This is one of those books that I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I opened it. It’s an amazingly sweet and emotional story about two straight guys hired to play a gay couple in the hottest nighttime drama on cable. One of the guys, Keith, has a live-in girlfriend, although they haven’t been getting it on a lot lately (her issue). The other, Carl, is the more established actor (he’s been on the show an entire season), and it’s been a long time since his last relationship.
Each week, the sex on the show ramps up, and they are required to do some very intimate scenes in front of the camera. As they grow closer both on and off the set, they have to deal with the emotional issues that come with discovering you have feelings for and are strongly attracted to someone of your own sex.
I thought Hauser did a really good job of showing all of the feelings that these guys would have – the confusion, the insecurity, the self-flagellation, the fearfulness of discovery, both personally and for the future of their careers as leading men. At the same time, their budding feelings of love and sexuality were being played out on a TV set in front of camera and crew. In addition, they had to deal with the prejudices of the external world while everything solid they knew was going up in flames around them. Keith’s father and Carl’s friends all display homophobia in their own ways.
I really liked the honesty I felt portrayed in this book. I liked that internal dialogue that the characters had, especially during their sexual encounters. The "can I suck him, should I swallow, will it be gross?" dialogue both guys had within their own heads was so real. Often in these types of books, guys jump head first (no pun intended) into the sex and are seeming experts their first time out. These guys fumbled their way through their first encounters like the M/M virgins they were. It had a raw, honest, open quality to it.
While it has a semblance of a HEA (they are in love, and happy together), they are still in the closet and unable to be seen together in public, which is what the 2nd book is about. Aside from the very few language issues I had (that should have been caught by her editor) – you can tell that Hauser lives in the UK, we don’t call our cell phones 'mobiles' here, we don’t say we’re 'keen' to do this or that – Acting Naughty was excellent. I really liked it a lot.