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on May 19, 2010
"The Boy Can't Help It: Sensual Stories of Young Bottoms" is a compilation of 14 erotic short tales by author Gavin Atlas that provide for a vicarious and highly arousing reading experience. His stories are often aptly referred to as "stroke" or "one-handed" reads and there's a reason for this. They are damned hot!

This collection includes previously published titles featured in popular anthologies such as: The Only Bottom for a Thousand Miles (in Island Boys), Blue Star Boy (in Surfer Boys), Hercules to the Rescue (in Hard Hats), Slavery by Degree (in Wired Hard 4.0) and Business with Pleasure (in Ultimate Gay Erotica). The book also includes a re-issue of best-selling single titles Simple and Easy and Claiming Danny, as well as The One Everyone Wants first published in the June 2007 issue of Honcho and the stand-alone title Wet Pass. In addition, Mr. Atlas has penned five new stories for this compilation - Tristan Carcer, Duel in the Sand, Cole State's Top Recruit, Lust Like Moonlight and the title story The Boy Can't Help It.

In "The Boy Can't Help It" the author explores the yin and yang of sexual dynamics between bottoms and tops. With the exception of the more romantic and sentimental Blue Star Boy and Tristan Carcer in which the author offers up a slightly edgier psycho-sexual tale, carnal lust and pleasure rule the day.

In terms of archetypes, Gavin Atlas fundamentally understands the psyches of both his young bottoms and their domineering tops and writes both extremely well. His bottoms are all young, sweet-natured, naïve to a fault, horny as hell and for the most part get off on domination and to a large degree humiliation. His tops are usually confident, demanding and sometimes, but not always, heroic. Again there are some exceptions as found in Lust Like Moonlight whereby the author plays with these archetypes by giving us a self-possessed bottom and an uncharacteristically insecure and somewhat vulnerable top.

Most of the stories are written in the first person, which this author does extremely well and he alternates the point of view between the bottom and top protagonists depending on the story. What also stands out is the sense of humour with which the author has written many of the stories. Whether in respect of priceless story titles such as The Only Bottom for A Thousand Miles (a personal favourite) or the situations in which many of his bottoms find themselves, Simple and Easy immediately comes to mind, many of the stories are quite humourous suggesting that in addition to writing really hot erotica this author also possesses intuitive comedic sense and timing.

Another strength of this author's writing and something I've previously mentioned in reviewing his other works is his ability to take many a popular sexual fantasy - domination/submission, light bondage, sex on the beach, sex with strangers, gang bangs, voyeurism and exhibitionism - and turn it into a sexually alluring and provocative experience for the reader, essentially inviting the reader to partake in the experiences of the characters. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the book cover, which is as sexy and gorgeous as are Mr. Atlas' bottom boys.

The one glitch in this compilation has absolutely nothing to do with any of the stories or the author's writing, but rather with a layout and printing error which did surprise me because it's quite uncharacteristic of this publisher. The story Lust Like Moonlight is not listed in the table of contents and there is no break or title heading for the story in the body of the compilation whereby Business with Pleasure segues immediately into Lust Like Moonlight. While this caused me some initial confusion, I kept right on reading and in the end didn't miss a beat.

I am a fan of this author's stories and thoroughly enjoyed the sexual escape of The Boy Can't Help It. I had the opportunity to revisit some of my favourites - The Only Bottom for a Thousand Miles, Blue Star Boy, Hercules to the Rescue and Wet Pass - and his new entries, such as Tristan Carcer and Lust Like Moonlight showcase the evolution of this author's writing. This compilation is definitely a shelf keeper that can be read and reread at leisure time and again.

If pure romance is your cup of tea, Mr. Atlas' bottom boys have other things in mind. But if you're looking to read well-written, unencumbered and truly scorching gay erotica then don't miss this über hot compilation - whether you read it using one hand or two.
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