and dirty, BDSM-light, degradation and the underbelly of New Orleans and to an extend The Cajun’s Pet delivers on that. While there was no leather or whips, the story didn’t quite have the oomph.
The main focus of this story is Gideon, a young man who is down on his luck in New Orleans. He moved there to get away from an abusive relationship and he’s too proud to ask his family for help (they haven’t shunned him for being gay or anything, just didn’t approve of his relationship). Throughout the story the reader gets bits and pieces of information on him to form a view of him.
When out of money, he turns to prostitution. How this came about, the reader never quite learns. From what we can decipher, one day he was out of money with everything sold that could be sold and the next day he was turning tricks with the Quarter Brats – a group of young men in similar situations. Personally I would have liked to have known a little bit more about that, but too bad.
The story starts out with Gideon going about his daily business. He’s reluctant to actively seek ‘Johns’ but is forced to when he needs to eat or pay rent on a shared apartment with the other Brats. One thing had me wondering though. In the beginning of the story a friend and fellow prostitute offers Gideon a chance for a three-way that is rewarded by a lot of cash, yet Gideon refuses:
“I thought you’d want to know, I’ve got a job tonight. Dude booked it off my website. Wants a three-way with another Brat. You said you needed money.”
Gideon sighed and his stomach gave a dispassionate twist. “Pass,” he said.
Ter frowned. “Come on, Gideon. When is the last time you ate? Tuesday? You’re too picky about your tricks, man. It’s good money. Four hundred bucks for two hours. I’ll split it with you fifty-fifty.”
“I’ll pick up a john tonight, Ter. I’m just not in the mood for a three-way,” Gideon hedged.
If Gideon doesn’t like turning tricks, it seems he’d rather take one client and be done with it for a while then several cheap johns, but maybe that’s just me.
It all changes when Gideon sees ‘the Cajun King’ – a self-made man who is hot and dominant – from a distance and instantly falls into attraction and fascination. Over the following weeks Gideon almost becomes obsessed with the Cajun until he walks up to him. He literally offers himself up and the Cajun, who is named Evan, instantly accepts.
Gideon spends the next few days as Evan’s pet and Evan in turn takes care of Gideon. It’s not surprising that they fall in love, though Evan doesn’t plan on keeping Gideon as just a pet. He has to prove himself and the question is: can Gideon do that?
Gideon comes across as one of those people who needs a keeper. It’s hard for him to stand on his own. He’s both fragile and needy in character, which explains his disastrous relationship that led him to come to New Orleans. One his own, things quickly turns sour and even as a prostitute Gideon makes mistakes.
It’s not clear from the story if Gideon actively tried to seek a job and during the time we meet him, he never talks about getting out of it even though he’s burned out. It made me wonder, because it’s clear Gideon hates being a prostitute more than the other Brats do, yet he doesn’t try to pick himself up or try and find opportunities that give him more money. Not like his friend Terry.
In this way Gideon is a character that is not well rounded. It’s more that he fits the story.
Unfortunately, Evan is a very flat character. I wouldn’t quite name him Captain Cardboard, but it was close. We view him through Gideon and see him only for the short few days Gideon spends with him. He comes across as a confident, dominant man who is self-assured and maybe a little arrogant. He is caring though as is evident of how he treats Gideon, even after Gideon makes several Big Mistakes. It would have been nice to see more of him and I would personally have liked to hear his motivation for picking Gideon up or even what he sees in Gideon.
The story itself is not bad. It focuses on the theme of someone who is down on his luck and forced to do things he doesn’t want to do. It featured heavily flawed characters who make mistakes. It even started out good, but the ending felt rushed and was underdone. The reader goes from an in-depth view into Gideon’s life and the days he spends with Evan to a rushed ending, quickly told by Gideon, and with several choices made by Gideon that made me want to smack him with a two-by-four. Hard.
So to conclude, fans of the author will probably like this story. It’s a story not to be taken too seriously, but more as a light, entertaining reading on a dreary Sunday afternoon.