Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-61922-886-3
Contemporary Romance, 2015
Meet Max. He’s a wet rag. When Not My Boyfriend opens, he’s at a colleague’s retirement party, which he makes into all about him. He is so jealous because that colleague is going back to someone who cares for him – unlike Max, who is destined to go home alone, unloved, no hugs. He has stopped doing that one-night thing six months ago, so now he’s just all dopey and miserable. And then, Max sees him.
His brown hair was cropped short but stuck out in all directions like he drove with the windows down. Full pink lips lifted higher on one side, caught in a permanent smirk. A five o’clock shadow dusted a jawline that could have been chiseled out of granite. If there weren’t any statues out there dedicated to this guy’s face, the world was in a dire need.
Before I can blink, Max and the chiseled jawline dude, whose name turns out to be Karson, are getting along like nostrils and poppers. The fact that Karson wears glasses drives Max into a stammering mess of drooling “I WANT IT INSIDE ME NOW!” dick-piggery. They head off to the men’s room where Max gets down on his knees and shows Karson the time of his love. Both expect this encounter to be a one-off special, but alas, they now can’t get the other person out of their mind.
Why is this so? Well, I don’t have a good answer other than Max must have been the inspiration for the folks that invented the vacuum cleaner. That’s the problem with Not My Boyfriend: it is a very superficial story, relying heavily on sex scenes to pad the pages. Max is the mopey one, Karson is the masc one comes across frequently on Grindr, and I’m sure the sex must be amazing. At least, I’m told by these characters that the sex is amazing. I can’t tell from the abundance of scenes such as this one:
“Ah!” Max cried out, head falling back onto the bed.
Karson slipped his finger in to the knuckle, then pulled out only to push in farther.
“More. Fuck – give me more.”
Karson added a second finger, probing and stretching. He searched for Max’s prostate, and when he found it, Max bucked, hips flying up from the bed.
“I’ve got you.” Karson placed a gentle hand to Max’s hip and coaxed him back down to the mattress. When he pressed Max’s prostate again, Karson kept a firm grip on Max’s hip, pinning him down.
The author writes erotic scenes with all the intensity of a drive-through staff taking orders. Three fingers. Shove it down, you want fries with that? Firm grip, pin down, extra mayo. And since this story relies on such scenes to pad the day, Not My Boyfriend feels a lot like an IKEA assembly manual interspersed occasionally with scenes taken from banal Logo TV shows like A-List: New York.