Rating: 5 stars out of 5
This is told in the first person POV of Kyle, a 40-year-old construction worker and part-time student. This is meant to be a standard, realistic man meets man romance without cliches, except he falls in love a gay porn star, Lucas, better known to fans as Tommy. Kyle tells the story looking back on how they met, the way people tell something when others ask them at a dinner party, through the lens of entertainment and nostalgia that turns into first person flashbacks so the author can add in all the world-building details for the reader to picture. Their meet cute is almost ruined by a misunderstanding, but Lucas persists. Yet, the porn star issue throws Kyle for a loop and it doesn’t look like this thing is going to sprout wings.
With the 17 year age difference Kyle is worried that he’s at a different place in his life; he wants marriage, kids, pets, and a home that he’s built. This is Kyle’s POV, so the reader sees his journey to become more open minded, to overcome his doubts, learn to compromise better, and not to care so much about what other people think. Many times when I only have one point of view, I feel like I missed things or that I don’t know the other characters as well–not so here! These characters come alive and feel real. Kyle and Lucas suffer from the same insecurities many of us do. As Kyle and Lucas fall into a relationship, it’s in a bubble, so I was waiting for it to pop which the author acknowledges. This doesn’t feel cliched or full of tropes. It can be difficult to integrate two lives together with work, family, friends, schedules, belongings, hobbies, etc. This doesn’t have manufacturered crises, real life gives all of them plenty; much of the drama in our lives comes from family and friends and trying to navigate to find our own path.
Here’s the thing: porn is a job and actors are people. I have met plenty of people who chose porn as a career. I think this was mostly realistic, if romanticized and less jaded. I have gone to AEE (Adult Entertainment Expo) in Vegas, although I didn’t get to go to the AVN Award Show. At one point Kyle thinks he knows why Lucas does porn and thinks he can fix him. Thankfully he gets over himself, because he’s wrong. Lucas loves his career and he’s not ashamed of what he does for a living. The sex scenes between Kyle and Lucas are not just smoking hot, but intimate. Top, bottom, dominant, submissive, Daddy, vers–these are all just words but Lucas and Kyle make them real by roleplaying and having fun. That’s what trust is. The difference between the porn scenes and the real sex is very clear. The moment when Kyle is all in, is perfect: “I would love him like I’d learned to ride a bike—scared, but reckless, without pads or training wheels. If I crashed, my scars would tell our story.” I smiled so much, my face hurt. I don’t think I’ve read this author before, but I definitely will again. If you support choice and want a story where sex workers are positively depicted with heartwarming, real characters, give this a chance.
The cover art is by Cherith Vaughan and shows a romantic scene from one of their dates.
Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Pride Publishing