Nauti Boy
by Lora Leigh, contemporary (2007)
Berkley, $14.00, ISBN 978-0-425-21413-8


Nauti Boy is a revised and expanded version of Nauti Buoy (note the "U", heh), previously published by Samhain Publishing in 2006. I have to warn you people, though. This is not a good romance novel in my opinion, only an entertaining one. Yes, there's a difference between "good" and "entertaining", at least when it comes to books like Nauti Boy.

I'm going to be honest here: I didn't read the back cover of the book or realize that this is a revised edition when I bought it. As I was browsing through the romance section at the bookstore, I just saw the cover, thought the guy was very pretty and looked a lot like the love child of Josh Duhamel and Sebastian Spence, and before I knew it, my fingers had already added this book into the basket I was holding.

Anyway, in this one we have our hero Rowdy McKay (don't worry, his real name is Douglas) who left home eight years ago to become a US Marine officer because he started to notice back then that his then sixteen-year old stepsister Kelly has big breasts. When the story opens, he's back home and he's definitely willing to play this time around. Alas, while Kelly doesn't tell this Jimmy that she has married his best friend John, so to speak, she is now scared of embarking on a relationship with Rowdy because she had been sexually assaulted in the years since Rowdy left her. Of course, it isn't long before Rowdy's father tells him about That Incident. Kelly is also apprehensive about having to meet Rowdy's expectation of her to sleep with his cousins as well. Apparently the three men share their women ever since they knew what their pee-pee can be used for and it's now some kind of Nauti Boy tradition. Don't worry, the author draws the line at having the father join in the party too, so this whole thing doesn't scream "trailer park white trash happy hour" that much.

Meanwhile, Rowdy's father is against the relationship because he knows that Rowdy likes his sex to be on the edgy side - Rowdy isn't known as one of the three "ass-fucking kings" in the neighborhood for nothing - and he doesn't believe that Kelly is ready for the kind of things Rowdy wants to do to her. And then we have Kelly screaming at her stepfather, "I wanted his hands on me."

This is not what I'd call a realistic story because the heroine's sexual assault isn't handled in a most plausible manner. It's just a convenient way for the author to separate her two main characters for a while. Kelly doesn't behave like someone who is traumatized by her experience - despite her parents' insistence that Kelly is not ready for Rowdy's brand of backside bumps, she seems more than willing to have a go, with her only hesitation arising because she doesn't want to sleep with the equally ridiculously nicknamed cousins Natches and Dawg. As for Rowdy, there isn't much to him. He's a one-dimensional walking sex machine and alpha male hot air. What you see is really what you will get when it comes to him because he has no depths or nuances.

The romance is stated rather than shown, with Rowdy insisting that Kelly is his all along while she would say that she has loved him since forever. On the plus side, the characters don't do anything stupid and I have to hand it to Rowdy - when he says that he will take care of the woman, he does. He's an alpha male, but he doesn't exhibit any Madonna/Whore complex and asshole traits that usually come with the territory. Rowdy's alright, in other words.

Despite the flaws in the story, I can't say I didn't enjoy this story. There is a surreal kind of awesomeness to whole lurid over-the-top trashiness of this story. Where else can one find the entire family discussing entrance privileges to poor Kelly's rear end? I can only imagine the conversations they have during Thanksgiving. I don't think my words can do any justice to the fabulous campy trashiness of the premise. This is a book that you should read yourself to experience first hand its campy qualities. The story could have been handled better, the characterization could have been deeper, and there should have been less telling and more showing, but I have to admit one thing: it's going to be pretty hard to top the awesome ridiculousness in this story.

Rating: 70


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