Falling In Controlled Circumstances
by Pepper Espinoza, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-262-6


The main reason why I found myself reading this short story is because I had a dumb blonde moment and misread Falling In Controlled Circumstances as Falling For Controlled Substances. Now that is something I'd be interested to read. To be honest, I've been wanting to give up on this author because she and her writing buddy have been churning out gay short stories at what seems to be a weekly rate under their own names or the Jamie Craig pen name. Those recent works of theirs that I have read convinced me that quality is really suffering as a result of such industrious output. It's not that those stories are unreadable, too many of them are instead very average and forgettable. By the end of this story, nothing about it changes my belief it's time I take a long break from the Jamie Craig's Willy Wonka Chocolate Alley tour. This is a by-the-numbers gay ménage à trois story.

Early on, it's quickly established who the bottom is, because Gregory Jackson is straight out of the nelly stereotype handbook as he looks at the flat tire of his car and demonstrates that he isn't up to having much independent thought when his boyfriend Phillip Baker isn't around. Oh no, a flat tire! He needs to call Phillip because Phillip will know what to do! Plus, he's British. Everyone knows the British like having a stiff poker up their rear end. In the absence of Phillip, who is a cop and has a job to do, Greg meets Jim Tennant who takes out his jack (it's a big one) and helps Greg with the flat tire problem.

While having blissful sex with Phil, Greg is attracted to Jim. After all, you can never have too many daddies to do your thinking for you, no? To Greg's delight, Phil is like, yeah, let's ask Jim to take a ride on the happy train too. How nice.

Now, if you are one of those folks who have written to me saying that you find too many gay romances to be on the unrealistic side, especially when they seem to be written by thirteen-year old virginal young ladies with more imagination than actual knowledge of sex, this one may give you some problems. No, it's not that Pepper Espinoza is a virginal thirteen-year girl with a big imagination, it's that this story has one of the funniest and most unrealistic double penetration scene I've ever come across. We're talking about two sticks in one hole, baby. When these heroic trio decide to have a go at it for the first time, it goes without any hitch that I just have to laugh at how absurdly unreal the whole thing is.

Now, I know sex scenes in heterosexual romances can be unrealistic too, but come on, we are talking about a double whopper scene here. To have the characters go, "Let's try it!" and then have they go, wow-ee, this is so fun without encountering any problem is really pushing my ability to suspend my disbelief here. That is, unless Greg's hobby is inserting baseball bats and various kitchen appliances up his rear end on a daily basis so that he is as stretched wide open as a highway, but I don't think this is the case here. This story is already a flat and uninteresting by-the-number affair full of gay romance clichés and with a plot that can be summed up as: "Look, little girls, three men shagging! Aren't we hot today?" To have the highlight of the titillation factor being a most laughably fake double penetration scene makes it even more unfortunate.

I personally believe the author and her writing buddy are pretty good authors so I am quite dismayed when they decided to set up shop delivering fast food equivalents of gay romances for their various publishers. You know what they say about eating too many Big Macs week after week. It's way past time for me to see what other authors out there have to offer.

Rating: 55


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