Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
This is the third book in the Rear Entrance Video series and I’m happy to say that Heidi Belleau remains consistent. She always pushes the envelope when it comes to storytelling, but still manages to be entertaining and portray a sweet love story. In the last book, the main character was dealing with identity issues focused on cross-dressing. In this book, Austin, one of the roommates of the MCs of the previous two novels, is a jock hockey player who has an attitude problem. Austin has been giving his gay roommates a hard time for a good while now, especially Bobby, who is the most eccentric and flamboyant in the house. When another of his roommates threatens to kick Austin out if he can’t start treating people with respect, he’s forced to analyze why he acts the way he does.
In each of these novels, a prominent part is played by Rear Entrance Video, a gay porn shop staffed by Austin and his roommates. Austin hurls homophobic insults at his roommates because he’s secretly trying to hide what he sees as a perversion. He thinks he might be attracted to boys, but more than anything, he knows that he’s turned on by the Dom/sub game, Austin wanting to be in the shoes of the sub. When someone rents a movie featuring this exact scenario — a Dom, Puck, whose whole schtick is shaming “straight” men into servicing him — Austin’s fantasies go into overdrive.
While Austin’s working at Rear Entrance one day, Liam walks in. Liam’s a porn producer but is also Puck himself, and Austin becomes more confused than ever. He likes Liam, but he also wants Puck to use him as well. They begin a tentative friendship, which seems to be more of a protective big brother role on Liam’s part more than anything. But Austin can’t stop thinking about having Puck do the things to him that he does in the video. While he’s also trying to manage a hockey team, he’s scheming ways he can run into Liam and get him closer to making his fantasies come true.
Austin starts out as a really unlikeable character, and I kind of hate it when homophobic young men are such caricatures — vulgar, mean, defensive guys who don’t want a man to exhibit any “girly” behaviors. Quickly, though, he becomes much more layered. We see Austin as struggling with his sexuality and especially with this desire of his to be controlled and used. Liam is a really great character because he has this protective side but can also turn into the most demanding of Doms. I liked the two of them together, and was a little sad that it took them so long to get around to attempting any sort of relationship.
A good portion of the middle half is Austin exploring these feelings he has, which of course is a journey he needs to make, but it involves extensively explanation of the porn scenes he’s watching and his reaction to them, which I found a little monotonous. To me, it felt like dream sex or fantasy sex, which I also don’t enjoy. I want to see the two main characters interact, even if it’s just as friends and, while I see that this exposition was necessary for setting up the rest of the story, it felt a little long.
Overall, though, I think Heidi Belleau has a distinct yet entertaining writing style and, if you’re not into traditional romances and enjoy BDSM with your reading, this book could be a good fit for you. Belleau is not overly sentimental. In fact, some people could be put off by her more brash, in-your-face style of writing. I enjoy it. And ultimately there is a really beautiful love story here between two great characters.