Title ~ Dallas in Wonderland
Author ~ Evan Gilbert
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 20th May 2015
Genre ~ M/M/M Contemporary Romance
Dallas Fox owns porn movie studio Wonderland and for him, sex is all about business. He hasn’t felt passion in a long time, so he is surprised when he develops an attraction for Johnny Roman, a college student who has recently become a porn actor for the studio, and Miguel Duarte, an office assistant. Dallas is even more surprised when he realizes they are as interested in him as they are in each other. Those attractions violate Dallas’s number one rule: no mixing business and pleasure.
Dallas slowly lets his guard down, and eventually winds up in bed with both Johnny and Miguel. Their painful backgrounds are similar, and they begin forging bonds that could grow into something much deeper. Miguel, however, faces a threat that could endanger them all and destroy any chance of finding the romance they want and need.
Dallas in Wonderland caught my eye because it takes place in a porn studio and it's a ménage; two things that are real favourite's of mine so I just had to give this one a go.
The three men who make up the threesome are thirty one year old porn studio owner and performer, blonde, blue eyed 'Twink', Dallas Fox: twenty two year old African American porn star 'Taser', real name Johnny Roman: and nineteen year old Latino office assistant, Miguel Duarte. All from different walks of life but each one coping with problems and personal demons in their past and present, that have lead them to Wonderland porn studios and into each other's lives.
Told in alternating chapters from each POV, you learn their histories, get inside their heads to understand the mind sets and why's and where fore's of what makes them tick; and as the story unfolds, watch as the three of them slowly come together in a healing threesome that helps them resolve the separate, personal conflicts they're dealing with at the onset of the story as they all have some sort of emotional drama dogging them.
For Dallas it's an event that shaped his decision to enter the porn business, and he's now at a point in his life and career where he's questioning the meaning of it all; while Johnny is dealing with guilt about his sexuality and his relationship with his homophobic Deacon father. But for Miguel, who also has family issues, the situation he's inadvertently fallen into has put him in danger of his life.
As characters, I liked Dallas, Johnny and Miguel; they're all interesting in their own right, but as a ménage I was disappointed. In the first half of the book they're hardly on page together because most of it is spent setting up their back stories, so for me any chemistry or sexual tension that should have been building between them was pretty much nil, and when sex did finally happen it should have been hot, but felt a bit flat to me. If I don't feel an emotional connection from the start it pulls me out of the story and sadly that's what happened ...but as I always say that's a me thing, and may well be the case here!
The problem I found, was that the build up to them finally getting together felt long drawn out, making the rest feel a bit rushed. They don't actually interact properly as a trio until approx 53% in. Up to then, they only pass fleetingly at the studio; then, after spending only of few days together after a couple of unrelated incidents result in them all meeting at the hospital, they're suddenly in a relationship of sorts. I think if this had been a novel and not just a novella it would have worked much better. It would all have had balanced out more evenly, and the move from mere acquaintances to lovers would have been a much smoother and more believable transition.
The idea for this was good and there were parts I liked, but it never fully reached the potential I was hoping for. Towards the finish, because of Miguel's plight, the pace did hot up more and I have to say I did enjoy how Evan pulled it all together, but in the end I was left feeling a little underwhelmed. Not a bad story by any means—it had its enjoyable moments—and certainly nothing wrong with Evan Gilbert's writing style which was very easy and uncomplicated. I would definitely try another of his books, but this time it just turned out an okay read for me.
Meet the Author
Evan Gilbert lives in Memphis, Tennessee, a Southern boy through and through. He thinks writing is a pretty neat way to make a living. When he's not writing, he enjoys, in no particular order, swimming, going to the movies, reading, long walks in the country, working out, and spending time with family and friends.