Title: Changeling (Middle Hill: Book One)
Author: Barbara Geiger
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 326 Pages
Rating: 2 Stars
Blurb: Matt sells sex because he has to take care of his little brother, Sam. While it sucks, it’s not that much different from the abuse he endured when he was a teenager. He’s exhausting himself trying to keep them together and Sam out of the jaws of the foster care system. When he “meets” Kevin, things start looking up a little. Kevin’s not the first john to give Matt the maybe this could work outside of work vibe, but Matt is surprisingly hopeful, for once.
On the other hand, it’s really not a good time for Matt to be meeting someone. He has a new “job” exchanging his services for Sam’s tuition at a fancy boarding school. People who treat him badly either end up murdered or disappear. And when it comes down to it, Kevin’s just a little too perfect. He’s rich, generous, and an all-round-blowjob-genie-in-a-bottle. Something’s got to be wrong with the guy.
As it turns out, Kevin’s a prince of the fae. And Matt might be Kevin’s king. From there, the questions start piling up. Why is a rich man taking a bus on a snowy December night? Why does Kevin disappear at the same bus stop where a man who had been bothering Matt is found murdered? And most importantly, why does Kevin keep acting like it’s Matt who will leave, when it’s Matt who’s the broken one?
Review: Changeling: Middle Hill 1 is the first book I’ve read by Barbara Geiger. It follows Matt, an eighteen year old, who has to resort to hustling in order to support his eleven year old brother. We meet him on a bus and right from the start, we can tell the young man has lived a hard life.
Kevin is the other main character in this novel. Matt meets him on a bus ride back from a music competition his brother had competed in. While Matt always views men as income sources, something about Kevin draws him in. There’s another man on the bus who propositions Matt, but Kevin steps in, preventing the other guy from using Matt. When they stop at a truck stop diner, the man who propositioned Matt is killed in the bathroom, and the story takes off from there.
This was a difficult read for me. Formatting was an issue—there were no chapters in the entirety of the book, so its 326 pages streamed as one long story without a break, which made it difficult for me to follow the storyline since there were no natural stop-and-go points.
There was a paranormal element to this story as well. There are hints to it early on, such as when the bus leaves the truck stop, they are followed by a train of cop cars and Matt knows they are following because they are after him, connecting him in some way to the murder of the man in the bathroom. The Fae element carried throughout, but wasn’t fully explained or developed for me to understand the purpose of its inclusion. This story could have worked just as well as a contemporary romance in which an attractive man finds a rent boy attractive and wants to save him from his horrible lifestyle.
There were flashbacks to earlier suffering Matt had endured from his previous caretaker, as well as some rough play in the book, although there were times when Matt seemed to want what he termed impact play, while at other times he seemed afraid and found it dirty.
His younger brother, Sam, is far more mature than a normal eleven year old boy would be, which makes sense as we learn more about him, but then there are times when he’s just a normal, immature kid as well.
All in all, this story just didn’t do it for me, and I’ll admit the formatting issue had a lot to do with it. It was very hard to read a book that didn’t have the normal structure of chapter breaks to give the storyline some ebb and flow.
You can buy Changeling (Middle Hill: Book One) here: