I remember buying David's Selfie because the excerpt was somehow sweet despite starting with a dick pic. I also remember having to contact customer service to get the file to work, because, just like my previous few orders, the file was corrupt upon download. I took an extended break from the site after buying this novella, but, happily, I just did a test and it looks like Samhain may have finally fixed the problem. Now I can go back to haunting their “bargain bin” page on a weekly basis.
Anyway, David's Selfie stars David, a doctor and single father, and Craig, a student and go-go dancer. David is a widower who wants to get back into dating and having sex. He's bisexual and seems to be pretty open about it, although he hasn't been with anyone but his wife since college. His first foray into maybe having sex again involves sending his best attempt at a dick pic to a guy he met online. The two of them arrange to meet at a bar, but David panics when he sees his date in person. Thankfully, the guy didn't see him, and David escapes and resigns himself to not getting laid anytime soon. Except that David forgot his cellphone, with his dick pic still on it, in the bar's bathroom.
Craig is a dancer at the bar and finds the phone during one of his breaks. He's intrigued by both the dick pic and the many pictures of David's three-year-old daughter Maia (it feels weird just typing this). When David calls, Craig offers to return the phone in person, and the two (plus Maia) meet at a coffee shop the next day. Things click between them, and, despite the enormous amount of effort it takes to mesh their two schedules and find someone to look after Maia, they continue to meet, go on dates, and soon have sex. Unfortunately, Craig has a secret: he hasn't mentioned that he was the go-go dancer David was ogling that night at the bar. All David knows is that he's a student who plans to one day open his own Zumba studio.
David's Selfie probably benefited from me starting it right after finishing a badly-written book – it was a breeze to read, by comparison. And the beginning really was as oddly sweet as I'd remembered. Yes, David was the parent of a three-year-old, but he was also a man who was still interested in sex. I laughed at the awkwardness of him struggling to take a decent dick pic while his daughter waited outside the bathroom door. Nearly every time he wanted to meet with Craig, he needed to find someone to take care of Maia. David was lucky that his sister-in-law was so supportive. Now that I think about it, she was basically the device that allowed their relationship to happen – David didn't have any other sitters lined up.
Craig's situation added a few more obstacles. He didn't have a place of his own where he and David could go for privacy, and he wanted to avoid having David find out about his job for as long as possible. His greatest wish was for safety, security, and family, three things he hadn't had in a long time. David and Maia looked like they could be the answer, but he couldn't shake his fear that he'd be abandoned at any moment.
I liked that David and Craig were both vulnerable in their own ways, and I enjoyed their early conversations and attempts to get to know each other. Unfortunately, I'm not generally a fan of stories with a lot of sex, and Craig and David spent a huge amount of time either having sex, arranging things so they could have sex, or thinking about having sex.
It seemed like David got turned on at the drop of a hat. When Craig was sick but couldn't go home for a while because the guy he was renting from was being a jerk, David told him he could take a hot bath at his place. Then he ogled Craig a bit and they had sex, because the story couldn't even wait for Craig to feel 100% better before having another sex scene. It also bugged me that, at the end, David started to get turned on while Craig was trying to explain the general lack of security in his life and his embarrassment about his job. David couldn’t keep his mind off sex long enough to make it through that one serious conversation, and it made me realize that I liked Craig a lot more than I liked him.
All in all, this was a decent read with a strong first half. I just wish there had been fewer sex scenes and more "Craig and David getting to know each other." Preferably with David's mind focused on the conversation, rather than on what was going on in his pants.
I really hope that this novella's working title was David's Dick Pic. Alliteration is fun.
- Pricks and Pragmatism (e-novella) by J.L. Merrow - David's Selfie reminded me a lot of this story, which stars a guy in a situation somewhat similar to Craig's. Luke's life lacks safety and security, and the people around him tend to be more focused on his hot body than they are on him. He's completely baffled when he moves into Russell's place and Russell doesn't seem to want him to pay him back in sex. I've written about this novella, which turned out to be much sweeter than I expected.
- Butterfly Tattoo (e-book) by Deirdre Knight - I haven't read this one yet, but I remembered hearing that it starred a bisexual man finding love after the death of his lover. In this case, the main character's original lover was a man, and the story brings him together with a woman. Looking through reviews, I think Michael's grief may be sharper than David's, so the emotional content may be even heavier.