Your basic boy-meets-boy love story, with a daytime-drama twist. Alex Young just got a three-year contract to play a villain on the fifth-ranked soap opera ``Hearts Crossing.'' But his life is far from perfect. He's still pining over Nick Miller, the beautiful lawyer he couldn't free from a codependent relationship with an egocentric dud back in Austin, Texas. He's trying to get on with his life by dating a drop-dead-gorgeous sitcom actor named Trevor Renado, but finds he just can't say ``I love you'' back. When a trashy magazine publishes a photo of Alex kissing Trevor goodbye at the airport, and Alex refuses to deny that he's gay, his career is affected. His publicist tries to get him seen on the town with a lesbian the PR man also represents. (Of course, Alex refuses.) A self-important soap starlet will no longer kiss him, and the producer accommodates her by re-blocking the scene. (Alex feigns cooperative innocence.) Then the show's writer creates an unbelievable ``homoerotic'' story line for Alex whereby viewers are ``shocked, outraged, delighted and titillated in various combinations.'' The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation protests the negative image of gays conveyed by Alex's sadistic character as he uses a mysterious drug to make straight characters gay. A sexually obsessed fan who calls himself Astaroth (after the wizard in Bedknobs and Broomsticks) won't stop stalking him. And the fragile relationship with Trevor falters because Trevor can't handle the publicity about Alex being gay. But we know it's all going to work out--and it does: Both Alex's career and his love life are better at the novel's end than they were at the beginning. A light, predictable, enjoyable debut--as meaningful as an afternoon of soaps, but much more entertaining.