Male prostitute, Red, is given an assignment by his pimp and lover, Robbie, with a very unusual client. Red meets the stranger in a darkened house in London and, during their sessions, he learns more than he ever knew about lust, love and his own personal history. How will his curious and life-enhancing encounters with the stranger affect his relationship with Robbie and his clients, and can love ever be part of a hooker's life at all?
Anne gives an overview of the book:
The air felt heavy as if there was something weighing down on my shoulders that I couldn’t shake off. It might have been my own fear. I didn’t know. Odd how dark everything was, in spite of the torch I’d remembered to bring. It was shining at my feet. The narrow band of light only increased the sense of darkness. I could hear the sound of my breathing, though sometimes I fancied there was a faint hiss behind it, as if someone else might be in the room with me. Someone who was echoing the rhythm of my breath, pacing their pulse to mine. It made me shiver and I forced myself to regulate my breathing again.
I couldn’t remember why I agreed to any of this.
No. I did remember. It was what Robbie had wanted. And the money. That always helped. The chair beneath me pressed into the back of my legs and I shifted my position to try to get a little more comfortable. This assignment wasn’t turning out to be quite as straightforward as Robbie promised me it would. And he tended to tell me the truth. Which wasn’t bad for a pimp. In fact it was one of his great strengths. He was pretty stylish in bed as well, I had to say. He was so damn good at knowing what tricks broke me open, every time.
Whereas my great strength was doing whatever I was told to do.
Robbie had ordered me to dress sexy and tight—it had pissed me off to hear him as I always dressed sexy and tight. That was my job, wasn’t it? But I hadn’t let any of that show. I knew my trade, knew when to act pretty. He’d told me to come here, an empty house at the west of London. He’d said the door would be open but the lights would have been cut off. He’d been right, too. I had to admit I’d been spooked as I’d followed his instructions—using the torch he’d given me to find my way upstairs and into the first room on the right, where as he’d promised there was a chair in the middle to sit on. I even wondered whether some crazy guy might leap out at me with a knife, or worse, but I kept telling myself that some clients liked the weird stuff, and Robbie checked everything out. In the four years I’d been working for him, he’d looked after me and he’d never let me down. So I got on with the job and here I was.
Waiting for whatever was going to happen next.
It struck me that I had no idea how long I’d been waiting. Maybe the client wasn’t going to show? That happened sometimes. Oh well, I’d chalk it up to experience, ring Robbie when I got out into the street and see if he had anything else for me tonight.
With a small sigh, I began to reach down for the torch at my feet, and it was then that someone spoke ...
Anne Brooke has been writing for eighteen years and is the author of seven novels, numerous short stories and poems. She was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award in 2006, longlisted for the Betty Bolingbroke-Kent Novel Award in 2005, and shortlisted for the Royal...