Title ~ No Straight Boys
Author ~ Cecil Wilde
Publisher ~ Liquid Silver Books
Published ~ 11th August 2014
Not dating straight boys is a pretty good strategy for long-term relationships if you're a gay man, but what happens when one particular straight boy turns out to be the man of your dreams?
Cute, funny, and sometimes borderline philosophical, No Straight Boys is about what happens when perfection isn't what you think it is, and love is best found via late-night text message.
"Listen it's not that you're not the cutest little puppy ever, and I'm not saying that you've not got a lot to give. But you're not ready to be out. And I'm not doing closet cases anymore. Especially closet cases who have a total of one tally mark in the homo column. Especially when that mark has my name against it."
So says Jace to his newish neighbour Ethan, as the book opens, having just given into temptation, and indulged in a bit of afternoon delight with the cutie from across the way! The thing is though that even though Jace is Ethan's first male on male sexual experience he actually doesn't class himself as straight as such, he muses that he's probably bisexual, but Jace is adamant. The sex was surprisingly good considering Ethan's gay virgin status but he's been burnt before when he's dated closet cases in the past... and he's not doing it again! Hoping for more but realising that Jace won't be moved on the subject, Ethan comes to the conclusion that he has to accept it if he wants to stay on good terms with his hot neighbour.
It turns out that Jace is due to go away for a month, on a book tour so Ethan says he'll keep an eye on his flat whilst he's away. They swap telephone numbers and begin to text each other; the messages become a sort of bridge into a friendship that creeps up on them over the month that they're apart.
Jace: "You don't have any other friends do you?"
Ethan: "Not really. Do you? "
Jace: "No....I'm not really a 'friends' type of person."
Ethan: "You've got me."
Jace: "Do I?"
Ethan: "You do, yeah."
The above section of texting is only one of their conversations and is actually a condensed version. In the book we get more 'internalizing' from both of them between each separate text, but you get the idea of the to-ing and fro-ing that occurs between them. The content of their conversations changing from just general joking and chit chat to more meaningful 'talks' via the keyboard, often taking place in the middle of the night or in one case, when Jace has had a bit too much to drink, resulting in him opening up a little more than even he expected to Ethan, who is still holding out hope that one day their budding friendship might turn to something more...until one night, just before he's due home, Jace informs him that he's met someone on the tour, a new young lover, Mike, who he's bringing home with him. Ethan's hopes are dashed but then again, things (and people) aren't always what they seem......
This is a pretty short read, only 35 pages or 642 locations on the kindle, so to reveal anymore would just defeat the object. Cecil Wilde has an easy style of writing so its a relaxed read and I enjoyed the text conversations between them, they were cute. It was the part that I think showed the personalities of the two MC's the best, but for some reason I couldn't quite get a handle on them as a potential couple. The one thing lacking for me was a good old dose of sexual tension, something that if I don't feel it between my MC's, takes me out of the game a fair bit and that's part of the reason I never fully felt the chemistry or the connection when they were actually in each other's company.
The other thing was to do with length. The whole of the story was so short, it made me feel that each stage of their relationship had to be compressed and narrowed down to telling more than showing in order to move the story from A to B; the section with Mike a good example, because what could have been a nice touch of angst to further drive the story along, was over in a flash, which was a shame because I think if the book had been longer, and certain situations more fleshed out, I would possibly have found the connection I was missing because the potential was definitely there. For instance instead of starting the story just after their first sexual encounter, I'd have loved to have seen the build up to that...watched the flirting that got them to that point...felt the attraction that finally tipped Jace over the top to get him to sleep with Ethan, who granted is a sweetie, even though he knew that for him it was a mistake to give into that moment of madness. I know that would have set it up far better for me, but again I'll put all my little niggles down to time and length constraints and my own "I'm a greedy reader, so I want more!" pouty moment...although I'm pretty certain I'm not alone in that. LOL.
So overall, personally speaking, it was an okay read, certainly not a bad one because it passed an hour pleasantly enough but I did come away feeling disappointed. I'd be really interested though to see what this author could do though with a longer, more in depth storyline and I'd certainly be happy to give another Cecil Wilde story a go. See what you guys think...
A Word from Cecil
How a Writing Exercise Turned Into a Book
I didn't start No Straight Boys with the intention of turning it into a fully fledged story. Rather, a friend of mine wrote a story where texting featured heavily, and I loved the effect and wanted to try it for myself. A week or so later, it was a finished novella. Somewhere along the line I'd gotten attached to the characters, and while they were talking about their strange, disconnected relationship, before I'd really decided what the details of it were, I knew I needed to give them a happy ending. Not without some challenges first, of course.
Around the same time, I'd also been having a few conversations: one about how introversion really works and how introverts can be perfectly socially competent people and very fond of others. Another, about discovering your sexuality a little later in life than the 16-to-21 window that tends to get tossed around, not as a hard and fast rule but as an unspoken one. A third one about how easy it is to miss the signs of an abusive relationship after a certain amount of 'buy in' was the most heartbreaking of the three, and gave me my final challenge for Jace and Ethan.
Normally I start from an idea and just work forward from it, but in this book there were a lot of things I realised I wanted to touch on that sort of all ended up sewn together into one story. I was pretty surprised when I realised I was writing an epilogue and actually had a coherent piece! I hope that despite the ad-hoc way it came together, anyone who reads it will fall as much in love with the boys as I did.
About the Author
Cecil Wilde resides in Australia, accompanied by a cat who takes up most of the bed, a family of possums in the roof space, and more spiders than they’re entirely comfortable with. They write altogether cuter queer romance than their image as a grumpy cynic might suggest.
Cecil Wilde will be gifting one lucky reader an eBook of No Straight Boys. Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.