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#BookReview Bender by Gene Gant #NewAdult #LGBTQIA #QueerFiction

Nineteen-year-old Mace Danner is a college freshman—and a male prostitute. He specializes as a submissive-for-hire to dominant clients. Mace has never experienced any erotic longings, but his profession satisfies much darker needs. He believes he deserves the abuse because he was responsible for the death of his brother. When ill-treatment at the hands of customers isn’t penance enough, Mace turns to the bottle, hoping to drink away the demons still plaguing him.

RA Dex Hammel doesn’t like the road he sees Mace going down, and he offers his help before it’s too late. There’s no denying the chemistry between the two young men, but a lingering lack of physical desire continues to confuse and upset Mace. He seems set on destroying himself, and Dex might not be able to save him.


Wow. What can I say about this book except that I loved it. This story was heart-breaking and yet in the end the light of hope shone through.

Mace is a freshman in collage who works as a prostitute, a profession he took up to punish himself after his brother dies accidentally. Mace blames himself for his brothers death and he uses the pain from the encounters with his sadist clients to assuage the guilt he feels about his brother's death. When that doesn't seem to work anymore he turns to alcohol to numb his mind.

At college, he is a loner and avoids social contact with other students. But Dex, one of the student resident assistants,  notices him and wants to help Mace from the slippery path he is taking. The question becomes, will Mace allow Dex in and accept the help on offer.

As I said I loved this story. I love the delicate and realistic way the author deals with different issues like rape, depression and even asexuality. I dare you to read this and not want to pull Mace in to a tight hug and chase his nightmares away if you could. I dare you not to shed a tear at his self-destruction and not cheer when he finally takes the slow steps to recovery.

I would've loved to see more development in the relationship between Mace and Dex. Although there isn't an explicit HEA, the happy-for-now ending also works well for their situation.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in new adult LGBTQIA fiction.

Reviewed by

Disclaimer: I volunteered to review this book.
Source: Netgalley

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