Oh dear, it almost sounds as if I could be vulnerable to charges of sentimentalism in my writing. ;-) Naturally, as a storyteller, I do try to tug at your heartstrings. It’s part of the craft. But I hope I earn the sentiment by building three-dimensional characters. Certainly, by the end of the novel, empathy for this character is going to be necessary.
It’s funny how young men are rarely mentioned in the context of sex trafficking, yet “house boys” have always been common in the gay male world.
I guess I’d better not say any more about that right now lest I give too much of the storyline away. But it’s something to think about.