I went into this expecting something completely different. There’s a full rundown of my blurb opinion in the vlog but the impression it gives is that Rasaun likes to hit up a guy, get what he wants, and then leave. He behaves this way because of having his heart broken in freshman year of college. Then in adulthood, he meets a guy who changes things. ‘…gets a dose of his own medicine, Rasaun finally realises how much he’s hurt others.
- Boy scorned.
- Boy shuts himself off from love, treats others as sexual objects.
- Boy meets guy who treats him the same and realises what a bad human he’s been.
This is what I expected the story to be about. It, however, is not.
The editing is off. Words are missing in a few instances and the flow of the sentences is weirdly paced. The dialogue for the most part feels random. Like the sentences don’t lead to the return comments the way real-life conversations flow. The reaction followed the same pattern of not matching the dialogue. There are odd plot choices as well.
The story is told in first person but there is a scene where Rasaun’s friend calls him and the author goes into Mike’s head for this phone call. This interaction was less than a page long and the only time another POV is used. Why didn’t the author just stick to Rasaun’s POV and have him answer the phone? I think this happened once in the other book I read by this author and for the same amount of time. If they aren’t the main character… why? It broke up the flow.
Being an in-and-out guy is not a bad thing. If you’re into quick unattached hook-ups, that’s fine. The very essence of online sites is they are mostly hook-up sites unless they specify they aren’t. They are designed for meet and leaves. The idea that he just walks away after he’s finished is a bad thing because that was done to him, doesn’t scan. Cuddles would be nice, but the expectation of them from a hook-up, especially when you don’t have that connection, is odd. If you want that put it in your bio and hope for the best. But hook-ups, are about orgasms. Anything else is extras. Now if only one of you walked away with one that is something else entirely that I’m not touching in this review.
Honestly, from personal experience, once my clothes are on and I’m at the door it’s all awkward. Do I say bye? Do we hug? Do I let myself out? We are not emotionally connected so anything more isn’t necessary. If we are friends outside of orgasms, chances are they will initiate a hug because they know I’m an anxious, awkward, hot-mess🤣.
Point being, it should be expected that one party will just get up and leave. Even if you want more having an attitude about it seems unnecessary.
Like I said, a guy did this to him so Rasaun is now acting out and closed off to love. However, this guy’s nickname was ‘Fast Eddie’. The fact that this was his name meant he earned a reputation for doing what Rasaun is doing now, before Rasaun started college. Rasaun liked him and slept with him, and even knowing what type of guy he is got mad Eddie never spent time with him. Mad that he may have used him, there was one incident with burrowing a car but not sure if it was a recurring thing. Rasaun was upset Eddie just fucked him and left. Rasaun then says that he learned a lesson about not to expect things from people. Sigh. Like epic big sigh.
He went into this knowing what Eddie was. As the saying goes when people show you who they are believe them and he knew this before sleeping with him. Nickname and all Rasaun just thought he could change him because that was what Rasaun wanted. His twisted attitude on life stems from the fact he couldn’t force a man with a reputation for not wanting more than sex for treating him the same way he treated everybody. It wasn’t unique to Rasaun and did not read like a boy scorned. If they were an item and undercover dating and when Rasaun pressed for something more he admitted he had no intentions of telling anyone about their situation, now that would’ve been betrayal and grounds for hurt feelings. As it stands he went in expecting the guy to change and he didn’t. Lesson learned… you can’t force people to be what you want them to be. But apparently, the lesson is you shouldn’t have expectations of others.
As consenting adult males, especially single, a big bulk of sexual activity for some people amounts to spontaneous quickies and/or hookups; repetitive and one-offs. Both parties would not be knew to this. So This whole In and Out, hurt feelings idea didn’t make sense because Rasaun making a big deal out of it and his conquests doing the same was just awkward. There are more weird plot choices, however.
The book starts with him leaving a hook-up and the other guy being all ‘we ain’t going to cuddle’ and Rasaun, with attitude, basically says he got his so he’s out. Seeing as he knew Rasaun’s name he’d obviously experienced this with him before. So why is he mad and why is Rasaun also mad? Just get up and walk him to the door. That’s what I would’ve done. See you next time. It’s not that serious. Sex doesn’t have to be so complicated. It’s further over-dramatized by Rasaun literally running away down the steps of the building with this guy shouting his name.
Then there’s this fight with one of his supposed friends over the fact that he accepted an invitation to dinner with a deacon at the church who openly flirted with him. So much going on in that long sentence. The open flirting where other parishioners could see them. The argument when it wasn’t Rasaun’s fault. The fact they were arguing after church where other parishioners could see and hear so if the deacon wasn’t out, he sure was now. I honestly don’t know because some of the sentences on the friend, Justin’s, side were written weird. Couldn’t make them make sense no matter how many times I read them. It read like drama because the author could; like the opening scene with the stairs. The biggest oddity is that this is the morning church service. Rasaun was eating cereal after that phone call in Mike’s POV. He got there on time. Mike himself still had to park his car and Rasaun and the other friend, not Justin, went in to find seats. So how is he going home, to shower, and then immediately to dinner? What happened to the middle of the day?
After taking him to dinner the deacon doesn’t want to fuck him but wants to be fucked. Rasaun says this isn’t going to work and storms out the room leaving him there naked on the bed I think. So you ain’t gonna talk and be ‘you know I’m not really into you like that and we probably should’ve talked about this over dinner’? If it isn’t going to work fine. He rented a room he probably has someone in his phone to call as backup. How is an adult male just going to walk out the door, call his friend Mike and be angry? So angry he says ‘he hates those motherfuckers’ directed at masculine bottoms. I had a massive negative reaction to this entire scene. Apparently, the only way someone can be a bottom is if they are feminine. It’s such a turn off you ‘hate them’. The judgemental nature of this triggered me so hard.
For clarity, there is nothing wrong with having a preference. There is something wrong with attaching negative emotions and connotations to things that live outside of your preferences. If a masculine bottom wasn’t his preference… fine. But storming out like some teen on a tantrum and not just saying ‘this isn’t going to work’ was another addition to the drama just because one could and continued my dislike for Rasaun. Just like the odd plot choice of having him say ‘my name is Rasaun’ when the chapter title said it and the character did when he was shouting at him in that opening scene.
When he does this oddly placed address to the readers it reads, rather smugly, of how he has a nice job and his MA, and so on. Then on top of that, later on he tells us how he hates his siblings because his brothers are incarcerated and his sisters all have babies for different fathers. Obviously, since he has an education, money, and a good job this makes him better than them🙄. He even says they think he’s a snob but ‘whatever’. Further on into the book after saying ‘why wouldn’t anyone want to get to know me’ he qualifies that with ‘I’m not trying to be arrogant’. Yes… Yes you are. If that’s the way he responds to someone being an ‘In and Out’ guy with him, when ‘Fast Eddie’ also treated him this way he likely thought the same. That he was special enough to be wanted so why didn’t Eddie desire him. All of this really devalues the broken or scorned man theory the blurb alludes to and makes him seem like just a bad, and arrogant, kind of guy.
There was an incident with two front desk agents that screamed let’s just throw more drama at people but I don’t have to talk about why that derailed the story as well. Just know, everything so far doesn’t push the narrative towards what the blurb suggests will be in here and it takes up a massive chunk of this very short story.
The inability to side with Rasaun furthers more when you think about how he hooks up with Alex. Alex says ‘he wants some of that ass’. He made it clear he just wanted Rasaun’s body. And his reaction to this was ‘Why don’t you want me’ after the hook-up 😑.
The sex scene insinuated it should read as, I am assuming, rape fantasy. It just felt awkward. Specifically when the other guy says he’s going to cum, and Rasaun says ‘no don’t cum in me’ and proceeds to tighten his legs around him to ensure it happened. If he had said it, pretended he meant it and Alex proceeded to do it anyway, that would’ve kept in character of some sort of aggressive, dominating role play. But even still, this is a serious type of role play. This is something you’d have to consent to first. Not everyone is into it and the transition into it was awkward. The only thing we have to sell it is Rasaun saying he shouldn’t like it, but he does. The weight of him saying no but still wanting it and the really awkward things the other guy, Alex, says to him during it all, made it uncomfortable. Not in a triggering way, but a this is weird kind of way.
After a few more times of this ‘rough’ play, Rasaun gets what he wants.
As you can tell from all this, his heart wasn’t epically broken. A whole lot of stuff, mostly arguments and forced drama to make the book exciting, happens. Then when he meets the guy he doesn’t ‘realize(s) how much he has hurt people’, he reacts with “why wouldn’t he want to get to know me?” instead.
I said, in the beginning, I came into this expecting a man who had a traumatizing breakup and was closed off to love. Being an in-and-out guy doesn’t have to be closed off to it. It could just genuinely be someone who doesn’t want a relationship. The connection to it being bad was sketchy but it had to work because Rasaun is supposed to be treating people badly. The other thing I was expecting is that when he meets Alex, Rasaun would self-reflect on how ‘bad’ of a human he has been. None of this, especially the realising he’s been a ‘bad’ person stuff, materialises. He’s basically a guy who wants what he wants, when he wants. Doesn’t accept why he can’t get it, first with Eddie and second with the final guy which he ultimately does get, unfortunately.
This is a short story and it spent a lot of time doing things that didn’t move the plot. Most of these things did not make me like Rasaun enough to care he got the guy in the end. In a short story, you only have enough page time to sell what you promise readers and, for me, this book was all over the place and nothing really delved into what the blurb promised. It’s the reason I bought the book so the story not being about that was a big source of frustration, especially with the editing issues and Rasaun being unlikeable.
Maybe there are people out there that live for drama and forward-moving plots, consistency, clear direction, and flow, don’t matter to them. But whether the book is trashy, hardcore, a guilty pleasure, erotica, thought-provoking, fantasy, or suspense, the blurb should match the story. More importantly for a short story, and even a novelette, all the extras need to go away because there isn’t enough page time to sell the readers on anything other than what’s in the blurb. This book, unfortunately, didn’t deliver and was a miss for me.