Having written a glowing review of Acting Naughty, there was a lot I didn’t like about Playing Dirty. Hauser spent a lot of time in book 1 character building. These guys are moral guys who find themselves in an upside-down crazy new M/M relationship after living their entire lives as straight men – not closeted straight men, but straight men.
There is a conversation in book 1 where Keith says to Carl that he believes that sex should be between two people who love each other. He’s only had sex with two women before meeting Carl.
There’s the set-up. This book deals with the discovery of a new identity as a gay man. Keith spends a lot of time asking himself and Carl, "Can a gay man be faithful?" buying into the stereotypes himself of flagrant, rampant promiscuity among the homosexual community, even though that isn’t how he was raised, and it isn’t how he himself ever believed or acted.
The book picks up almost immediately where book 1 left off, or very shortly thereafter. Keith is suddenly dying to try a threesome (although he agrees that the third guy cannot have intercourse with either him or Carl), and is doing and saying things that are totally out of character for the man that Hauser built him up to be in book 1. This was where I had my biggest problem. His dialogue was all of a sudden very stereotypical, and not at all what I had come to expect from this sweet, bashful, nice guy. Carl, while trying to point out to Keith that this wasn’t who he really is, went along for the ride and enjoyed himself immensely as well.
I don’t know if Hauser was trying to get across that being "who he truly was" felt so liberating that Keith lost himself in the joy of "being gay" or if she was simply trying to introduce the main character of her next book, but either way, it served to really take away my enjoyment of this highly committed, very close and very loving couple.
There were flashes of there wondering, joyful, bemused love that was so beautifully portrayed in Acting Naughty, but most of the book was so out of character for the two men that I was left with a sour taste in my mouth, and thinking that the book should have been called "Feeling Dirty", because that’s the way it left me.