Pricks and Pragmatism - J.L. Merrow 3 stars. Really could not get on board with the promiscuity of the first person narrator, Luke. I know he and Russell weren't actually together-together at that point, but it still left me highly uncomfortable because I think it was already apparent each had developed some feelings for the other at those points in the story. I also felt a little sorry for Luke and how he was this strange combination of cocky, good-looking swagger and insecurity/low self-worth. Russell was a sweet geek, and I could see his appeal where Luke felt like he could be himself around Russell.

However, I'm left wondering how long-term that appeal will sustain Luke when, even towards the end and after he'd acknowledged his feelings for Russell, Luke still cast a longing gaze upon the high roller's lifestyle he used to have with his various sugar daddies. I could see how the (not satisfying) sex with the other guys could show Luke how unappealing the promiscuous bed-hopping had become, but he still seemed shallow enough to want the Armani suits and Dior shoes that he knew Russell wouldn't be able to afford.

An interesting read with really good characterization, even if the narrator himself wasn't all that likable. I go back to this story sometimes to reread the ending, which was really sweet and made me smile. Overall, though, I'm glad this was a freebie.

Edit: I initially leaned toward 2.5-3, but on reflection I'll go with a 3 because I did like the unexpected sweetness of their flatmate interactions throughout the story. I wish there had been an epilogue or some concluding chapter, though, after the two got together at the end.