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Strangers with Benefits
Johnny Townsend. BookLocker.com, $16.95 trade paper (296p) ISBN 978-1-64718-518-3
Two Mormon missionaries have a lurid sexual awakening in this lumbering erotic romance from Townsend (I Will, Through the Veil). Eric Nelson and Brian Weber are assigned to spread the faith in 1988 New Orleans. During a storm, they knock on the door of Gabriel, who invites them out of the rain and offers to listen to their spiel if he can teach them about gay history in return. When Gabriel’s boyfriend, Henry, arrives home, the four men have a sexual encounter that exposes Eric and Brian’s true feelings and sets them on their erotic path. As Brian and Eric begin neglecting their church work to enjoy increasingly kinky sex with each other and a gamut of strangers, they also share their conflicted feelings about growing up in an inhospitable religion, providing the book’s emotional backbone. Not even a brush with pubic lice, nor their mission leaders’ growing suspicions, can slow them down as they begin starring in porn films and then turn to sex work. Revelations of secrets cause a few bumps as the pair drift toward their happy ending. The frequent sex scenes skimp on details, listing acts rather than describing sensations and so blunting their erotic edge. More jolting than arousing, this will most appeal to readers into camp and the outré. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 12/04/2020

Release date 05/01/2020

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