Monday, April 8, 2013

Quick Review of Insert Here by Connie Bailey

Connie Bailey
Insert Here
Dreamspinner Press | December 26, 2012 | 79 pages

Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

John Garros, known to his fans as Spanish Joe for his dark good looks, makes his living as an actor in porn films. As a perfect body double for Hollywood superstar Jason Forrester, he acts in XXX-rated scenes that are inserted into Forrester’s blockbuster movies. He makes good money from the profits of the modified films and spends most of it on parties and vacations, never feeling a twinge of guilt. At least not until he bumps into Jason at a party.

The two men have an instant physical attraction, and Jason surprises Spanish by calling him afterward. Spanish is even more surprised when the one-night stand turns into a budding relationship. Things are going great for him until Jason’s management stumbles over the thriving traffic in “enhanced” Jason Forrester movies. When Jason tells Spanish how much the deceptive DVDs hurt him, Spanish knows he has a big decision to make: keep his mouth shut and hope Jason never sees the footage, or confess and risk losing everything.

Genre & Keywords: M/M Romance, Contemporary, Hollywood, Movie star, Porn industry, Body doubles

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1.5 out of 3 flames

When I read the blurb of Insert Here I thought that this might have an interesting conflict. Porno star meets Hollywood star and falls for him, while the porn star acts as the superstar’s body double in porn scenes that are inserted into his Hollywood movies, without the superstar’s knowledge. The conflict I expected, with this big secret hanging over their blooming new relationship, was merely absent. When the confession finally comes, it’s being taken very lightly and all is swiftly well again. No tension, no angst, no emotional climax. This was a bit of a disappointment for me.

Before this somewhat anti-climax takes place, we witness how the MCs meet. Both Spanish and Jason go to an exclusive annual party for the gay (and secretly gay) people of interest in Hollywood. I thought this was not a very plausible set-up, considering that Jason isn’t out of the closet. However, they spend the night together and after that they continue seeing each other and we are treated to a few sex scenes that are not specifically spectacular, nor memorable.
For me, their falling in love didn’t feel substantial enough; it felt too much like insta-love. The romantic arc consists mainly of a few sex (and talk) scenes without much relationship building and even less character development, which I need before I can find a HEA plausible. I have to know what the heroes see in each other and I want to see their feelings develop.

Another minor aspect that rubbed me slightly the wrong way was the fact that Spanish’s work involved M/F sex with his co-stars. This took place off page, but I wondered why he couldn’t just mainly make gay porn, because than I might’ve enjoyed the peek into the porn industry more.
I’m sure that other readers, and fans of this author’s work, will like this novella a lot better than I did. Unfortunately, for me, this was a bit of an awkward read that didn’t quite meet my expectations.

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