By His Bootstraps

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2 Stars

This was a short, steamy read. I wanted to enjoy it but couldn’t. The blurb lead me to believe this was going to be a short story about someone straight giving in to not-so-straight desires. It didn’t live up to that. It read more like an already gay boy continuously telling himself he’s not gay only because I the reader am supposed to believe he’s straight. There is nothing about Tyler that screams straight boy confused about lusting after his neighbour. It’s mostly gay boy embarrassed that he feels a certain way about his neighbour vibes.

The book starts with him moving into an apartment with only a pull-out couch to his name. His only link to straightness is his ex-girlfriend. That’s her only purpose, to hang his supposed straightness out there. His neighbour helps him with the couch as Tyler is too scrawny and weak to do it on his own. His description of this neighbour alone screams I’m gay, instead of ‘I notice you workout’. When he spies on him later that night there’s zero resistance. Just lusting at the older man from his bedroom window. Skip to the next day and he’s on a leash in public? Just 24hrs to leash.

The sex scenes were enjoyable but not enough to really sell me on the idea of a straight boy being tamed and realising he’s not only into BDSM but a submissive as well. He said yes too easy and only thought gay thoughts. I guess I came into this for the fantasy of converting a straight boy but it didn’t happen. There were a few typos as well. I try to ignore them in indie books because self-editing is a painful process and you can’t catch them all, but the book is so short they stand out and there were a few sentences that were confusing no matter how many times I reread them. Sometimes anatomy wise things seemed to not be where they should be when their bodies were touching as well.

The puppy references didn’t feel earned. The novel either needed to suspend the whole straight to gay Idea and go all in, or spend more time working on Tyler’s straightness and adding a slice of reluctance/resistance and even denial about his feelings for the neighbour to really sell the fantasy so when he puts him on a leash the first time I’m like yessss, instead of, this is more embarrassing and annoying than fantasy and skipping to the sex parts. I for real was hoping he’d be like no and kick him out. Make the neighbour work for it a bit especially since he’s supposed to be straight and shouldn’t be giving in so easy in the first place.

The overall story of a down and out college kid with nothing to his name being forced to discover his sexuality didn’t play up well. Which is a shame because that’s what I went into this expecting and what I got was a submissive being willingly submissive which is fine but would’ve definitely sold better if the whole straight, albeit nonexistent nature of Tyler didn’t try to creep in and this was just a hardcore gay fantasy. There wasn’t enough of that straightness developed in this book to deliver on the straight to gay first-time promise. 

Two stars because if you’re coming in for a steamy read only, this is that. And if you don’t care if the alpha has to work for it, (the blurb literally says he’ll stop at anything to get what he wants but he doesn’t even have to try. Tyler is all yeses), then this is definitely the story for you. If you want the whole straight to gay fantasy you might be let down.

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