Tuesday, November 30, 2010

REVIEW: You're Invited by Roxy Harte

As the story starts, Bryce is the typical college boy with a future, active in sports, popular with the ladies, and being groomed by his father for a career in politics. His best friend Stanley - a flamboyant dancer and theatre major - is only saved from being the stereotypical gay friend by the fact that he's fully aware of how well he fits the stereotype.

After his first gay experience on the receiving end of a gloryhole at Aunt Tacky's party (not to mention his voyeuristic thrill of watching Stanley being taken by 3 men), Bryce finds his carefully constructed life falling apart.  He can't look at another man without getting hard, and falls very easily into a second gay experience with a stranger in the locker room at school.

Complicating matters is his friendship with Stanley. He knows that Stanley has been in love with him for years, and he's starting to accept the fact that their love may be mutual. As much as Bryce's own fear and insecurities keep getting in the way, causing hurt to them both, Stanley becomes the rock of their relationship and mentors his friend/lover along.

Once Bryce comes out to his family, things begin progressing rapidly. He continues to explore his love for Stanley, even as they become involved in a wildly inappropriate ménage-a-trois relationship with Bryce's godfather (a recently outed politician). A series of anti-gay hate crimes on campus add a little tension to the latter part of the story, and helps to serve as a prompt for Bryce's rather public coming out.

You're Invited is an almost shocking mix of themes, being both a bittersweet tale of coming out of the closet, and a sexually charged tale of gay experimentation. The storytelling is strong, the primary characters well developed, and the sex – wow! Alternately tender and hot, romantic and erotic, Roxy Harte manages to capture both the fear and the joy of realising one's true self.

You're Invited is available directly from the Loose ID site.