Title: The Walls Have Ears
Author: Erica Pike
Length: 16,000 words
Publisher: No Boundaries press
Genre: m/m Contemporary romance
Short and scrawny college student Harley Santos has a strange relationship with the guy on the other side of his bedroom wall. For weeks, the two have been masturbating to each other’s voices, but they have never met in person. In fact, Harley doesn’t know which one of the two roommates next door is his wall-mate, but he does know that he’s in love.
When Harley’s roommate Ryan is asked on a date by one of his neighbors, Harley is devastated that his wall-mate mistook Harley for his super-sexy roommate. To help him through his heartache is Tasha Novokov, the other neighbor, who is tall, dark, and impossibly handsome.
When Harley’s affections shift to Tasha, his heartache hits an all time high because Tasha is straight.
The blurb pretty much sums up the situation at the start of this story. Harley’s a shy, sweet guy who starts a weird mutual masturbation relationship with the guy in the next flat who shares his wall. There are two guys living next door, one, Devon, is gay, the other, Tasha, straight. Harley finds himself falling for the guy who he is pretty sure is Devon, but is then heartbroken when Devon starts to see his room-mate, Ryan. Tasha does his best to cheer up Harley but he’s downhearted, and becomes even more so when Harley realises that he’s thinking less about Devon and more about Tasha.
I really loved this story. The beginning is a little odd but also rather hot, as Harley begins this series of nightly whack-offs listening to the guy next door. I also guessed the twist almost from the get go. It’s a story which focuses on misunderstandings and misdirections but I found it very amusing rather than irritating. I think we are supposed to know the mistakes that Harley makes – we must do because it’s obvious – and the fun of the story is watching Harley failing to understand the situation.
I have to say, I really love Harley. He’s this irresistible mix of prickly and feisty with a latin temperament which fits well with his Portuguese lineage. Then on the other hand he’s a bundle of insecurities, hugely sensitive, falls in love easily and cries a lot when he’s hurt or sad. He was so cute I wanted to take him home and keep him :). The first person narrative drew me into Harley as a character and made me understand why he acted as he did. This meant that things that sometimes annoy me about characters – such as lots of crying – didn’t in this case.
The relationship between him and Tasha was another highlight. Harley’s not the easiest of people to get to know because he gets rather defensive and tends to run away when things get on top of him, but Tasha’s gentle patience, his lack of pretension and affectionate, strong nature, is a perfect fit for Harley’s occasional dramatics and hot temper.
Overall, this was a delightful story with an unusual and likable character in Harley. There’s a humourous tone to the writing which meant that I smiled and even laughed a couple of times. I’d highly recommend it to those looking for an entertaining story with a College setting.