Publish Date: April 7th
How I got this book: NetGalley
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?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
I was really looking forward to this book, it had hockey and a porn theme, what more could a girl want? However, this book started really slow for me, and never really seemed to pick up.
Austin is struggling to define his sexuality. Between playing hockey and living with gay couples, Austin is bombarded with extremes from both sides of the spectrum. When he takes home a few gay videos in hopes that it’ll help him figure out what he wants once and for all, he’s surprise at how attracted he is to a dominant, Puck.
Liam likes his work as Puck, but meeting Austin is throwing him off his game. Austin is everything that Liam has wanted, but given the age difference and Austin’s confusion, Liam is determined not to push. But when both Austin and Liam can no longer deny what’s going on between them, will either one be able to step up and take their relationship to the next level.
I really struggled to get into this book. I thought it was slow in the beginning, especially since we didn’t even get the chance to meet Liam until almost a third of the way into the book. Austin’s struggle with defining himself was a key factor in the entire book, but I would have liked to see Liam get involved a little bit sooner than he did.
I thought Austin’s involvement with his college hockey team was one of the best aspects of this story, along with his relationship with his roommates. I liked the way the brash, rude, and misogynistic players contrasted with Austin’s roommates who were all content within their own (sometimes kinky) skin. It added another dimension to Austin’s struggle with figuring out his place in the world, and I liked the way he was able to lean on his roommates, and stand up to his teammates. Those two aspects were probably my favorite of the whole book.
While I really wanted to love the romance between Austin and Liam, I just struggled getting into it. Because Austin struggled to define himself, he came across as a bigot and a jerk more often than not. Once he finally got to the point where he felt okay asking for what he wanted, I lost most of my interest in his as a character. And while I started off really liking Liam, there was one scene where his character made a decision that annoyed me. Like with Austin, once it happened, I was over Liam and his attitude, and at that point didn’t really seem to care one way or the other for either of them.
All in all, while Belleau is a wonderful writer, and her plot always seem so interesting, I found myself having a hard time getting into this book. I wanted to love Austin and Liam and cheer them on as they discovered their place together, but unfortunately I just couldn’t connect with either of them.
I give Straight Shooter a C-