Jasper Reed knows a little bit about what it feels like to be Nathaniel Travers. No, Jasper and Nate don’t travel in the same social and economic circles—Nate’s uncle is a viscount, and Jasper…well, Jasper’s a whore and is the bastard son of a gin-whore mother, so, no, these two men couldn’t come from more vastly different life experiences. But Jasper knows what it feels like to be Nate because Jasper understands what it feels like to watch the person you love, love someone else. He also understands that there’s no greater pain in the world than loving someone you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, you will never have. Jasper knows this because he loves Nate the way Nate loves his dearest friend, Peter Edmonton, the man who’s set to marry Miss Catherine Harper, the woman Peter loves and very much wants to spend the rest of his life with.
How much does Jasper love Nate? Enough that Jasper could’ve quit selling his body well before the fifth year of their association, but the idea of retiring and never seeing Nate again was far too high a price to pay to bear considering it. It’s not as though Jasper and Nate could be seen together in London, after all. Nate has not been Jasper’s only client over the course of his decade at Madame Delacroix’ brothel, and it would certainly not do to sully Nate’s reputation to associate publicly with Jasper, nor would it do to put Nate on a fast track to the gallows should his sexual preferences ever be discovered. So allowing Nathaniel to continue to pay for his services is the only way Jasper is able to gain any amount of time with the one man who has, from the very start, done the one thing no one else ever has—treated him with kindness, with respect; treated him like a human being rather than a whore whose only value is measured by what he can do on his back, on his knees, or bent over in whatever position he’s being paid to assume.
For five years, Jasper has been the one Nate has turned to and trusted with the pain of his unrequited love for Peter. For five years, Jasper has been the one Nate has turned to and trusted with the secret of his sexual proclivities. For five years, Jasper has been Nate’s beck-and-call boy, but now, after five long and heartbreaking years of knowing that the only reason Nate keeps Jasper’s company is because Nate pays for the pleasure of having his physical needs satisfied, Jasper understands that it’s time to end the pretense of their friendship and start over new, to begin again somewhere that no one knows who he is or how he made his living.
“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” turns out to be less a cliché and more a canon for Nate Travers when Jasper tells him goodbye. Nate had spent years pining for a man he couldn’t have, or more so, pining for the idea of a man he couldn’t have, all the while being so utterly blind to what was right in front of him, just waiting to be claimed. It took five years to build their relationship, a mere moment to lose it, and then just a matter of weeks for Nate to finally wake up to the realization that he’d just let the best thing to ever happen to him slip away as if all they’d shared had never mattered.
Now the question is, is it too late for Nate to convince Jasper that missing him has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with a love he didn’t recognize until it was no longer within his reach? And how far will Nate go to prove it?
I’m tempted to huff just a little that it felt as though Nate stumbled upon his feelings for Jasper a bit too quickly, especially after he’d spent the past five years with Jasper, pining over Peter. But that’s most likely due to the fact that for the majority of the book, it felt as though Ava March was trying to break my heart—and was doing an excellent job of it. When Nathaniel finally comes to his senses, there was a heaping sense of what-took-you-so-long? with a small side of well-that-seemed-easy-enough. But maybe that’s the way love is when you finally recognize it and can put a name to it and then come to the realization that you must get out of your own way in order to claim it—you want it with a sense of urgency born in the shame and embarrassment of it having taken you so long to figure it all out.
Regardless, His Client is another tick in my success column for Ms. March. I am a fan of her writing style, her Regency era settings, her characters, and the love stories she spins around them.
Buy His Client HERE.