Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: STRAIGHT SHOOTER by @HeidiBelleau #AmReading

This macho jock has a crooked little secret.

College hockey player Austin Puett is in trouble. Unless he starts treating his flamboyantly gay roommate with respect, he’ll lose his room and his job at Rear Entrance Video. But Austin’s got a not-so-straight secret of his own: nothing turns him on more than insults implying he’s gay—even though he’s definitely not!—and all his old coping methods have stopped working.

Pure desperation drives him to rent a Mischievous Pictures porn flick about straight men tricked into servicing Puck, a male dominant. Instead of letting off steam, though, it just leaves him craving more, more, more, and suddenly, Austin finds himself at Mischievous Pictures Studios for an audition. After all, you can be Gay For Pay and still be straight . . . right?

But meeting Liam Williams, the real person behind Puck, confuses Austin even more. Liam really seems to like him as a person, and Austin likes him back. And while Gay For Pay’s okay, what does it make Austin if he still wants Liam when the cameras aren’t rolling?

I generally don’t like to read a series out of order, but something about this one interested me, so I broke my rule. Sounds like each book can stand on its own, so I think I caught on okay. of course now I have to go back and read the first two. :)

I have to be honest; I didn’t like the character of Austin at first. He comes across as a homophobe, and I can’t stomach too much of that. But I’m glad I stuck with him, because seeing him overcome his inner struggles was worth it. On top of roommate problems, work problems and problems on his college hockey team, Austin has a fetish that he lives in fear of anyone discovering. No wonder he comes across as an ass at first. Over the course of the novel, Austin comes to terms with all of these things, but I love how the author chose to do it.

A lot of books spend 90% of the book with the character whining, and then there is a quick, tidy wrap up in the last two chapters. Not so here. Belleau let Austin work his issues out in a way that felt natural. Things between him and Liam aren’t perfect, but somehow it works for them.

Speaking of Liam...I found his character fascinating. His porn personality, Puck, is a bit of a dominant asshole, and while Liam brings the dominance home with him, he is also this regular guy. I’m so happy that Austin was able to separate those two sides of him out. No one can have a relationship with a porn star unless they are 100% accepting of their work life. I kept waiting for Austin to pull some whiny crap about making Liam quit his business, but that never happened. If it had, the book could have easily gone cliché. Nice choice, Belleau!

I also loved the theme of this story. Humans are complex creatures, and we don’t always fit into cozy categories and definitions. Much of Austin’s problem revolves around him tormenting himself over whether he is gay or straight. The answer is neither. Once he accepts that, he golden. Loved it!

Overall, I give Straight Shooter...
Plot - 4 bookmarks
Character Development - 5 bookmarks
Moral Lesson - 5 bookmarks
Love Story - 5 bookmarks

Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - A younger Don Diamont (Liam), Michael Graziadei (Austin)

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