Twenty-five year old Phil Andrews left his family in Eastern Washington to escape the small town attitudes of his siblings and the locals to be free to be himself in the liberal area of West Hollywood. But without an education or work experience to fall back on, Phil uses his good looks and physique to make ends meet, working as a go-go boy at night, and a gay porn star on the weekends.
Intelligent, out of the closet, Dr. Christopher Love was thirty-three years old and a success in everything but his relationships. He knew his life was lacking something, a partner to share it with. Trying to find the kind of man he found attractive sexually and one who was also was willing to bend to his demands was an impossible task. Until he met Phil Andrews.
Two men, two opposite worlds. One educated at the finest schools, an asset to the community, a philanthropist and a surgeon, the other, a high-school drop-out, former drug addict with a criminal record, meet during a stormy night while the lights are blacked out. The physical attraction bonds them instantly, but soon their differences bring to the surface that deadly pride.
This story is about two men from completely different sides of the tracks that would otherwise never have met but for a chance sexual encounter in a department store where they were accidentally locked in for the night. Neither can forget that night, or the other.
Dr. Chris Love is an L.A. plastic surgeon. Rich, with a successful practice and a house on the beach, Chris is a good man. He doesn’t take his life for granted and pays it forward by volunteering his services at a free clinic. But even with loving parents and supportive friends, and for all he has achieved in life, Chris is lonely and alone. He doesn’t do the club scene because it leaves him unfulfilled and while he’ll think twice before passing up an opportunity for sex, he’s looking for something more, for a relationship that will meet his particular needs and for someone to share his life with.
Philip Andrews is beautiful and his face and body are his bread and butter. After leaving small town Washington because his family would have physically hurt him had they known he was gay, he lands in L.A. A high school dropout with a police record and no employable skills to speak of, Phil makes a living using what he considers his best assets, his face and his body. By night, he’s a go-go boy at a popular gay club, and by day a sometimes porn star. Owing to his need to keep up appearances with a nice car and clothes, Phil is in dept to his earlobes and on a proverbial hamster wheel in trying to pay his credit cards, rent and in general make ends meet. His go-go dancing becomes more risque as he allows clients to take more and more liberties with him both on stage and during private dances for larger tips and he gets deeper into the porn industry for the lucrative returns by accepting roles that leave him feeling increasingly dirty.
Both Chris and Phil’s lives are empty.
Weeks go by after their initial encounter and neither of them can forget the other. But a second chance sighting sets Chris off to find Phil and to see if there’s any possibility for something beyond their one night in Nordstrom’s.
Calling Dr. Love by G.A. Hauser is a wonderful m/m story of two men attempting to forge a relationship with all the odds stacked against them. Hauser goes deep in this story to honestly explore the wants and needs of both Chris and Phil and the complexities of their relationship.
Sometimes I read a story where a character remains with me long after I’ve finished the book. The character of Phil falls into this category. Hauser does some exceptional writing in respect of Phil’s point of view and his internal struggle in respect of who he is and wants to be and where his life is headed. Hauser does not skim the surface, but rather intensely explores the many layers of Phil and his multiplicity of feelings – of power and control when he’s turning men on while dancing and his absolute disgust with, and hatred for, himself for what he considers falling slightly short of selling his body and possibly his soul. And although Phil is very proud, at the same time he doesn’t believe he’s worthy of a love relationship, especially with Chris.
Hauser equally goes deep to explore and reveal the character of Chris. While in comparison to Phil on the surface Chris appears to be uncomplicated, we quickly learn that this is not the case. Chris fights to reconcile the gamut of emotions he experiences because of, and for, Phil. On the one hand, he wants to protect and support him in getting out of the hole he’s dug himself into and on the other, he wants to respect Phil’s decisions about his life and be with him regardless of what he does for a living. At the same time, he questions whether his obsession with Phil is a means of fulfilling some form of sexual fantasy or if Phil is really the man he loves and wants a relationship with.
The inner richness of these characters, their coming together and their attempts at carving out the parameters and substance of their relationship, is what I loved most about this story. For me the strength of this story lies in Hauser’s incredible characterization which is further bolstered by equally intelligent and realistic dialogue, in particular in respect of the exchanges between the characters. And while their sex/love scenes are well written and quite arousing, for me they are almost incidental to the story, the focus of which is the relationship that Chris and Phil have with themselves and attempt to build with each other.
There were a few weaknesses in the story. First, the editing didn’t catch the accidental switching of character names thereby confusing two scenes that required re-reading. Second, I found the ending of the book a little too rushed. Hauser takes her time in developing the story and characters in some 260 pages and I felt that had she devoted a little more time to exploring certain aspects of both Phil and Chris the decision that the characters come to in respect of their relationship would have been on more solid footing and not appeared to have come out of nowhere.
Despite the above, I loved the journey that G.A. Hauser took me on while reading Calling Dr. Love. It is a story that’s rich in texture, honest and intelligent and with exquisitely written multi-dimensional characters, dialogue and points of view.
If you’re a fan of G.A. Hauser’s books then you’ll likely not want to miss this one, and if you’re new to her writing then, like me, you will likely want to read more of her titles after reading Calling Dr. Love.
Calling Dr. Love by G.A. Hauser is available at All Romance eBooks.
NOTE: This review was originally published online by Rainbow Reviews.