Title: Naughty: By Any Other Name
Author: G. R. Richards
Length: 29 pages, 6.7k words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: M/M, contemporary, erotica
Blurb: Patrick and James spend every night together, and they don’t even know each other’s names. For years now, folksy storyteller Patrick O’Hara has been coming home to his laptop and logging on to the GayCamGuyz website. Every evening, he tunes in to a different feed. He never watches the same hot guy twice… until he stumbles across a lonely guy he calls “G”. From a mere voyeur, Patrick quickly becomes a chatter, and as he and G develop an affinity that goes beyond the physical, Patrick even hooks up a webcam of his own.
Now it’s December and Patrick is knee-deep in his annual Christmas reading tour. He’s never admitted to G that he is the renowned Patrick O’Hara. When G shows up unannounced at Patrick’s hotel room on Christmas Eve, it’s time to end the white lies. Can Patrick handle the pressure when he meets his GayCamGuy in the flesh?
Review: A short story concentrating on a sexual encounter, a sexy read but I found my sympathy for the main characters rather limited.
Patrick is a man living a double life – his cozy, conservative public persona and his more closeted personal life. From the start, I found his handling of this unsympathetic, although the author was able to convince me to some extent that he was a victim of his circumstances. But his life as a famous, much-loved author didn’t seem to bring him much joy. In fact, he showed a marked disrespect and even distaste for his older, female fanbase.
His private addiction to gay webcam sites was more vivid. The author didn’t pull any punches, describing a rather lonely but pragmatic man, who knew what he liked and wasn’t ashamed to go online to find it. Masturbation was a just another chore, like brushing his teeth. And I enjoyed the way his fascination grew for G – albeit for a man he only saw masturbating in return on screen.
The scenes where Patrick was looking forward to Christmas were poignant and rather awkward. I’d have expected a man of his public exposure to have gathered some friends around him at Christmas. The shock meeting with G/James was well written and amusing, from Patrick’s point of view. However I never felt I understood James’. The reader has no idea what he’s really like when he’s online – although Patrick says that he and G have built a friendship beyond the mutual sex – and when he turned up to surprise Patrick, I never really understood why, unless it was to experience some real-life sex after all! I couldn’t help feeling uneasy, that a virtual stranger had turned up at a famous man’s hotel room, apparently ready to move in for the season. It could all have gone rather horribly wrong. Or is that just my over-caution? The sex was well written, though not striking, and I personally found more spark and interest in the online relationship.
At the end, Patrick is considering expanding his books to include gay characters, even if it’s not clear whether he’s going to do anything about announcing his own gay sexuality. It was an interesting premise, to use his fame and influence as an author, and I’d have enjoyed reading more about that. However, it hadn’t been mentioned before his night with James, and for me, it was tacked on too late in the story to take a good hold.
The story touched on an interesting premise or two, and I enjoyed the writing style. Overall, the mix of erotica, a contrived meeting, and – rather briefly, and too near the end – the theme of gay discrimination in the media, felt uneven to me and unfulfilled by the word count. I wouldn’t rate it a romance as there’s no definite idea as to whether the men will continue the relationship beyond this scene. I rate it a B.
by pettyprose…my opinion alone.