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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Review of “Drunk in Love” by Olivia Black





"Drunk in Love" by Olivia Black

A review by Patrick Sands.

I have known Brent Everett, whose dick launched a billion dildos, and his devoted smart-as-hell husband and manager Steve Pena for a long time.  I have interviewed them and I can tell you that they are as fun and open in person as you would expect.

However, one thing perplexes me: why do they never age?  Ever. My crow's feet have crow's feet and Brent looks like he did when he started his illustrious career.  How? A Dorian Gray picture in the attic?  Whale sperm treatments? Tequila?

I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting their adored Jayson Smith (and it's time to right that wrong).  I know him like all of you do: he's a stunner, built perfectly, with an ass that inspires, all of that topped off with a frank wit and a smile that could melt Alaska.  His arrival cemented what has to be the longest-running gay male thruple in history.  Long may they reign!

Back to my question: how do they not age?

Well, author Olivia Black may have the answer.  In her bosom-heaving (or pec-heaving, I guess) novel, "Drunk in Love," Brent and Steve are wolf shape shifters and Jayson the human with an immediate and powerful effect that gives all three a new life full of abundant love.  It's a mash of "True Blood" and "Face Fuckers 12," a roman a clef with such specificity that it seems Black either shadowed them 24 hours a day or wrote the book first and then had the guys make it real. Black clearly knows her audience: gay men who love sex scenes of any and all kinds, hoping that they also love love just as much.  The shifter-human issues are just colorful background.  The book is a bit schizophrenic in its wild early plotting that is sexy as sin and its latter plotting turned to more maudlin situations.

The real-life Steve, Jayson and Brent are refreshingly honest and ballsy social media magnates with zillions of fans who thrill to theirhourly sexual escapades.  Black uses their online personae in crafting their fictional counterparts, the familiarity saving lots of timeand exposition.  Still, do keep in mind that this is fiction.

Just as an aside, I have to wonder what it must be like for the real-life Steve, Brent and Jayson reading this section.  We as fans see the brightness and fun, but these characters are based closely on real men. "Drunk in Love" uses the real-life names of the protagonists and puts them on the cover, no hiding.  As you will see, a lot happens in the course of this novella, and it must take bundles of bravery for the guys to read it all.

FYI, that I know of, Brent and Steve are not actually paranormal beings. But to be fair, I wouldn't completely rule it out.  That aging thing…

Get out your cocks, kids, you better be beating off to these fictional doppelgangers as you read.  Yes, read!  It won't hurt, I promise.  You can save he pain for a role play night.

Ah, one more thing.  I will leave the sex scenes to Ms. Black to write and to you to read.  Yes, that's called teasing, so if you want to get all the details, you have to buy the book!

Meet Brent and Steve Perez.  They are "mates," the precise word used to describe married wolf shape shifters.  No one is Australian, sorry.  They are getting ready for some go-go time at club where Jayson North works as a bartender at the Silver Bullet (don't worry, there are no vampires).

Brent has a hardon from Steve's loving touches, which turns into an explosive romp. It even begins with Steve using a word his real-life counterpart loving uses: "boo."  Sounds like our friends, right?

Black's style can often careen around hairpin turns, florid one moment, simple and direct the next, as when she describes Steve's sexual sway over Brent.  She writes that Brent "wanted Steve's talented mouth.  The man was a pro when it came to sucking cock and topping.  'Suck me or fuck me, just make me cum.'"

While dancing on the bar, it's Brent who sees Jayson first, feeling a strange pull that he's not supposed to be feeling from a human.  When Steve slithers over, he too feels it.  "Was it possible to have two mates?" Brent wonders,and "what if the human belonged to him, but not to Steve?  Would he be able to ignore the mating call?"  This is Black starting her thrupledefense right here (not that it needs anyone to defend it), but from a comfortable distance via fantasy, since Brent and Steve are wolves.  It's a gentle handling of what becomes the cornerstone of the plot, and by extension so too the lives of the real Steve, Brent and Jayson, and further by extension, so too the world at large.

In order to make sure we understand this goes way beyond lust, but is not a societal danger, we are told in a soapy tone, "regardless of the outcome, though, Brent knew without a doubt that he would never be able to choose anyone over Steve.  His heart and soul already belonged to his mate."  My goodness!  Even the clergy would be humming choruses of "awwwww" at that passage.  Jane Austen got smuttier than that!

What of Jayson?  He sees the guys and immediately can picture himself "between the two tanned Adonises.  Kissing and touching, building up the anticipation, until finally, both men would bend him over and fuck him [sic]." However, he's brought back to reality when he finds out they are shape shifting mates and "mates [are] sacred."  Note that he has no problem with the idea of shape shifters (or a threesome).  In fact, he seems impressed by their passion, but he assumes it nullifies his chances of landing them.  Black knows how to end a chapter: Jayson knows one of the wolf heroes "was definitely looking for him.  Jayson just had to decide if he wanted to get caught."

Yes, that's the type of loopy prose only a romance novel can use without readers breaking into hysterical laughter.

The next bit is all about Steve and Brent Perez becoming members of the wolf pack in New Orleans, useful only to remind us they are not humans. We also get our real shifting scenewhen Brent dashes around for Steve to follow him.  They end up outside having wolfy-humanysex.

Keep in mind that shape shifting wolves bite their partners on the neck, timed to an orgasm.  Yes, I know, vampires do that in other such stories, but for the purposes of this book, it's wolves.  Hey, after a scene that burns up the page just from the description of Steve rimming Brent, you try to stop your body from wild reactions.

Jayson is invited to Brent and Steve's wolf-welcoming cavewarming party, He has no idea the hiding-their-hirsute he-wolves have picked this party as the night for their conquest.  "'You won't have to wait too long, boo.  He'll be ours soon,' Steve whispered, nibbling on Brent's earlobe."  Trying to avoid the pull of the he-hunk wolves, Jayson gets all kinds of sarcastic with annoying guys flirting with him.  If you have ever read Jayson Smith's online posts, you will appreciate the saucy no-bullshit attitude displayed by the novel's Jayson North.

Jayson, unable to wait any longer in the bathroom queue, gets a quick lesson in how and why wolves mark their territory from a WIT (wolf-in-training).  It's a little more complex than you might expect.  "'Taking a piss next to someone's home is the same as marking your territory.  It's disrespectful," the WIT says, noting it's better to wait in line rather than to go pee in the bushes.

Desperate for urinal relief, Jayson bounds into Brent and Steve's private bathroom.  With his bladder finally 10 pounds lighter, he notices a TV showing Steve and Brent going at it.  It's hypnotic, "watching Steve and Brent move together in perfect unison."  Jayson is even curious about the love bite at the end, so enraptured by what he's seeing that he doesn't realize Brent and Steve are in the room with him.

What leads us to the halfway point of "Drunk in Love" is a lavish threeway that is detailed in all the colors you love in gay porn, as well as your fantasies of real-life Jayson, Brent and Steve from details they share.  There is the mandatory kissing, which Brent knew "Jayson would be feeling down to his toes."  There is themandatory rimming, where Steve Perez displays the same wild excitement doing it as Steve Pena does. There is Brent being able to fuck Jayson without lube, using the fresh load of cum Steve just left there.  That I can't trace back to the real-life guys, but it's certainly boner-inducing, ain'tit?

In the middle of it all, Jayson is reassuringly told, "'it's okay baby.  You're our mate.  The three of us belong together."  I don't care how many people are in that bed, it's as heartwarming as any "normal" couple professing burgeoning love.  Again, I think the clergy would approve of squeaky-clean love.  It's so…well…lovely.

Wait, it's not over!  There is a whole lot more sex, pages and pages of it, but at the end, after a "sloppy three-way with tongue" kiss, we are told "Brent knew he was hooked."  As for Jayson, he knows, "these men were his mates."  Steve even has a warm washcloth with which "he gently wiped down Jayson's body."

If you cannot see by now what I have been trying to tell you all along, you might be reading "Drunk in Love" in the wrong language.  It's a love story.  It has exotic characters and erotic interludes, but there is no mistaking this is a love story.

Before I continue, I want a show of hands.  If you feel it's a love story, raise them high.  Higher.  Good, that's most of you.  As for the rest of you, read the passages between the sex scenes.  Come on, it's under 100 pages.

While our heroic trio of sexual Olympians is revving up everyone's motors, Black reminds us there is a plot here.  I warned you earlier to pay attention, don't roll your eyes at me.

Let's introduce the villain.  Go-go dancer Tayte isa shape shifter himself, but a fox shape shifter.  As in "sly as a..." but you figured out that symbolism already.

Oh, and since the villain is not basking in the afterglow of newfound love and all of the dewy warm haze that comes with it, Ms. Davis adopts a style so hokey it has every cliche but a twirled mustache.

It seems that Tayte has been trying to get all up in some thruple business with Steve and Brent for "four years" with no success.  How the hell long will it take for me to realize it's not going to happen?  Not 38 months, 12 days (13, sorry, I forgot a Leap Year) and six hours, that I can tell you!  Having two "mates" not stuffing me from both ends in a big king size bed with 1000 thread count sheets I bought them, well it hurts.  No matter what I try, I cannot get Brent and Steve to fuck me and I have tried expensive gifts, blackmail, roofi…oops, that's from my memoirs, not Olivia Black's fiction.

So, Tayte gathers his gay gang: Blake, Zach and Casey (what, were Blaine, Jeffrey and Coco Puffs busy elsewhere?) as "he needed to get some people on his side to make this work," referring to his revenge plan for what he considers a "betrayal."  That's a pretty odd word.  They just aren't into me…you…Tayte, but dude, that's not betrayal.  Just sour grapes.

I can tell you what is in the heads of the gay gang: nothing.  It simply takes Tayte telling them that "'Jayson is a home-wrecker.  He's trying to separate them and ruin their mating…he's dangerous to Steve and Brent's relationship'" to make them believe it, proving not all foxes are actually sly.

Anyway, Curley, Larry and Shemp don't hesitate to adopt Moe's plan for revenge, wolf shifter style.  Tayte fills them in on the plan, but not us.

With only chirping birds and happy Disney mice missing, our blond yummy Jayson heads to the kitchen the morning after they did everything but break the bed, leaving Steve and Brent slumbering in said bed, to make them "a little celebratory meal" as thanks for the twin bite marks that mean "he would never be lonely again."  If you haven't already wanted to wrap your arms around this delicious human since the minute he first appeared in the novel, you may not actually be human.  You have to love the kid.

Waiting for him in the kitchen is a dancer fromSteve and Brent's caravan Jayson hadnicknamed "Blue Balls" the previous night, for reasons that are of no consequence.  Anyway, Blue Balls has this to say to him, regarding his new he-heroes:

"'They're mates, and they tell a different guy in every city we visit the same thing they told you.  But it's not true…there's no such thing as a third in a real mate bond.  Adding a new guy to the mix always add a little spice, and let's face it, after a few drinks, everyone thinks they're in love.  Drunk in love.'"

"He sang the last three words as if he were Beyonce…"

Beyonce?  There's enough gay cred already here, don't go dragging in a diva!  And leave out the title of the book.  We all learned in high school that it stops everything dead in its tracks as everyone pauses to go "ah ha!"

But, Jayson is crestfallen, looking at Blue Balls "with a straight face as his world fell apart."  Jayson feels "he'd been deceived again, except this time he was older and wiser."  I must have missed discussion of the other deceptions, but let's focus on Jayson.  He runs to his car, "not allow[ing] himself to react or feel all the emotions swimming toward the surface until the house was in his rearview mirror.  Only then did he allow himself to fall slowly apart in the safety of his car."  If you still aren't up for giving Jayson that hug, you are not only not human, you deserve to have your arms cut off because you clearly have on idea what they are really for.

(Dear readers, I asked real-life Steve and Brent if anything like this ever remotely happened and they promised me absolutely not.  They swore they rarely allow Jayson out of bed, let alone listen to ass hole jealous haters.)

He does consider going back and confronting the he-wolves, "but finding out everything they'd shared was a lie would break him even more."

Prince Charming #1, Steve, wakes up alone and goes downstairs, "his cock bouncing the whole way."  There he finds Prince Charming #2, Brent, in tears, as Tayte has just informed him that Jayson "said that he had fun last night, but he doesn't want to be our mate.  He doesn't want us."  This story from Tayte (rhymes with hate) goes unquestioned.

I now drop my snarky style, as Ms. Black returns to her writing strengths.

Jayson gets home, quits his job and remembers all the nonsense people have tried on him "for a piece of ass."  He then takes what sounds like the sexiest one-man shower ever put on paper.  His anger fades and when three dancers appear at his door saying he has come with them, there is serious trouble, the anger fully disappears, "replaced with concern for his wolves. His wolves. Saying that felt right.  Why had he allowed himself to be convinced that Steve and Brent were users or liars?  Why did he consider himself so unworthy of love that he'd believe someone else's words?"

That is quite a powerful passage.  In context, it shows that he's already fallen in love with these two amazing wolves and somehow knows they love him just as much.  Out of context, it shows Davis' perspicacity. Take out "wolves" and that train of thought has gone through the mind of many a gay man unsure of himself in a world often hostile or uninviting.  No one is sure-footed 100% of the time.  Davis is not at her best with messages, as they tend to just appear and disappear quickly, but this mini foray into "issues" is a welcome one.

The foxes take Jayson to their home, where Jayson learns that Blue Balls is Tayte.  Jayson refuses to believe what Tayte says about Brent and Steve not wanting him, though he had believed it an hour or so ago.  "'I'm their mate,' he said firmly, and once the words were out of his mouth, he believed it.  I'm their mate."

Yes, this book is sometimes too sweet to swallow, but Davis does pop in some bold emotional moments, perhaps borrowing from the real-life men who have inspired her.

Out comes the cheese again, and we're talkin' Velveeta.  Out of nowhere, Tayte produces a gun.  Even his fellow fox shifters are afraid of what could happen.  You can predict every word that Tayte spits at Jayson because every cuckoo loon villain since Aristophanes (minus the gun back then) has spit them.

When Jayson tries to run, Tayte shoots him.  "'Holy shit…I've been shot,'" he says, no doubt in shock.  The bad guys bring him into the house where "he had no strength, everything drained out of him as his blood left his body."

We are back on terra firma when the story returns to Steve and Brent.  Black has given Steve the personality of a strong fixer, the dependable protective one.  He keeps it together because Brent needs him to be strong upon arriving at Jayson's house to find out his car is there, but he isn't.  There is a very touching moment when Steve goes to the back of Jayson's house to see if anyone will answer, calling out for Jayson, "on the verge of begging."  But he calms himself for Brent's sake.

Brent hustles Steve into the car after receiving a phone call.  Without explanation, he says he will drive.  "Steve's heart rate kicked up a notch as his heart pounded against his chest.  He knew without a doubt that it was bad news, especially since Brent wanted to drive.  It meant that he was scared that Steve might actually lose it on the road."  Of the three lead characters, Davis seems most at sea with Brent.  Steve and Jayson come off well-defined, types easily understood.  She has a tendency to let Brent be more of a passive participant, but makes up for it here.  He becomes the strong one because Steve needs him to be. Bottoms are not always weak, tops are not always tough.  Love exists in the mind, everything physical simplymanifestation of it.

I dare you not to tear up when Steve realizes Tayte has shot Jayson without having to be told.  "Glancing over at his mate, Brent knew that he was holding onto his emotions by a single thread.  The wolf was right at the surface.  Brent wanted to say no, but he would never lie to Steve, even if it meant sparing his feelings for a short time," Davis writes.  Even what has become a bad writing habit of unclear sentence subjects when multiple characters are together does not blunt the wellspring of emotion coming from Brent and Steve instinctively switchingroles.

Not to be a buzz kill, but the tone of the novel has gone from playful and frisky to a cross between and Afterschool Special and a Lifetime Original Movie.  I am not complaining, just noting it.

Shooting, sadness, death, blood, none of that is sexy.  However, Davis tucks in a tongue kiss as a reminder that our boys have physical awareness even in times of heightened emotion.  Meanwhile, Jayson is dying on the couch, but Tayte is still back at Chapter One of the villain handbook, still hung up on not being chosen for a trimate (yup, I just hobbled together a word I like much better than thruple—you won't forget it, you big apes, it rhymes with prymate).

Everything from one of the preening Heathersfoxes realizing it's all gone too far to trying to keep Jayson alive to the paramedics to the grim warnings to the frantic moments to Brent and Steve scared but functional, all happens as expected.  It ends with Tatyte all but howling, "and I would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids" as he's tossed into a police car.

With that in mind, dear readers, I will skip the hospital portion of the novel.  It's emotionally charged and has many surprises, but I choose to go spoiler-free.

One exception.  This bit: "The only reason Steve and Brent had a little power of Jayson's medical care was because he was marked as their mate.  As far as society was concerned, that was as good as a marriage certificate."

This is an important human rights issue, one for which the LGBT community has been fighting with increasing success for decades.  But, it comes across awkwardly here. By making the characters not human, issues simply disappear into fantasy.  But the real world is human.  There are enough problems of this ilk for same-sex couples who are legally wed and recognized, let alone those who have another partner in the relationship. By even mentioning this issue, it jumps out as way too real for a narrow story about the myriad ways love can be found.  Not all writing need contain social responsibility.Forcing it makes it uncomfortably noticeable.

I'll pick up the story when Jayson gets out of his hospital bed for the first time.  As Steve helps him back, Jayson bites his wolf's shoulder.  "'I want to mark you,'" Jayson says.  "Steve chuckled lightly before pressing his lips against Jayson's.  'You already have, baby.  You've marked my heart.'"

Yes, that's more romance novel gooiness, but it should bring a lump to your throat.  If it doesn't, you probably have an underused gag reflex anyway, so go practice.

Alpha Steve is upset that all of this happened under his watch.  "'It's my job to protect you and Jayson.  If only—'" he says, but Brent interrupts him.  "'Don't do that.  You can't blame yourself.  Jayson is here with us,'" he calmly reminds Steve.  Jayson finally leaves the hospital and "inhaled the rich earthly scents as he steppedoutside….It's good to be alive."

Get your dicks out again, the second act is drawing to a close and it's another whopper of a sex scene!  In anticipation of it, we read:

"[Brent] opened his mouth, and Jayson took advantage, sweeping his tongue in.  Jayson took his mouth in a passionate kiss—frantic and needy—as their bodies moved erotically against one another.  They both moaned and whimpered, proving that it had been far too long since they'd made love."

You ain't kiddin'!

When the doctor (a wolf shifter as well) sees Jayson's excitement at leaving the hospital, the doctor hopes it's not been a horrible stay (as if there are good hospitals stays?).  Jayson replies, "'Nope…I'm just ready to get fucked.'"

The rapturous sex scene starts in the car.  "'A bed would be more comfortable,' [Steve] called out, and Jayson and Brent got out of the car.  Hand in hand, [Steve's] mates walking toward him, Jayson buck-naked and Brent wearing only a pair of shorts."

Just as earlier, I will leave the details of this marathon sexual escapade to the creative mind of Davis to create and the prurient minds of readers to imagine (it's also the first time Brent tops in this yarn).  Would you like to guess what happens during the scene?  Of course you horny fuckers would!  And trust me, you would be exactly right.  But I warn you, keep those warm towels handy.  You will need them.

After it's over and Steve pulls out their warm towels, the trimates cuddle.  Steve "licked the shell of Jayson's ear before whispering, 'Will your marry us?'"

"'Yes,' he nodded, moisture filling his eyes."

"'We love you so much, boo.  I'm so glad we found you.'"

"'Me too."

Me too! Me too!  But the gals at my Laundromat won't be happy with yet another set of sheets to be cleaned.

There is one scene remaining, one which will give avid real-life Brentophiles, Steveophiles and Jaysonophiles a big grin: Jayson takes his first run at go-go dancing.  As the three enjoy the passion of the moment, Steve says to his mates, "'you both belong to me, just like I belong to you.'"

"[Steve] was drunk in love."

The touching and tender ending is perfect.  It should end with the title phrase, especially since the last word is "love" and we know that in the context of this book, there is nothing better.  I think we all also know from real-life Brent, Jayson and Steve, there is nothing better.

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