The Straight Boyfriend (PIU’s Review)

The Straight Boyfriend.Title: The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You #3)
Author: Renae Kaye
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 21st Nov, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Page Count: 220
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5

Aaron Hall has never been able to remain faithful to a single woman, and for most of his life, he’s dated two women at once. Recently his girlfriend tracked him down and knocked on his door—and his live-in girlfriend answered. Now he has no girlfriend and a mortgage he can’t pay by himself.

Vinnie Rosello needs to change his life—get a better job, stop drinking all his money away, find himself a serious boyfriend… and move out of his parents’ house. Aaron needs help with his expenses, so they become housemates.

Even though Aaron harbors some misconceptions about gay men and Vinnie misses his large Italian family, both men find comfort in their friendship. It’s a good arrangement until everything between them changes

Vinnie falls in love with Aaron, and Aaron is shocked to realize he feels the same. There’s only one problem—he’s still straight. He’ll have to overcome his fear of labels in order to love the man who’s captured his heart.

“The Straight Boyfriend” is a “friends to lovers”, GFY story with none to minimum angst. It’s a fluff read where the relationship evolves from friends to lovers to partners in a lazy, satisfying pace with a sweet HEA at the end. Both the MCs have a group of mutual friends which includes the MCs from the previous books in this series. They were all very supportive and accepting of Vinnie and Aaron’s “not Gay” relationship completely (you will get what I mean later on).

I seriously didn’t feel comfortable while reading this book. I am not a huge fan of “labels” in love but in this book, the author has gone out of her way to label one of the main characters as “straight” while he is having a monogamous relationship with another man. I mean, does she even know the meaning of “bisexuality”??? I had a hard time getting into the story coz of some agonizing dialogues which were sprinkled heavily throughout the story, trying to convince the readers that Aaron is actually “straight”, which was such BS. One example:

“No. See? . . . I’m straight. I’m definitely straight. I can feel it. I still feel the attraction to girls . . . I want to be with you, even if it means people think I’m gay. I don’t mind. I’d do that for you . . . But I don’t know how strong the attraction to a woman will be if I start getting itchy feet.”

I found this book a huge insult to bisexual people. They are attracted to both sexes but that does not mean that they cheat on their partners, may they be guys or girls just because they can. A relationship is a relationship and cheating is cheating even if you are gay, bi or hetero. Being bi does not make an individual more prone to cheating just because they have a choice in their partner’s gender.

The overall story, if you overlook the complete dismissal of bisexuality, is very cute and sweet. Vinnie is a very sweet character who was fun, loving, caring and completely understanding. He falls in love with his housemate, Aaron who is indisputably straight or so he thinks. They have a great relationship as friends and housemates but there is also an underlying attraction going on which neither can deny. Vinnie wants Aaron but falling in love with a straight man is no fun. But when Aaron starts showing interest in him sexually, Vinnie is ready to let him explore his sexuality if it means he can have Aaron even for a little while.

Aaron is completely set on the fact that he is “straight” even when he and Vinnie engage in daily sexual activities in one way or another. He likes Vinnie, is attracted to him and maybe even loves him but he is still “straight” as an arrow, which frustrated me to no end.

I’m not gay. I don’t mind if you think I am. But just so we’re clear? I’m not gay.
I have no problem with being gay. My best friend, Liam, admitted he liked guys—and boy, it took him years to realize that—and I have no difficulty with it. However, just because I don’t have a problem with gay, that doesn’t mean that I am. It’s fine to be gay.
I mean, I respect LGBT people’s sexuality, so they can respect mine. And my sexuality is straight. 100 percent of the time.
Or maybe 99 percent.

I tried to like Aaron but his stupid as shit reasoning behind him liking Vinnie and still saying straight, killed any love I had for him. Just because Vinnie is smaller than Aaron and more femme does not make him any less of a man, so Aaron thinking himself as more masculine or “straight” even after having sex with Vinnie was highly insulting and offensive especially to Vinnie, whom he is supposedly in love with.

I reached down to cup Vinnie’s balls and dick. Despite the fact that I wasn’t gay and that Vinnie wouldn’t be winning any size championships with his dick, I enjoyed what he had. The women’s magazines had been spouting headlines like “Size doesn’t matter, it’s what he does with it” for years. But somehow men didn’t get the message. I was finally appreciating the smaller things in life.

After several instances where Aaron keeps on insisting that he is “not gay”, I kind of hoped that he will have more profound understanding of his sexuality but till the end he does not come to the conclusion that “maybe he is bi and that it does not automatically make him a cheater”. The “bisexuality” is shut down in every which way in this read and I found that really disappointing!!!

The read tried to promote the theme that “labels are not required in love” but it accomplishes the complete opposite. Everything gets labelled (except for “bisexuality”, which is apparently not a thingeye-rolls)

“Yeah,” I said. “That’s when it started. He’s not bothering with the girls at the moment. He’s taking a break.”
“So is he gay, then? Bi? Pan?” Shane asked.
I shook my head. “No. Definitely still straight.”

“I don’t have a label that fits, Vinnie. I’m not gay. If I could honesty say that I’m gay, or even bi, then it would be so much easier. But I can’t. I don’t know what I am. But I’m hot for you. I’m horny for you.”

If this is not labeling, then what is???

So yeah, there is a sweet romance in this book if you can get over the ongoing “there is no such thing as bisexuality” theme here. If I have to rate the romance then I would give it a total of 3.5 stars. But the whole “I am straight even I am fucking a guy” part, reduced my love for the sweet romance considerably.

Loving You Series

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Review copy of The Straight Boyfriend provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.