Author: Cat Grant
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Buy Link: Doubtless (Irresistible Attraction)
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: Novella (53 pages)
Rating: 1.5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: An all too easy transition from frumpy, repressed ladies man to cleaned up, confident pursuer of all things male.
Blurb: On the surface, Steve Campbell seems to have it all: a beautiful home, a snazzy car, and a dream job as one of the country’s top 3-D optics researchers. But underneath, he’s restless and dissatisfied, tired of empty encounters with leggy lab assistants and endless evenings alone. A chance meeting with a handsome escort lifts Steve’s spirits and opens his eyes to his long-repressed attraction to men—and his love for his best friend and business partner, Connor Morrison. Connor might’ve loved Steve like that once, but now it’s too late for their happily ever after; Connor’s about to ask his boyfriend to marry him. Fortunately, it’s never too late to learn about yourself, and maybe Steve can find a happy ending on his own.
Review: You know that feeling…that one you get about a third of the way into a novel, that there is something that is not quite there…not quite the way you hoped a novel would track? Well I got that feeling fairly quickly into my reading of Doubtless by Cat Grant. A sinking sort of feeling that this story–this short story–was going to go the easy way out fairly quickly, and, unfortunately my suspicions were confirmed well before the final page.
Steve is that guy we have all met in a bar–with enough old one-liners to make you cringe but also with a desperate air about him that makes you want to give him a hug–well, maybe a firm handshake. He is, in actuality desperately in love with his co-worker. The very one who he introduced to his future husband–after, apparently said male stripper, gave Steve some–ahem–sugar as well. Confused yet?
Let me clarify. Steve is supposedly straight. Connor is gay. For Connor’s birthday, Steve hires him a male hooker–Wes. The same one he gives a blowjob to–I think prior to handing him off to Connor as a birthday present–ok–have to say it–ewww.
Less than a year later Wes and Connor are madly in love and about to get married. And that was the first time I knew this story was going to be a bad fairy tale in every sense of the word. Alright, I thought to myself. I can play along with that element–after all it’s not the real focus of the story. I was…wrong, in many ways.
As the story progresses, we learn of the many angst issues facing Steve and, of course, that he ends up hiring his own “escort” who finally sheds light on the truth we have all known since page 3–Steve is gay, well at least bi and in love with Connor.
I wish I could tell you that the few poignant moment: Steve confessing his love to Connor, Connor’s remarkably kind and compassionate response, and the ending–I wish I could say these elements all swept away the other less than palatable scenarios.
Ones like Steve pathetically paying top dollar for a male escort who never really cared for him and told him so upfront–yet Steve clung to the delusion that he could maybe make a go with him somehow. Steve complaining about the all-consuming busyness of work and his anger at Connor for seeming unfazed by it all.
Or, Steve driving sports cars, wearing off the rack suits and dropping $300 an hour on a male hooker/escort/fashion consultant/stylist. Dear me, I would have gone after Dylan, the escort–he was amazing!
This short story just did not work for me. I kept coming back and back to the same question, who cares? You see I felt that the author did not do her best to convince me I should care–that I should invest real emotion into an otherwise flat and uninspired story. This was old ground and it had not been well tilled in a long time.
For this reviewer Doubtless was just a slightly different take on an old story: man in closet denying he is in love with his best friend; elusive “kindhearted” hooker knows immediately what is wrong and delivers the big revelation to said man; the two friends spill their hearts, agree to be friends and said man is now insta-gay.
I do not know dear reader if you will see this one in the same way but what I do know is this–as always, you must decide for yourself.