Title: Frat House Troopers (A Brandt and Donnelly Caper #1)
Author: Xavier Mayne
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel/250 PDF pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Review Summary: Two wonderful characters who stole my heart, as well as the very funny dialogue, were instrumental in helping with the rating of this book.
State trooper Brandt’s new assignment to infiltrate a sex-cam operation puts him in a very uncomfortable position, especially since he’ll have to perform naked on camera for his audition. Fortunately his partner and best friend, Donnelly, has his back—whether that means helping Brandt shop gay boutiques for sexy underwear or offering Jäger and encouragement while he researches porn.
Despite his mortification, Brandt gives the audition his best “shot”—and becomes an overnight sensation. But to meet the man behind the operation, he’ll have to give a repeat performance, this time live on webcam opposite the highest bidder. Donnelly makes sure to win that auction for his partner’s sake, but their plan has a flaw: faking it is not an option.
In the aftermath, Brandt is a humiliated mess trying desperately to come to terms with what he’s had to do for the job and his own mixed feelings. But Donnelly has been on a journey of discovery of his own. Suddenly everything the two men thought they knew about themselves and each other gets turned inside out. Meanwhile, they still have a case to solve… but it may not be the case they thought it was.
A Brandt and Donnelly Caper
Frat House Troopers is one of those books I wish I could rate higher because it has a lot going for it. This story is what I would call a romp or light-hearted bit of fluff, as the MCs and many of the supporting characters are very funny although sometimes unintentionally. However I did have a problem or two with the prose and the plot.
The blurb is pretty straightforward. Brandt was asked by his boss and an Assistant District Attorney to infiltrate a sex-cam operation in order to catch the owner in some sort of tax evasion racket, or at least that’s what he was told.
Since he didn’t think his everyday clothing was good enough to catch the eye of the people he wanted to impress, Brandt’s and Donnelly’s first assignment was a shopping trip in the gay district where they met Bryce, a sales clerk nicknamed the Underwear Whisperer who was frenetic like a wind-up doll or the Energizer bunny on speed. He seemed to be on a mission to change Brandt’s image and his tacky drawers by putting his unmentionables into something called Ginch Gonch or Ginchies. 🙂
Suitably attired, Brandt started his undercover job at the house where the operation was located and on his first day managed to introduce himself to Nick, one of the sex cam operators. However, in order to establish his “credentials” he had to masturbate in front of the cameras like the other straight guys who worked there. He passed his test with flying colours. However Brandt was upset and embarrassed at having to show off his equipment for the world to see, but once he was “in” he became an overnight sensation, which brought Donnelly into the picture as a high stakes bidder for his services, and both men ended up flaunting their wares online.
I loved the dialogue between Donnelly and Brandt. Xavier Mayne’s writing is fresh and the lines just kept on flowing. Goofy Donnelly was probably the most amusing of the two MCs and I couldn’t get enough of him. Here is his definition of gay in a conversation with Brandt:
“At what point would you say they cross the line?”
Donnelly tipped his head to one side as if working a math problem. Then he snapped back into the moment. “Penetration,” he said, simply but decisively.
“Penetration? That’s the line?”
“Yep. When a body part enters the other person, that’s the gay line,” he affirmed.
“So, dick in mouth equals gay.”
“Dick in butt equals gay.”
“Dick in hand equals gay?”
Donnelly paused. “I’d have to say yes.”
“But there’s no penetration.” “Of course there is. Make a fist, the dick penetrates it. Same diff.”
“Does kissing another guy make you gay?”
“Again, we’re not talking about what makes me gay. Nothing is going to make me gay. But, yes, kissing a guy makes you gay.”
“But that’s not penetration.”
Donnelly sighed. “Tongues all in there, hell yeah that’s penetration.”
Seeing each other naked and aroused led to them becoming much closer than at any other time during their 2 year partnership, and eventually they ended up in bed. There was A LOT of over the top prose and repetition during the sex between Brandt and Donnelly; you’ll have to enjoy those on your own dime as I won’t be providing any quotes. 🙂 Strangely, only a couple weeks previously the MCs were as straight as the proverbial arrow and I was amazed at how quickly they changed their sexual orientation, Donnelly’s skill on man-on-man sex acquired almost overnight, as well as the frequency with which they practised their new hobby. It was Gay for You gone wild. 🙂
To summarize: I thought that the idea of putting a State Trooper on camera jacking off to catch a crook was a silly concept and I couldn’t rationalize it. Yes, I KNOW that these books are fantasies, but shouldn’t the plot make sense on some level? Also, the investigation didn’t work for me and the way it ended really stretched my credibility that two junior State Troopers would have the power to bring down the culprit, who gave up almost without a fight. You will have to suspend disbelief in order to thoroughly enjoy this book, but I have no doubt that many of you will, as I did, because the writing is engaging if you ignore the OTT prose and duplication.
I would characterize Frat House Troopers as a very funny vacation read. Having two straight State Troopers boinking each other in such a short space of time seemed way too fast, especially for Donnelly who was turned off initially at the thought of having to watch gay porn, but soon he was doing Brandt enthusiastically. The MCs were like two new puppies: eager, adventurous and very much in love and they were the main reason I enjoyed the book. Of the many supporting characters I especially liked Donnelly’s sister Chris and a gay couple, Lucas and Will, although Lucas seemed to have a roving eye. 🙂 The stereotypical sales clerk Bryce and his sidekick Nestor appealed to me because they were so sincere in their desire to get into Brandt’s underwear by whatever means possible. 🙂 I thought Nick was cool although he couldn’t figure out whether he was straight, bi or just gay for his boyfriend.
I struggled with the rating of this book, initially rating it at 3.5 but as this is a writer who is new to the genre, and the MCs appealed to me as well as some of the supporting characters, I settled on 4 stars. The story really is fun and enjoyable if you can overlook the holes in the plot and aren’t looking for an impeccably structured investigation.
Frat House Troopers is Xavier Mayne’s first published book and I look forward to future stories.