From the blurb:
This straight-A student has a dirty little secret.
Christian Blake dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, but making the grade means maintaining a squeaky clean image: no drinking, no drugs, no swearing, no sex. And definitely no falling for his new roommate—tattooed bad-boy Max, who may or may not be a drug dealer.
Most of all, it means no working at a porn store. But Christian’s aunt has cancer, and her beloved Rear Entrance Video will go bankrupt if Christian doesn’t take over managerial duties. Soon enough, Christian finds himself juggling sticky twenty-five cent peepshow booths, a blackmailing employee, and a demanding professor who likes to make an example of him.
And then there’s Max, who doesn’t know anything about the store, but hates Christian’s preppy sweater vests and the closet Christian forces him into when they’re together. Max just wants Christian to be himself—even though Max is keeping secrets of his own. Christian struggles to find the impossible balance between his real life and the ideal one he thinks a teacher needs to live . . . all while trying to keep his aunt’s dream alive without losing his own
Ohhh, I really liked this book. I liked all the characters, but especially Christian who's struggling so hard with what he thinks he wants (be a closeted gay teacher wearing shirts, ties and wingtips) and what he really wants. Namely, Max, hot roommate, possibly a drug dealer, blowing hot and cold, and a catalyst for deeply in the closet Chris taking a long hard look at himself.
Christian's aunt is sick, so he decides to help out with her business. Which, LOL, just happens to be a porn store. Called Rear Entrance Video. I snickered when I read that in the blurb.
Christian learns to deal with icky stuff and assholish employees. Christian learns that there's all kinds of customers and dirty talk is just that - talk. Christian learns that open and honest communication might just be what he needs to he get everything he wants - the teaching job, the boyfriend and rescuing his aunt's store.
The writing was awesome. Heidi Belleau took us deeply into Christian's headspace, with all his musings, his snarky, self-deprecating humor, his lust for his roommate, his shame, his fear of being found out - it's all right there, in his head and it's so much fun to watch him figure it all out.
Max has his own secret, and while it's not as bad as what Christian thinks it is, he too doesn't want to come out with it.
The other three roommates were nicely done as well, and functioned quite well in their supporting roles.
I really enjoyed this book. I laughed out loud in a few places, and while the conflict was a little predictable and could have been avoided with just a couple of honest conversations (hello, romance trope), Heidi Belleau made it work. The plot flows nicely, there are no slow-downs, and I couldn't help but root for Chris in all his awkward glory.
It's a fluffy, funny and thought-provoking read, all in one.
I received a free ARC from Riptide Publishing via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.
Available July 29th, 2013 from Riptide Publishing
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