When Kyle participates in a school fundraising “slave” auction, he is kind of surprised when the person who buys his services is a shy, geeky, gay boy. Kyle figures Craig will want him to clean his room or some other chore, but it turns out that Craig is interested in much more. Craig has always been attracted to Kyle and uses this opportunity to make a move.
At first Kyle is shocked. He has never had any interest in guys and the kiss is totally unexpected. But as Craig confesses his feelings, Kyle is strangely flattered, so much so that he is willing to take things further between them and see how it goes. It doesn’t take long before Kyle finds himself trying out just about everything sexual he can with Craig, finding that even though his brain is confused, his body knows just what it wants. Kyle really likes Craig, and the two spend increasing amount of time together in sexual exploration. Eventually Kyle realizes that his feelings for Craig have grown into something real. Now he has to decide if he wants to make things more serious with Craig and perhaps actually become boyfriends. Kyle must also decide if he is ready to come out, and figure out how to deal with his teammates, friends, and parents to explain a change in himself even he does not fully understand.
So before we go to far, I will say that this is a set up that you just need to go with. The idea that this shy, geeky kid would purchase Kyle and then force himself on him with sexual advances requires a real suspension of disbelief. Craig comments at one point how he doesn’t engage the jocks and keeps his head down or things will be miserable for him, and we see him being picked on at school. So for him to be bold enough to publicly “buy” Kyle, then make an unwanted and unexpected sexual advance seemed very out of character. Not to mention, quite stupid. So like I said, go with it or this won’t work at all.
What I liked here is the way the story deals with Kyle as he comes to understand his own feelings and sexual identity. There is no big angst or self analysis. Kyle has always liked girls and never even thought about boys. But he is open minded with Craig and pretty much figures if his body likes it, he is not going to devote too much time to understanding why, or to trying to label things. In fact, the story never actually spells out exactly what is happening with Kyle — is he gay? is he bi? And it doesn’t really matter. What is important is that he is open to this relationship, despite the fact that he may get a hard time from his friends and family, and despite the fact that he doesn’t really fully understand his desires. I also liked the jock/geek element here. Yes, it is a romance cliche, but it is one I still enjoy. I love a good geeky hero and although generally Kyle is the dominant one in the bedroom, we get some nice moments where we see skinny, geeky Craig’s dominance over his hulking jock of a boyfriend.
Where this book didn’t work so well for me is with regard to the sex. There was too much. Yes, I am sure my regular readers would never expect me to say that. I am a big fan of the down and dirty scenes and usually more is better in my mind. But this book has so much sex that it takes over to the point that virtually nothing else happens. They guys are getting it on nonstop, over and over. I am not going to say porn without plot, but it is about as close as you can get. Maybe part of the problem was that I didn’t find most of the scenes to be super hot, but given the longer length of this book, after a while I was just exhausted from sex scene after sex scene with so little to tie the story together. Except for a few scenes at school, and a middle and ending conflict, barely anything else happens beyond sex.
With all the orgasms, we don’t get to spend almost any time seeing Craig and Kyle’s relationship outside the bedroom. In fact, while we get to know Kyle since we are in his POV, we barely get to know Craig at all. Who is this person who is bold enough to buy Kyle? What is his life like? What kind of a connection do the two have besides sex? We never really find out.
I also found the world outside their relationship to either be very vague or very superficial. We never see Craig’s mother once throughout the book. He is alone in the house every single time the guys are together. We learn nothing about her or about their relationship. In fact, basically this is the world without parents. Except for two scenes with Kyle’s mom and dad, we never see a single parent/child interaction and rarely even parents who are in the house. These teenagers come and go, sleep at each other’s homes, are having sex day and night, and there seems to be absolutely no adults around, despite the fact that they are in high school and all live at home. Where are all these parents, and can every single one of them be so oblivious and into their own lives that they pay no attention to their kids? I also found Kyle’s friends to be fairly one-dimensional as well (Craig apparently has no friends of his own. In fact, I can barely remember a scene where he even talks to anyone other than Kyle’s friends or family). Everyone Kyle hangs out with is either the bad, bullying jock, or so perfectly enlightened and open. Everyone he encounters seems to have a gay brother, cousin, friend. And every gay man Kyle meets seems to want to fuck him.
Which brings me to one last issue, which is this story has cheating. Kyle is a big jumble of hormones and self discovery and he hooks up with someone else (well, technically two someones). I actually wasn’t bothered by this, as the guys are not officially committed yet and it seemed quite realistic given Kyle’s age and newfound boy exploration. This event also leads to Kyle’s self reflection and realization of his feelings for Craig, which makes it an important moment. So like I said, fine by me, but throwing it out there. What made me crazy, however, is that no one uses condoms. Not Kyle and Craig, and not Kyle and the hook ups. It never even comes up. From the first minute they are having sex it’s without condoms and no one in the book seems to even consider they are good idea. This includes a guy who is gay, out, and older than Kyle and certainly should know better.
So I think there was potential here, and definitely some moments I enjoyed, particularly Kyle’s process of self discovery. But the story is so weighed down by never ending sex scenes that even in a long book, there is just too little time for anything else to really be fully developed.