cam fan coverRating: 3.5 stars
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Length: Novel

 

Tyler is a sophomore in college and still figuring himself out. After growing up in a very conservative area, Tyler never let himself really think about the fact that he might be gay. But now that he is at college and is in a safe space to explore, he decides it’s time to confirm once and for all. Tyler decides to check out some camboys as a way to get a feel for whether watching a guy turns him on. From the first moments Tyler sees “Sebastian” on screen, Tyler definitely knows he is gay. He finds himself mesmerized by the gorgeous Sebastian, someone who pushes every button Tyler is just realizing he has. Tyler finds himself spending more and more time watching Sebastian’s shows, even going so far as to pay for a private session. And when he gets a chance to do a live scene on camera with Sebastian, it’s as if all Tyler’s fantasies have come true.

Justin (aka Sebastian) works as a camboy to help pay his way through grad school. He is used to his fans being enthusiastic, but Tyler’s sweet innocence combined with his intense sexual desire is just a special combination. Justin finds himself thinking about Tyler, even after the shows are done, and takes a chance by inviting Tyler to join him for a live scene. The chemistry between the men is amazing and they can barely keep their hands off each other. As they continue to get together, both for hook ups and filmed shows, Tyler and Justin are each finding more than just sexual attraction between them, but are both afraid to ask for more. Now, both men need to take a chance and be honest about what they truly want and they may just find a way for more together than they ever expected.

Cam Fan is the first book in Dani Lakely’s new University District series. I’ll admit, this one was a bit tough for me at the start, as it is written in third person, present tense. It is my least favorite point of view and I often struggle with feeling distant from the story, as if someone is narrating the action externally. Once I got settled into the book, this smoothed out somewhat, particularly since there is a lot of dialog, which made the POV less noticeable. The other issue early on is that I struggled to really feel connection between the characters. Lakely takes an interesting approach here by dividing the book into two parts; the first is told from Tyler’s viewpoint and the second from Justin’s POV. (I am wondering if this is because the story was originally written as two separate short stories, though that is just a guess.) On one hand, I think this works in the sense that it keeps Justin feeling a little larger than life, more of a fantasy, since he is unknown to Tyler, and also to us as readers. It also keeps Justin’s feelings for Tyler hidden until his portion of the narration, so while we can guess what is he is feeling, we don’t really know until the second part of the book. But those things that worked in favor of the separation in viewpoints also worked against it for me. Justin just felt like this fantasy man for the first half of the story, not a real person. Tyler is basically obsessed with him from the first minutes, this gorgeous, sexy cam boy that riles him and others up in exchange for big tips. Without getting Justin’s POV that he is into Tyler, it made Tyler feel somewhat like a desperate fan, someone clinging to the idea that he has this connection with a stranger who is actually just performing for his fans.

To be clear, I don’t say this to suggest there is anything wrong with Justin working as a camboy. It just that without knowing Justin’s side of things, it didn’t feel like a real connection between them, even after the first time they get together, as again, that is for the cameras. Finally, as we switch POVs and start to get Justin’s viewpoint, it becomes clear that he really likes Tyler, that he has been thinking about him as well, and that does help things along. However, we still never really see these guys getting to know each other outside of sex. At one point, Justin notes that they have been talking and spending time together chatting outside of the private cam scenes, but we never actually see that on page. In fact, we barely see them doing anything other than having sex. So it just worked against any sense of these guys as a couple who are falling in love.

All that said, the story did pick up speed for me as it continued and I was able to settle more into the relationship. There are some nice moments here between Justin and his super supportive mom, as well as between Tyler and his roommates. This is also a very sex positive story and one with no shame for Justin or for Tyler’s roommate, who also does cam work. And there is a nice sense of exploration as Tyler comes into his own and discovers what he likes and accepts his interest in men. I particularly liked that while Tyler is a virgin and has zero experience, he is not timid or shy when it comes down to it and he embraces his sexual side. It should be pretty clear, but this is a super sex heavy story, so be prepared for much of the book to focus on Tyler and Justin getting up to all sorts of things together.

Overall, I think this is a nice, high-heat, new adult story. I wish we had more time to see the guys build their relationship outside of the bedroom, particularly early on, as it felt too much like Tyler was a desperate spectator, rather than developing something real with Justin. But as the POV shifted, it helped balance things out and overall I found this one entertaining.

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