Rating: 3.5 stars
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A Key Party. This is where Shane finds himself after his roommate and secret object of his desire, Jake, drags him along. The rules for a key party are simple. The first men pick out a key to a room in the house. The leftover men draw their companion for the night. For Shane, who recently broke up with someone, it’s an opportunity to have no-strings-attached sex, but he can’t help but hope he’ll end up with the Jake, the man he’s loved from afar for years.
Turns out, Jake has another idea. The key party is a set-up. It has all been predetermined that Shane and Jake will end up in a room together. Jake has been in love with Shane for a long time as well, and he’s ready to take things to the next level. He thinks this party will be a way to ensnare his man so that Shane will already be hooked on him before he reveals his feelings.
When Jake arrives in the room and the nervous Shane has left the lights off, it gives him the perfect opportunity to stay anonymous and have his way with the man he loves. Shane’s nerves go by the wayside when he has a night he’ll never forget. By the end of the night, he isn’t certain, but he suspects Jake may be his partner. The morning after, however, Shane is more distant than ever and Jake has to figure out how to bring them together for good.
There are some things about this novella that are a little bit ridiculous. I didn’t mind the premise of the story. In fact, I think the key party made for a rather interesting setting. I was intrigued by the cast of characters in attendance, most especially by Jake’s sexy ex Ware and his fraught relationship with Stef. I felt this was where the story was at. I wanted to learn more about these men and their relationships with each other. And I would’ve loved to know more about the key parties. Why does this kind of thing work for these men, and what kind of an impact does it have on their relationships and friendships? Six very different but gorgeous men in a house for random sex. Sounds like a good story, right?
Instead, this novella is essentially the story of one night in a dark room, and a few days of aftermath. So, as has hopefully been made clear, there’s a whole lot of sex. And then some more sex. The sex is good, don’t get me wrong. Jake has a dominating presence in the bedroom and is the king of dirty talk. Shane is that beautiful man who seems shy and reserved but loses all control in the bedroom. It’s hot. There’s something so sexy about the guy who seems who seems so straight-laced and uptight letting all of that go and becoming someone else entirely.
The problem here is there isn’t much of a story, and the story that does exist is far-fetched. Sixty percent of the story occurs in the dark room at the key party as Shane has sex with an “anonymous” partner. I had a hard time buying into this idea. Yes, it was dark. But so dark you couldn’t see your partner when he was kissing your face? And never mind the fact that Jake could not keep his mouth shut. He had the dirty talk going in a pretty constant stream, yet Shane didn’t suspect until the very end that his partner could be his roommate?
Then there is the omnipresent inability to communicate, which leads to the major conflict in the novella. I get so frustrated by this plot device. How about you have a conversation? I like you, do you like me? Check box — yes, no maybe. Yes, kids passing notes in elementary school are better at communicating their feelings than the grown men in this story.
If you are looking for a little porn between two attractive men, you will find what you’re searching for with this story. It’s well-written and entertaining. It has a high sex to plot ratio. And it has a lot of good-looking men. But if you’re looking for more than that, I can’t recommend this novella to you. While the key party idea had a lot of promise, it just didn’t live up to it.