Review: Star Quality by Ajax Bell


Kevin Kaisho plays gay on the popular nighttime TV drama Shadow Lane. Kevin's on-screen love interest is his long-time friend, the out and proud (and married) Nick Jantzen. After spending a press junket flirting with Nick to titillate fans, Kevin's feelings become complicated: Nick's husband Andrew shows up, making suggestive overtures. With unexpected desires invading his dreams, Kevin must discover what kind of starring role he really wants.

Andrew Walker is successful in his own right as a fashion designer, and he's quite happy with his life, even if he and Nick are often kept apart by their work. But when he sees a picture of Nick and his new co-star Kevin cozied up for the camera, he's intrigued. Can he coax Kevin--and Nick--into seeing that starring together in real life can be richer and more complex than a TV drama?
A term of endearment in Ajax Bell's "Star Quality". I renamed this story "Kittentits" in my head though.
Kittentits? The formerly straight MC, Kevin is called this by one half of the married gay couple in "Star Quality". When I first read it, I misread kittenitis. I wondered if it was a new disease that caused kittens to sprout when you're sick but's "kitten-tits". Um...I hated it in the beginning and by the end, it made me laugh. Unexpected comic relief score!

Set in Vancouver, the novella is about straight, Hapa actor Kevin and his co-star, Nick. Kevin finally hit the big time scoring a lead on a popular nighttime soap, as Nick's romantic lead. Nick is openly gay and married to Andrew, famous fashion design. The married couple are still in love after being together for over a decade. They have a strong open relationship and bring in thirds in their bedroom from time to time. Andrew sees the way Kevin looks at his husband and wants that straight, virgin ass spread on his bed and filled with he and his husband's cock. He manipulates Kevin into their bed for a night of fun...and unexpectedly into their hearts?

I was going to DNF this. The beginning wasn't strong. I couldn't get a sense of any of the characters. There was a miasma of superficial that I tend to disconnect from in stories. I don't care if Nick is so beautiful he's like a star in the sky or water in the ocean. (The water/ocean metaphors--*smh* I will gripe about this soon) Or that Nick's pale skin and blue eyes are so orgasmic that they look great against Andrew's dark skin or Kevin's amber eyes. I don't know if the shallowness of the main characters was supposed to add to the story's tone. If it was planned, it succeeded. If it wasn't...then everyone is two dimensional.

The story is basically PWP that played in the erotica romance(?) sandbox. PWP works best when kept to the sexy bits. This story would have worked better if it stuck to the sex, it pretty much covered about a third of the story anyway. Warning: there is a detailed M/F sex scene. I also don't think it was necessary to the story. Kevin really didn't struggle opening his anus to thick fingers, cocks or both at the same time. I'd have rated this higher if this just stayed in the PWP lane, the sex touched 4 Hearts range. I had to suspend reality a little to believe an ass virgin could handle not one but two cocks at the same time...just with some fingering and rimming and a "three-quarters hard" cock.

Even one of the sex partners thought this during the DP scene:
"He didn't think Kevin could take Nick's full size right now. He wasn't sure how Kevin was taking any of this at all."
While I love a good double penetration scene as the next smut loving gal, I just couldn't buy it. Maybe if the attempt to try to make Kevin have a semblance of depth didn't get in the way. I mean snowballing, felching and virgin double penetration menage doesn't grow on the smut trees overnight! And it sure isn't anything to sneeze at.

I think Andrew the manipulator was my favorite out of the three. I like my triads to have equal sides but it's clear Andrew has one more brain cell than those other two. They just bring a ready mouth, asshole and cock when needed. Andrew planted the seed of lust in both Kevin and his husband's heads and got exactly what he wanted.

The ending is HFN with a possible HEA. It wasn't bad. Kevin is readily open (ha!) for more and the couple seems to want to jump into permanent triad status. I just wished the filler was kept to a minimum. The waves and water analogy? Andrew or Nick or Kevin took turns are being waves and the ocean or a sea...I don't need metaphors in the smut. No thanks please. The filler diminished the impact the smut made.

The filler was 2 Hearts. The sex? Mmmm...I'll rate it 4 Hearts.

My rating is the average. :)

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