Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-389-8
Contemporary Romance, 2016
Here’s the thing: letting me know that the whole “insta-love” thing is silly, only to then have the main characters do an “insta-love” anyway – that doesn’t absolve the sin or make me want to put the machine gun away. Stupid is still stupid, and admitting that one is stupid before being stupid will not change the fact that it is still stupid. Wait, did I get that right? Anyway, The Heart as He Hears It has a lovely title, but it falls into the same trap as the works of all those female authors who think that a spectacular gay romance is the same as checking off the “Are you oppressed enough?” list and making sure that the main characters win the prize for being the most special snowflakes in the land.
Jon Buchanan is a porn star. Don’t worry, in his free time, he stands up for the oppressed, is as understanding as Confucius, is as witty as every Tumblr snowflake likes to imagine herself to be, and generally, any resemblance to a human being, much less your everyday gay porn actor, is coincidental. He has a mentor/best friend dude who is dying of cancer, because a cancer-stricken dying best friend is, like, the hottest accessory ever for any special gay snowflake to have. This bag of tumors has a grandson, Isaac, who was so abused by his father that Isaac’s concerned housekeeper calls him “angel”. Isaac is agoraphobic – I’m surprised the author manages to restrained herself from labelling him as autistic, the special snowflake trait, as well – and, like nearly all Tumblr social justice hee-haw users, a virgin. But he has a much greater chance of losing his virginity compared to those people. because he is hot and he and Jon have an insta-love connection, a high-speed broadband connection from pee-pee crown to poop chute.
Isaac, despite having internet connection, believes that sex is violent and people will never laugh or have fun while doing it… I suppose hanging out with all those humorless virgins finding issues with sex on Tumblr will do that to a person. But fortunately, Jon’s magic healing poop chute will show him the light. There has to be some plot other than magic snowflake finally sticking his finger and pee-pee into a real poop chute (no Grindr or payment necessary), so some ex of Jon and some other guys show up. I haven’t read the previous books by this author, so I have no clue who these people are or why I should even start to care. When one of them gets shot, I’m more concerned about the casualness of these guys having sex when Jon is an adult film actor.
Anyway, the characters here don’t seem like people as much as they as some kind of figureheads for whatever “noble” stuff the author feels like putting in – cancer, gay bashing, surviving abuse, et cetera – and portraying her characters’ “courage” in the most banal manner, often complete with stilted monologues to remind me that everything about this story isn’t just fiction – it’s really fake.